It’s been 25 years since Counting Crows’ debut album, “August and Everything After,” took the ’90s by storm.
Ahead of the band’s Saturday show with Live at the Austin360 Amphitheater, frontman Adam Duritz chatted with reporters Addie Broyles and Kristin Finan about topics ranging from his new podcast to where he likes to eat when he’s in Austin. Here are some excerpts; the full interview will air on I Love You So Much: The Austin360 Podcast in the coming weeks.
On his love of Austin:
“I love the music scene and how much people love music. I love the food. There are a lot of good restaurants here. There’s places here that I just cannot wait to get to Austin to go to. One of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants anywhere is here, that restaurant, Sunflower. I love that restaurant. And I have lots of friends here.”
On his favorite Austin memory, which came when he hosted a festival called the Outlaw Roadshow during SXSW:
“We did about four or five (Outlaw Roadshow events) during SXSW. My favorite time was when my parents called me one year and they said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be in Austin this week for that festival you’re doing. We’re actually going to be there, too. Boy, it was really hard to find a hotel in Austin.’ I was just like, ‘Mom, it’s SXSW, that’s why.’ … They went to see a bunch of bands with me, a bunch of indie bands, and it made them love Austin forever. They’re here this week, too. My parents, who are in their late 70s, love Austin. They accidentally landed here during SXSW one year and now they love coming back.”
On the new podcast, Underwater Sunshine: The Podcast, he hosts with journalist James Campion:
“I love it. We’re music geeks, and music geeks love to shove down your throat the latest thing they’ve listed to. Now we have a way that everyone can hear us doing it. Most of my interviews, they want to talk about the shows and it’s often the same type of questions. This way we can just talk about whatever we want to talk about. I don’t have to talk about Counting Crows all the time.”
On the summer tour, “25 Years and Counting,” so far:
“It’s been really great. I’ve been trying to sort of do these spoken word things, not exactly like ‘Storytellers’ but kind of like that. That was hard because it involved a whole bunch of new writing. I don’t usually go on tour and write a bunch of stuff. It was a lot of work to write these things to make sure they were good, to make sure they didn’t drag on, then remember them. It’s been really cool. I think talking about the songs really focuses the audience and involves them in a way that’s really good and pretty powerful emotionally. It’s been pretty good for me, too, because it’s hard but I think it focuses me as well.”
On asking fans on social media what they want to hear this summer:
“It did get me to add ‘Anna Begins’ in a little more, that was surprising. That was the top requested song last week. It’s been running at the top the whole time. It reminded me that we hadn’t been playing that song much and we started playing it more. We change the set list every night.”
On being inspired by music and theater:
“I tend to write when I’m inspired and that can happen for a variety of reasons. I wrote ‘Rain King’ after finishing watching ‘Doctor Zhivago’ one night. I was sitting by myself and I wrote ‘Rain King,’ which has nothing to do with Doctor Zhivago but I had a lot of feeling in me and I sort of poured it out into a song.”
On his new free music festival, “Underwater Sunshine Fest,” Oct. 12-13 in New York:
“I think when you start out you’re in a peer group of musicians, your friends who are at the clubs in the other bands. It’s really great. When our career took off I sort of lost all that. Unless you want to hang out at the MTV awards or the Grammys, which really aren’t my bag, you sort of lose that peer group. One of the nice things about putting on all these shows with these musicians was I found myself surrounded by other musicians again. I had a real group of peers and friends, even though we’re in different places in our careers. … The same reason I love listening to Pandora is the reason people should listen the Underwater Sunshine Podcast and come to the Underwater Sunshine Festival. We’re here to be your Pandora, to expose you to music. These are great bands making great music that are just not famous yet. We’re trying to change that.”