The Black Crowes Guitarist Reacts to People Calling Jimmy Page ’Sloppy’: ’He’s a God of Guitar’

Rich Robinson, the guitarist and the founding member of the American rock band The Black Crowes, recently sat down with Guitar World to discuss guitar players who shaped his sound. And, among the guys listed, there was also Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. Rich explains:

“Jimmy meant as much to me as anyone, and maybe even more because I got to play with him on tour with the Crowes. I mean… to sit there and play with Jimmy Page was an experience I’ll take with me forever.

Particularly, Rich finds Page’s writing is what made him stand out:

“His compositional approach, acoustic playing, and rhythm playing were all on a plane he only existed in. And his solos are so tasteful and filled with these moments where he ebbs back and forth with these beautiful melodies. What can I say? He’s fucking unbelievable. Jimmy is straight-up amazing.

And, of course, there’s always going to be naysayers for pretty much any legendary guitar player out there. As far as Jimmy Page goes, it’s not uncommon to hear some guitar players or guitar fans calling him “sloppy.” Well, Robinson has a pretty simple answer for that one:

“Anyone who calls him sloppy or whatever, fuck that. He’s a God of guitar, which should be obvious. So, to get up there and play those Zeppelin songs with him and then to have him play my songs during those two summers that we toured with him, those are some of the best moments of my life.

He also added:

“He’s just one of those guys who can take apart those songs and inject this tone and feeling that you can’t duplicate, no matter how hard you try.

Jimmy Page solo live at MSG , 1973 HD

“Having listened to and loved his music my whole life and then having played with him, I have absolute respect and reverence for Jimmy. When I look back on the entire thing, taking the stage with him was nothing short of a gift for me.”

Among other guitar players he mentioned, the list also included R.E.M.’s Peter Buck. And, according to Rich, this love for Buck’s music and playing came during his “punk rock phase”:

“Eventually, I got into my angry punk rock phase in my early adolescence, which led me down all sorts of roads. And growing up in Georgia, eventually, I came upon the alternative rock that was popular then.

Rich Robinson @ Woodstock Sessions

“While the punk phase didn’t last long, the energy of it stuck with me, and I developed a deep love for The Clash, The Cramps, The Damned, and the Sex Pistols, but I also fell in love with The Smiths, The Cure, The Jam, and R.E.M. In particular, I fell in love with Peter Buck.

“To this day, Peter Buck is one of my influences. He’s just a straight-up phenomenal and exciting guitar player. But then again, everyone in R.E.M. was incredible, which only made me love them more.

“I still remember the first time I heard Radio Free Europe and being blown away by his picking and this sound that he had that I couldn’t put my finger on. His sound was very Southern but also gentle, beautiful, and unique. And I liked that it was Southern music, but it wasn’t like what people usually associated with the South at that time.

Peter Buck from R.E.M. stops by Norman's Rare Guitars

“That whole place is like a paradox; there’s a lot of beauty, horror, and many ups and downs. There’s no escaping that. But there’s this version of the South that R.E.M. captured, and I gravitated toward it immediately.”

Of course, Rich isn’t the only famous guitar player to address this “Jimmy Page is sloppy” issue. Earlier this year, Joe Bonamassa also reflected on the matter by saying:

“A lot of people like to call Page sloppy, and that’s fine. You can call him sloppy all day long, but can you play it? …Try to play ‘The Rain Song’ as well as he played it. You won’t be able to. Not a chance.”

Jimmy Page - Stairway to heaven Guitar Solo Excellent filmed version

He also added:

“The thing about Jimmy Page that most people don’t realize is he was a very in-demand session guy before the Yardbirds and Zeppelin. He did boatloads of amazing things before he even was in those bands… Call him sloppy, but he was a once-in-a-generation talent.”

Photos: JazzyJoeyD (Chris and Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes), Jim Summaria (Jimmy Page with Robert Plant 2 – Led Zeppelin – 1977)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.