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Interview:
Counting Crows at DTE, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Twenty-five years ago, Counting Crows had the kind of launch new bands only dream of.



Riding the breakout single "Mr. Jones," the group's debut album, "August and Everything After," was a Top 5 smash that was certified seven-times platinum and turned Counting Crows into an instant headline attraction. It was defining but not definitive; Over the next 24 years and six more albums, the group has defiantly worked on its own terms, occasionally meeting the mainstream -- as in the Academy Award-nominated "Accidentally In Love" for "Shrek 2" -- but mostly staying on a path that feels creatively comfortable and uncompromised...



• Frontman Adam Duritz, who founded Counting Crows during 1991 in San Francisco, says by phone that he has ambivalent feelings about celebrating the debut album's 25th anniversary. "You know, honestly, I have no relation to that to us. Everybody wants to make a big deal out of it, but it's weird for me in that I just can't seem to register any of it. I don't have a real emotional relationship with it, I think, because we've been doing it every day. We haven't taken any time off in the 24 years; We've just been playing, touring, recording, whatever. Especially this year I've been really trying to sort of think about it and get a grip on it, but this passing of time, I don't know quite how to get it to register.



• Duritz, 54, does think back to Counting Crows 1993 performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, where it sang in tribute to Van Morrison. "We were around all these bands -- Creedence (Clearwater Revival), Cream, Sly & the Family Stone. Most of them hadn't been together for a long time and some of them were fighting. But I remember thinking, 'cause 25 years is what you need to get into the hall of fame, how cool it would be to still be in this band 25 years later. I remember thinking how unlikely that was, but also how cool it would be if it happened."



• The out-of-the-box success was also an ambivalent experience for Duritz and his bandmates. "It's kind of terrifying, 'cause I knew there was backlash coming -- and it did," Duritz recalls. "I wanted a career, not just a hit record. But it took, like, 10 or 15 years before we started getting good (concert) reviews again; Until that we were getting reviews that had to do more with who I was dating than the music. But on the other hand, how do you complain about getting your career started with 10 million records sold? We haven't sold that much again and we still have a career 25 years later, so obviously 'August' was a huge boon to our lives. But it came with some downsides."



• Counting Crows last album "Somewhere Under Wonderland," came out during 2014, and Duritz says there are no concrete plans for the group's next release yet. "I have a lot of pieces of music, but I've been sort of procrastinating about writing songs. I don't know why, but I haven't been rushing to get in the studio. I thought about it the other day, though; I was whining a bit to a friend who's a musician about, 'If we make a record, where’s it gonna go?' and he was giving me a kick in the butt, like, 'Look, don't worry about that. You should write songs 'cause you should write songs. Why are you, of all people, worrying about (sales) at this point?' I realized he was kind of right."



• Duritz current passion is Underwater Sunshine: The Podcast, which he and friend/author James Campion record and are turning into a book. "That's my favorite thing I'm doing. I've been really loving that podcast for how much fun it is to really talk about music and sometimes get really in depth on something -- like a whole podcast on Pharrell Williams' production or a four-part punk history. The music geek in me just loves that. I actually study and really prepare, and it's just a blast."



If You Go:



• Counting Crows and Live



• 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2.



• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.



• Tickets start at $29.50.



• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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