The first CD that I ever bought with my own money was August and Everything After, Counting Crows’ debut album. I listened to it to death, and still love it. So, I was pretty giddy when I scored the opportunity to interview their frontman Adam Duritz ahead of their upcoming tour with The Wallflowers. The band is playing two shows in the Bay Area this summer: Wente Vineyards in Livermore on July 17th (Tix Here!) and America’s Cup Pavilion in San Francisco on July 18th (Tix Here!). Plus, if you buy tickets on line in advance, you get a free download of their latest live record, Echoes Of The Outlaw Roadshow!
SP: You used BitTorrent to help promote Underwater Sunshine. Why did you decide to pick such a controversial method to promote the record?
AD: Well, in the past, we would release tracks to radio in order to promote a record. We looked towards BitTorrent in the same manner. People are finding new music through file sharing, and it just made sense to send out a few new tracks before the album comes out this way.
SP: The last time you toured with The Wallflowers was in 1997. Why did you decide to do it again this summer?
AD: The last few tours we’ve done were Outlaw Roadshow tours, where we were bringing along a lot of largely unknown acts that we really like. And I would spend the whole show on stage, taking pictures and whatnot, and it would turn into me spending 4 hours a night on stage. This summer we wanted to play shows, but we also wanted to have time to write and record a new record, so when we were asked to do this tour, it seemed a bit calmer. It’s a shorter tour, and it’s perfect for working on a record while on the road.
SP: The Traveling Circus tour was such a fascinating idea for a tour. What was that like, and would you do it again?
AD: It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. We had all three bands (Counting Crows, Spearhead, and Augustana) on stage the whole night, and we could be playing on up to 40 songs. There were also a lot of patrons that didn’t quite understand the format, and would show up late not realizing that we were on stage the whole time. Still, I’d like to do it again.
SP: As is the problem with a lot of bands that had such a successful debut, people feel that none of your material ranks up there with your first two records. However, I feel that your later material is stronger than those first records. How do you get those naysayers to listen to some of you overlooked material?
AD: The only thing we can do is to play those songs live. Recently we’ve reintroduced a lot of songs off This Desert Life into our set, and we are really enjoying playing those songs.
SP: Why did you move away from the bay area?
AD: I didn’t want to. It was out of necessity. After we broke out, there were a bunch of kids just camped out on my front lawn. It was just too much, so some friends of mine in LA got me a room and a plane ticket. So I left. I lived in LA for a while, and then moved to New York. Of course, I still come back to visit, but I live in New York now.
SP: Counting Crows have been together for over 20 years, and have only had a small number of line up changes, and very few breaks. Which is impressive, especially for a band that has so many members. How did you stay together for so long?
AD: The key is respect. All of us have a great respect for each other, and that has allowed us to continue working with each other for such a long time.