Counting Crows’ frontman branching out

Adam Duritz is taking care of himself this summer. “We’re playing much longer shows now,” said the f
Adam Duritz, left, and members of Counting Crows perform on the Isle of Wight, England, in June.
Adam Duritz, left, and members of Counting Crows perform on the Isle of Wight, England, in June.

Adam Duritz is taking care of himself this summer.

“We’re playing much longer shows now,” said the frontman, principal composer and vocalist for rockers Counting Crows. “Kind of need to be careful. It takes a lot to get from show to show for me because of the length, two hour-shows every night. So I don’t really mess around very much.”

That’s good for fans of the band, who would prefer their dreadlocked favorite keep his health, his voice and his stage presence. He’ll show off all three Tuesday when Counting Crows plays the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with special guests Citizen Cope and Hollis Brown. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Counting Crows with Citizen Cope and Hollis Brown

WHERE: Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

HOW MUCH: $25-$69.50

MORE INFO: 584-9330,

Duritz has bunches of things to keep him excited about music these days. Counting Crows is touring in support of its 2014, well-received “Somewhere Under Wonderland” album. And the singer is still jazzed up about his recent playwriting experience — he continues to work on the musical “Black Sun” with writing partner Stephen Belber. Duritz also loves talking about the experience that became 2012’s “Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation),” in which CC covered other musicians’ hits.

At SPAC, fans will hear pieces from “Wonderland.”

“This record’s really great live and we’ve really been digging playing it,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in New York City. “It’s turned out some of the best concerts in the last two years we’ve ever played. I think it fits really well.”

The “Underwater” project included tracks such as “Amie,” from Pure Prairie League, “Meet Me on the Ledge” by Fairport Convention and “Ooh La La” by Faces.

“Making that record, I really recognized what a waste it is to spend your whole life only working on one person’s material,” he said. “Even though that person is me … because there’s just so much more interesting stuff out there to interpret. You’ve got people in classical music, they play all kinds of different composers, which is great. Same for jazz. That’s really nice, in a way.

“When I worked on ‘Underwater Sunshine,’ ” Duritz added, “I kind of felt like I didn’t even need to go back to making regular records. I really enjoyed that process so much, just being a musician, just being an interpreter and concentrating on that side of it.”

So Duritz enjoys playwriting, likes the classics and loves the movies. The singer and band mates wrote the hit tune “Accidentally in Love” for “Shrek 2”; Duritz has written for other movies and has been a producer on some film projects.

Duritz sequels in the movie world may not happen. Working with film companies, he said, is always a nightmare.

“The nice thing about our career, we’ve had creative control from the beginning,” he said. “So we never had to listen to anyone from any record company from day one. The thing about movies is there’s so much money involved, you have 50 million executives all trying to justify their existence and there’s a lot of interference, a lot of headaches.”

Duritz has no headaches about keeping in touch with fans. He reads and responds to posts on the Counting Crows message board, and frequently updates his Twitter account. He’s been typing to fans since the mid-1990s, when AOL opened message boards for many bands.

“I was reading the forum and realized they had so many questions and I realized I had all the answers to all these questions,” Duritz said, adding he liked the idea of communicating directly with band followers. “It took me a few weeks to convince anybody it was really me; eventually I did and we started this sort of community on there. When real social media finally came along, we just embraced it. It was what we had been doing forever on our own, and now there was a better mechanism for it.”

Counting Crows may no longer be in the mainstream, the most popular band around. But Duritz is kind of happy where the guys are now.

“I don’t think we’re the center of pop culture by any means, but we’re going to sell about 15,000 or 16,000 tickets in the New York City area this summer,” he said.

Making the mainstream, he added, is a pipe dream for just about anybody.

“It’s almost never going to happen for any musician ever, but people play music anyway,” Duritz said. “We had it for a period of time when we were in the mainstream, it was very profitable. But in a lot of ways, annoying too. We’re still making money and supporting everybody.”

Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at [email protected] or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. His blog is at

Categories: Entertainment

Leave a Reply