Backbeat is continuing to count down the twenty most fabled moments in Denver music history. Today we take a look back at the time when Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson spit on a woman at 7-Eleven because she had the audacity not to recognize him.
Two months after getting kicked off ZZ Top's tour in May 1991, Chris Robinson, the twenty-something frontman of the Black Crowes, was on a late-night mission to acquire beer after a show in Denver. The beer run reportedly ended with Robinson spitting on a woman and walking off with two cases of beer.
Chris Robinson's status as a Spinal Tap-ish rock caricature was cemented long ago. In 1990, the singer's fuck-the-Man rant against tour sponsor Miller Beer got the band kicked off its shared bill with ZZ Top. The notorious inner band squabbles of the Black Crowes have added a long list of footnotes and asterisks to their bio.
That, coupled with Robinson's doomed marriages to celebrities (Kate Hudson, Frank Zappa niece Lala Sloatman), his embrace of Mother Earthy mysticism and his apparent inability to remain humble have all but outshined the genius of Shake Your Money Maker.
On this spring night in 1991, Elizabeth Juergens and a friend were in the store at the same time when they noticed Robinson and Juergens's friend said, "There's the lead singer of the Black Crowes!" Robinson was fresh off of playing a show at the Auditorium Theater when he wandered into a 7-Eleven at the corner of Mississippi and Colorado in Glendale in search of beer. Juergens, apparently unaware that she was in the presence of rock royalty, said, "Who are the Black Crowes?"
That comment evidently set Robinson off and caused him to lose his mind. After berating Juergens for eating Twinkies (she later fessed up to that one), he spit on her and then walked out with a couple of cases of beer and disappeared in a white Lincoln Continental. A member of his entourage returned to the store and gave the cashier $20, but that didn't cover the cost of the beer.
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Robinson was later arrested, and the next thing she knew, Juergens found herself in the limelight. "I was bombarded by the media for days, had a hard time leaving my home," she recalls now more than two decades later. "I know he went to court for stealing the beer and assaulting me, but I was not present at his hearing. I do know that he did not show up to court, only his attorney."
Robinson wound up getting six months of probation, slapped with a $53 fine and an absolute guarantee that Juergens would never, ever again wonder who the Black Crowes were.
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