Sep 22 2017

A Brief Interview with The Magpie Salute

By: Steve Hatley

You never get the same show twice. With only one constant in The Magpie Salute’s live set and over 170 songs to choose from, Rich Robinson and company will be bringing an entirely different set to the House of Blues on October 23. I was fortunate enough to get a moment to talk to founding member Rich Robinson about his latest endeavor and life after The Black Crowes, even though the latter is more of a continuation and evolution. 

Sometimes by accident, great things form. This is, by far, the biggest idea at the roots of Magpie’s existence. What started off as a one-off show at the Gramercy Theatre in New York, quickly grew into a four-night residency. Rich said they could have done more dates, but chose instead to “regroup” and find a direction, which took them to London for another four-night stint at Under the Bridge. That was then followed by nine more European dates, a tour which inevitably came to the United States. The band’s tour is 40 dates in with 20 more to go, and is going strong. 

There were two obvious questions to ask Robinson: the elephant in the room one, and the band name's origin. I asked if there were any hard feelings between he and his brother. Without hesitation, he replied, “No, but I will never play with Chris again.” I didn’t feel the need to question any more, as there really wasn’t anything out there to say that hadn't already been said. The name question, which I know he gets asked at every interview, points to a clear evolutionary path that he’s on. Since the magpie is in the crow family, I had put that together; the rest of the name and evolution were a nice surprise:

“The name, The Magpie Salute, comes from a superstition based in the UK, which is the belief that if you see a magpie, you would do well to salute it ‘to ward off negativity, or to have a good day.’ The way you salute the magpie, based on some traditions, is to say, ‘Good Mornin’ Captain,’ which is, of course, a Crowes song. The reason we salute it is to show we’re unarmed, or, what I like to say is, ‘we come in peace.’ The magpie falls within the crow umbrella of species, figuratively and literally. Magpies can be black and white, which represents the light and the dark.”

With those two icebreaker questions out of the way, I asked if there were any Crowes songs he wouldn’t play, and he said, “Chris wrote five songs, I won’t be playing those. We have over 170 tracks to choose from.” We discussed set lists, and I was pleased to find out that “every set is different, there’s only one constant song.” With that being said, I was wondering if there was an opener slated for the HOB date, or even one in general for the tour.

“This is an "evening with..." show," Robinson explained. "We’ll play two, to two and a half hours.” For me, the concept of “an evening with...” gives the audience a better impression and liking of a band. While openers are necessary and amazing at times, it’s good to get back to the basics with a one-band show. There’s no interruption and the audience can be entertained for a longer, consistent time.

The Magpie Salute has a vast history, albeit not together as Magpie, but throughout their other musical endeavors. The 10-member band consists of: Rich Robinson (guitar, vocals), Marc Ford (guitar, vocals), John Hogg (vocals, percussion), Sven Pipien (bass, vocals), Matt Slocum (keyboards), Joe Magistro (drums), Nico Bereciartua (guitar), Charity White (backing vocals), Adrien Reju (backing vocals), and Katrine Ottosen (backing vocals).

The band will pack the House of Blues stage on October 23, and it looks to be an amazing showcase of talent and perseverance. Do yourself a favor and catch the show.

WHO: The Magpie Salute

WHEN: Monday, October 23, 2017

WHERE: The House of Blues New Orleans

Get your tickets by clicking here.

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