Two decades and still Counting Crows

Adam Duritz says he wasn't always a great leader for his fellow Counting Crows. Credit: Steve Thorne/Redferns
Adam Duritz says he wasn’t always a great leader for his fellow Counting Crows.
Credit: Steve Thorne/Redferns

Fair warning: This will probably make you feel old. The Counting Crows’ debut album, “August and Everything After,” was released 20 years ago. Crazy, right? The anniversary has also snuck up on Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, who says there are no plans to cash in on the milestone. Instead, the band is looking forward and embarking on a summer tour across the U.S. with fellow ’90s stalwarts The Wallflowers.

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since “August and Everything After” came out.

For me it doesn’t really seem like that either. I would probably not think about it being 20 years at all except that people keep saying it to me. I don’t really look at it any differently than I do the other albums. It happened to sell a lot more, but that didn’t have much to do with me. The job that we were going to do on the album was done long before anybody bought 10 million copies of it.

What sticks out in your memory of making that album?

It was a difficult album to make. It’s sort of where I took over the band, and because I was very lame at being a band leader back then, that made it really hard on the other guys — because I didn’t take over the band in the best way, and that made life really hard on everyone while we were making that record. Since then we’ve done a lot of years on buses and a lot of tours and made a lot of records I really love.

Any plans to celebrate the anniversary?

I’m waiting for something more significant, some sort of trumpet fanfare to make me realize it’s been 20 years since that record came out. That really hasn’t happened, possibly partially because we didn’t do anything to mark it. We did a deluxe album years ago and we did the live album, which was just all of “August and Everything After” played live, a couple of years ago, so there isn’t really anything left to do other than make another 20-year release to get people’s money for it. But we’re not going to do that.

You guys were early adopters in using social media to connect with your fans.

I remember right when I moved to Los Angeles after we finished touring on “August and Everything After” — like 1995 —I realized at some point in there that AOL had forums for all these different bands, like message boards, and there were people on there on the Counting Crows board just talking about our music. So I went on it and told people who I was — it took a little while to convince people — and my thought was, here’s a way to talk directly to your fan base. You don’t have to go through radio, you don’t have to go through print. I mean, all of those are useful, but it’s kind of useful to be able to go yourself, too. I mean, it was social media in a way before there was social media. It never hurts to be able to go directly to people. It’s necessary now, especially if you’re going to be independent.

You’ve been pretty independent for a while. Considering the landscape of the music industry, could you ever see yourself going back to a big label?

I want to work with people who simply have a good business model, and the record companies’ business model is not particularly good. They still can only think about selling things through radio and making really expensive videos, and that’s about it. Those things are all great, but there’s more to it than that.

And also, they want to give you 10 percent and take 90, which I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t seem smart to me, especially nowadays when a lot of people are buying something that doesn’t actually exist in three-dimensional form. I know that they don’t have a lot of distribution costs making an mp3. I could make them myself. Because the first experience with the Internet for a lot of the record companies was Napster, the reaction was to try and lock all the doors after that, just in sheer terror, keep everybody out. I don’t think you can do anything about downloads. People are going to do what they can do. It’s a shame people don’t have a little more decency, but that’s life. You know, whatever, it’s fun to steal things, I guess. (laughs)

If you go

Counting Crows
with The Wallflowers
June 18
Bank of America Pavilion
290 Northern Ave., Boston
$36-$66, 800-745-3000
www.livenation.com


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