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20 years later, Crows still counting the hits

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Adam Duritz deals with many tasks. Currently, the frontman for Counting Crows is setting up a tour and working on a play.

“The projects have been splitting my time and keeping me extremely busy,” he says during a recent interview from Los Angeles. “It’s started to dovetail in a nice way, but at the beginning it wasn’t so.”

In addition to his two projects, Duritz had to fit in time to record the band’s latest release, “Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation).” The album is full of cover songs that Counting Crows always wanted to perform.

“We took some of the songs that we’ve covered over the years and recorded them,” he says. “It’s been a long time coming and we’ve finally had the opportunity to do this.”

Duritz and Counting Crows surpassed their 20th anniversary as a band last year. The band has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and was one of the hottest bands during the 1990s alternative music scene. It consists of Duritz, David Bryson, Charles Gillingham, Dan Vickrey, Jim Bogios, David Immergluck and Millard Powers.

Its 1993 album, “August and Everything After,” introduced the band, and its first single, “Mr. Jones,” became one of the band’s biggest hits.

But Duritz admits that the band could have been bigger and sold more albums.

“When we released the album, we found success so quickly we didn’t know how to respond to it,” he explains. “By the time we got on our third single, we were done with promotion and didn’t want to release any more singles from the album. We began to dislike our success, and the record label wasn’t very happy about it. They thought we had at least two more singles left on the album and we just stopped it dead in its tracks.”

Duritz says he believes the decision saved the band.

“We were all out of control and becoming seduced by the success,” he says. “By taking a step back, yes, we did hamper our career at the time, but I think it was the right decision for us to be around making music today. We did need time to realize how important music was to us. We didn’t want the label telling us how to sound and putting a limit on what we could do. This helped us retain our artistic control and freedom.”

Duritz says when the band signed with Geffen Records in 1992, it was a deal that had the members thinking long term.

“Every label was trying to sign us and give us a big signing bonus,” he says. “We opted for complete control and higher royalties. My cash advance take home was $2,000 then. It wasn’t about the money then, and isn’t really about it now. We’re happy that fans are still enjoying our music and coming to see our shows.”

With the new album, Duritz says the band wanted a change and a chance to give fans a glimpse of its influences.

“There are so many of us, we wanted to show fans how we got here,” he explains. “For the tour, we will have all of our hits and some of our covers. It’s going to be a fun time.”

Counting Crows
With Tender Mercies, Mean Creek
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14
WHERE: Kiva Auditorium, 401 Second NW
HOW MUCH: $43.50-$63.50 at or 800-745-3000

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