Over two decades and counting

April 4, 2015 5:23 am 1 comment Views: 3
Adam Duritz (centre) with Counting Crows, on the road Down Under again.

Adam Duritz (centre) with Counting Crows, on the road Down Under again.
Source: Supplied

ADAM Duritz knows what it’s like to be last year’s old sock.

As singer-songwriter for Counting Crows, he’s been living in the shadow of their debut album August and Everything After since it catapulted them to fame over 20 years ago.

“The truth is, you’re gonna be what everybody loves one year; you’re gonna be the coolest thing on Earth. And then you’re gonna be everybody’s old sock another year, they’re just so sick of you and you’re not cool any more,” he says.

“And then a couple of years later – if you live long enough and don’t die – well, they love you again.”

Duritz is talking about the critical reaction to the band’s seventh studio album Somewhere Under Wonderland, noting the band hasn’t changed but perhaps people’s tastes have.

“Everyone wanted to call it a return to form in some ways. I just think it’s really their return to it more than ours,” he says.

Still, while admitting that every new album has been his favourite at the time, “I do think it has some of the best songs I’ve ever written”.

“I think (opening track and first single) Palisades Park might be the best song I’ve ever written, I’m intensely proud of that,” he says.

Palisades Park

The new songs have enjoyed a frenzied response on tour, and the band are now bringing them Down Under. When they were last here in 2013, Duritz had picked up a bug at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, and ended up cancelling some New Zealand shows.

“This time I didn’t want to risk it at all, so I stayed home this year and skipped South By Southwest. So I’m not gonna turn up in Australia sick again, it’s not happening!”

Their last tour marked a milestone for Duritz, as he ticked off the Sydney Opera House from his bucket list of venues he’d always wanted to play.

“It was places like the Whisky Au Go Go in LA, and the Stone Pony in Asbury Park; First Avenue in Minneapolis where Prince came from; the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia, where REM and the B-52s came out of … I got all of them, except for (New York’s) CBGB (which closed),” Duritz says.

“The last one on the list, which took exactly 20 years, was the Opera House in Sydney.”


In Brisbane this time out Counting Crows will be playing The Tivoli, the smallest venue they’ve yet played in the city.

“What we do is play this rock ’n’ roll music and try and bring a lot of improvisation and intimacy to it, and that’s easier to do in a small club,” Duritz says.

The band has also just played Bluesfest at Byron Bay for the second time.

“It’s hard to go places far away – it’s good to have a ‘tentpole’ gig like that to build a tour around,” Duritz says. “We are welcome at all the big festivals in Europe – we’ve been playing them for years – but not necessarily the ones in America, which came along much later. They’re a little snotty towards us.

“So it’s great to have a festival like Bluesfest on the other side of the world that wants to have us back whenever we’re gonna come down.”

A refreshing aspect of Counting Crows’ live shows is that the setlist changes every night, and you’re as likely to hear an obscure album track as you are one of their big hits like Mr Jones, Big Yellow Taxi or Accidentally in Love.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time, we’ve got a lot of songs. And when you make a record, those are all important songs to you,” Duritz says.

“At some point the record company comes along and says we’re gonna put this song on the radio, often just because it’s the right length. And then that becomes a hit in some ways, but that doesn’t really make it any more important to me really.”

Counting Crows play Palais Theatre Melbourne April 4, Her Majesty’s Theatre Adelaide April 5, Perth Concert Hall April 7, State Theatre Sydney April 9-10, The Tivoli Brisbane April 12

Australia-NZ tour

Originally published as Over two decades and counting

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