By Fran Thompson
About 15 years ago some teammates of mine from my days of playing rugby for Battleship went to a rugby tournament in Atlanta and came back with tales of seeing Chris Robinson, the lead singer of The Black Crowes on the sidelines. They said that Chris’ father played for the Atlanta Renegades Rugby team. They also mentioned that Chris made the right decision to play music instead of rugby as his 119 pounds might not last too long in such a rough game.
Saturday I saw a man named Mike Dugan that I played against back in the early 1980s. Dugan was the youngest player in the first season of The Atlanta Renegades. I asked him about the connection with The Black Crowes. Dugan told me that Stan Robinson, the boys’ father, had been a founding member of the club and that the children, Rich and Chris had indeed grown up along the sidelines of Renegades Rugby.
Dugan then told me this story.
As the summer of Chris Robinson’s junior year of high school was approaching Chris asked Dugan, who owned a bar, if he could work as a busboy/dishwasher/anything for the summer to make some money. Dugan told Chris that his waitresses usually bussed their own tables and that the bartenders did most of their own dishwashing but Dugan said ok, the waitresses could tip him out and Dugan would be glad to not have to wash dishes. A few weeks later Chris Robinson called Dugan and thanked him for the opportunity but let Dugan know he wouldn’t be working at the bar for the summer because he had gotten together with some guys and they were going to give their music a try. Dugan says he is so glad Chris didn’t come to work because he had wild waitresses that would have taken that young boy to places so deep he would not have wanted to climb out of and may have never become the Rock star we know today.