When you've been in a world-renowned band for over two decades, it's hard to find a city that you haven't played in. But for the Counting Crows, their trip to Cold Lake will be a first for the band that has sold over 20 million albums worldwide.
After not touring in Canada for over 15 years, Counting Crows vocalist Adam Duritz said they're excited to finally get to visit their northern neighbours.
“We just didn't get an offer from Canada for years, which is weird because we kept bringing it up, we did want to go to Canada...for some reason this year we got a whole tour's worth of Canadian offers,” said Duritz. “It's really great, especially because a lot of places are places I've never been before in my life, which is pretty rare at this point in our career.”
Formed in 1991 in Berkeley, California, the American rock band gained popularity following the release of their debut album August and Everything Else. Since then, the Counting Crows have been responsible for hits such as Mr. Jones, Hanginaround, A Long December and Big Yellow Taxi. In 2004, the band received an Academy Award nomination for their song Accidentally in Love, which was included in the film Shrek 2.
“I don't think we're anything like what we first came out with, culture definitely shapes your style...whatever music you listen to, whatever TV shows you watch, it all becomes part of your perspective and I think the thing we were always trying to remain true to is making music our way,” explained Duritz.
In the six albums following Counting Crows' debut record, Duritz expressed that while their style might have changed the band made sure of one thing – that they maintained creative control.
“I have much less problem with being influenced by something new you listened to than I do with repeating what you did last time just because it was financially successful. I think that's a mistake and a dead end. I think a lot of people get caught up in that in our business because it's so hard to have any success at all.
He added that even before the release of the band's first album, they traded money for creative freedom.
“We had a bidding war on us, so there was millions and millions of dollars on the table, and I went home with $3,000 from that first contract because we found a company that was willing to trade us all that for a higher royalty and total creative control.”
Counting Crows is currently made up of Duritz as the vocalist and band members David Bryson, Charles Gillingham, Dan Vickrey, Jim Bogios, David Immergluck and Millard Powers. Their seventh, and most recent, studio album Somewhere Under Wonderland was released in September, 2014.
“I think this one is a little different than the other records, in that it came on the heels of a year I spent working on a play I was writing. That was the first time ever in my life I wrote for someone other than myself,” explained Duritz.
“I kind of figured, writing the play, I wrote the best songs of my life and they weren't about me. I figured the common thing was they were really about how I felt. It sort of opened my eyes at that point, that the important thing is to write about how you feel, regardless of what the subject matter is.”
In addition to writing the play, Duritz also spent a year working on the cover album Underwater Sunshine, which was released in 2012. Through that album Duritz said he was able to explore other people's lives through their songs and helped him to find a different viewpoint for his own work.
“I don't think this album (Somewhere Under Wonderland) would have existed if it weren't for the play and for Underwater Sunshine. I think everyone opened up what was in the realm of possibility.”
Duritz has been the vocalist with Counting Crows since the band's formation 24 years ago. He said the key to Counting Crows' continuing success is knowing what you want from the beginning and being able to make that a priority.
“You've got to prioritize what's important to you. I've always wanted to be in a band, I've never wanted to be a solo artist at all,” said Duritz.
He added, “There's ways to think who deserves what in a band and ways to do the math and tell yourself that you deserve more...but you have to think about 'well, it doesn't really matter'. If there's not enough left for everybody then you don't have a band.”
According to Duritz, the band always took priority and from that, they have been able to span their success worldwide for over two decades. The Counting Crows will now be bringing their music to Cold Lake for the first time, with their Somewhere Under Wonderland tour.
They will be performing at the Cold Lake Energy Centre – Reid Field House on May 1 at 7:30 p.m. Special guest Twin Forks, a folk rock band originally from Florida and formed in 2011, will also be taking the stage. Tickets are available at the Energy Centre and online at www.coldlake.com.