It's hard to believe it has been 25 years since Counting Crows debuted its landmark album August and Everything After (Geffen Records, 1993), and that the refrains of "Round Here" and "Mr. Jones" have stuck in our heads ever since. For lead singer Adam Duritz, to have withstood the test of time is a milestone, and the band is celebrating in humble fashion by hitting the road for a 25 Years and Counting tour beginning Wednesday, June 27, at Boise's Taco Bell Arena.
Duritz had much to share on breaking into the business; his new podcast, Underwater Sunshine; and his "contented life" in music. Above all, he still finds it surreal to still be in the spotlight after more than two decades.
"I'm having trouble grasping it, quite honestly. I guess I can believe it because I've been doing this forever. It's nice to be employed," he said with a laugh. "For a while there, I had a lot of doubts about that, especially when we started out. It's pretty crazy ... I've spent my entire life playing music. The one thing I can appreciate is how incredibly rare that is."
Duritz said launching the Counting Crows anniversary tour in Boise is a bit nostalgic for him.
"It was great to find we were actually starting in Boise. I was glad because we haven't been there in a while. I used to spend a lot of time in Idaho; I'd go to Ketchum a lot for Christmas with friends. Also, when we were doing more college tours, we would often end up in Boise. It's awesome, when you do this for long enough. There are cities that you love going to."
After producing seven successful studio albums—which have sold more than 20 million copies to date—Counting Crows has a fountain of material for its tour. Though the band always mixes up its set lists, Duritz said a couple of albums continue to to stand out from the rest of the repertoire.
"I really like playing songs off of This Desert Life (Geffen Records, 1999), and Somewhere Under Wonderland (Capitol Records, 2014)," he said. "Our last record was maybe my favorite. And, for some reason, This Desert Life ... we want to play those songs all the time. They're a little more quirky. I don't know—that album just never gets tiresome."
Accompanying the Crows on the road this go round is +LIVE+, another '90s staple that just saw its original members join forces again following a nearly nine-year hiatus.
- Danny Clinch
"I was really happy they got back together, cause they're friends of mine," said Duritz. "We used to be drinking buddies when we all lived in [Los Angeles], and we've done several tours together. I know how hard it is to keep a band together, but there's nothing as good as the experiences you've had with these people."
In addition to his musical endeavors, Duritz has launched a podcast dubbed Underwater Sunshine, aptly baptized after the band's 2012 album. He hosts the podcast with longtime buddy, author and music journalist James Campion.
"James has interviewed me a bunch of times over the years, really in-depth pieces, and we end up talking for hours," said Duritz. "He said to me once, 'I have so much material left over, we should do a book.'"
Campion joined Duritz and the Crows on The Outlaw Roadshow, an itinerant music festival the band put on with blogger Ryan Spaulding. Throughout that 2012 tour, Duritz and Campion recorded a seemingly endless number of conversations about their shared love of music.
"I called him up [later] and said, 'There's so much that's never gonna make it into this book—we should do a podcast,'" said Duritz. "So, we started doing it at the end of last year. It's my favorite thing I've been doing. I think it allows us both to just be music geeks."
The success of Counting Crows goes beyond great music. It's largely due to the members' solidarity as a band, a kinship formed by what they do and an air of positivity about the future.
"It's been 25 years. We've survived it," said Duritz. "I like touring, not just with my band, but my crew's been around me a long time, too. There are about 20 people I've spent most of my adult life with, and I like them all. There are a lot of reasons to be happy about this tour."