Southern rock is alive and well. And to make sure it stays that way, The Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, Joan Osborne (best known for her hit song “One of Us”) and Jackie Greene (Weir, Robinson & Greene Acoustic Trio; Phil Lesh & Friends; Jackie Greene Band) joined forces to form Trigger Hippy. The power-packed lineup is rounded out by respected Nashville musicians Tom Bukovac and Nick Govrik .
Before his new ensemble’s Wednesday, Oct. 29, show at The Grey Eagle in support of a self-titled debut album, Gorman spoke with Mountain Xpress about the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, getting the band together and being labeled a supergroup.
Xpress: A lot of the members of Trigger Hippy have played Asheville before, including Greene and Osborne performing at the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam. Have you ever been approached for that event?
Gorman: Yeah, I have, and it’s never worked out. The last few years, Trigger Hippy has been asked to come down, and one or two of us will always have a conflict. I’ve known Warren forever, and it’s just never worked out. I’m dying to get down there, and every year I say, “This is going to be the year,” and it hasn’t happened yet for me.
What other interactions and collaborations did the members of Trigger Hippy have with one another before forming?
Not much. Everything sort of ran through me. I played with Nick [Govrik], the bassist. [He] and I started here playing in Nashville 10 years ago together. The origin of this band stems from Nick and I talking about putting something together. We loved playing together, and we just had a vague notion of what this band might be.
I’d known Joan [Osborne] since 1995. The Black Crowes headlined a tour called H.O.R.D.E., and she was [touring] her first album on that one. We’ve been friends ever since. Joan jumped onstage with The Black Crowes a handful of times and sung backup vocals. We’d been friends for years, but we’d never really done any work together beyond that, but I called her and [said], “I have this idea. Do you want to come to Nashville and throw some ideas around and see if we can write these songs?” She said, “Yeah, that’d be great.”
It was similar with Jackie Greene. He’d opened for The Black Crowes a few times. I met Jackie, I knew him personally, but I’d seen him play a bunch, and I just got the idea to call him similarly, like, “Wouldn’t it be great if Jackie wanted to do this, because we need another guitar player, and he can play organ?” He and Joan had met each other, but they’d never sung together or anything.
The fifth member, Tom Bukova, is a session [guitar] guy in Nashville who I’d worked with a few times, and he was just my favorite player, and we were good friends. You know, it was sort of a combination of “Who’s really great?” and also “Who’s cool to hang out with?” Like, “Who’s a good group of people who are all copacetic, and you hope you get together musically and then, just as importantly, you get together away from the band?”
Do you guys have favorite supergroups like Traveling Wilburys; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; or Emerson, Lake & Palmer?
I don’t think of Trigger Hippy in that way at all. I know Jackie and Joan are certainly well-known. People know The Black Crowes. I get that people call it a supergroup, but that was never the thinking. Initially with Nick and me it was, “Who do we want to play with?” It really didn’t have anything to do with, “It’s got to be known entities.”
Nick isn’t somebody who anybody outside of Nashville knows. Really, not that many people outside of Nashville know Tom Bukovac, other than he’s played on a million records everybody’s heard, but his name isn’t one of those names. It was kind of like, “If we could put any band together, who would it be?” And it turned out to be this band, and we got lucky. The people we called, they all dug the idea and said, “Yeah, let’s see what happens.”
WHO: Trigger Hippy
WHERE: The Grey Eagle, thegreyeagle.com
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 9 p.m. $15 advance/$20 at the door