Hey Reddit, I'm a crazy person but - on the plus side - I write a lot of good songs for my band Counting Crows. Ask me anything. PROOF https://twitter.com/CountingCrows/status/362243933239128066

UPDATE Been here for 2hrs. Taking a break for a bit. Thanks for all the questions. I'll try and answer some more later.

Comments: 1865 • Responses: 72  • Date: 

PerryLJackson259 karma

Mr. Duritz, my Mom loves you.

My question is, did you write “Round Here” with the intention of making people openly weep in their car? Or was that just a powerful side-effect of the raw emotion?

counting_crows543 karma

My mom too. Must be a mom thing. When I was in The Himalayans, we wrote Round Here with the intention of making Duckpin Bowling easier and more comprehensible to the public at large outside of Baltimore. It is widely misinterpreted as a meaningful statement about life and growing up.

TheBestMess161 karma

Who is Maria??

counting_crows264 karma

She is

Gay4Moleman123 karma

First off thank you for doing this AMA, I have enjoyed your music ever since my older sister bought August and Everything when I was 8 years old. To this day if I hear the opening 4 seconds of Mr. Jones I have trouble not singing the entire song to myself. After all you have done and been through do you still want to be Bob Dylan, or are you happy being Adam now?

counting_crows183 karma

Nah, I was just talking about the difference btwn me & Marty. I wanted to be a songwriter (like Dylan); he wanted to be something a little more funky. He was a bass player after all.

PersianMuggle114 karma

I read recently that you've battled with mental illness. Is there something you wish you could tell people to help with their understanding? Is the "crazy person" reference to the depersonalization disorder as a way to minimize it?

counting_crows428 karma

I don't think there's anything I can say except that mental illness is a real thing and it can be devastating. It's not that "everyone's a little crazy" as people are so fond of saying to me. It's terrifying and I wish it had never happened to me. That said, you get one life and you have to try to live it as best you can.

shamsway102 karma

I loved hearing you cover "Friend of the Devil". What lead you/your band to cover a Dead tune?

counting_crows134 karma

(Shrug) I dunno. I just had the idea one day. I thought I had a take on the song that was unique. That's the important thing with interpreting someone else's tune: you need to have your own way into it.

CDLY91 karma

Raining in Baltimore just got me through a really rough time. Would love to know the inspiration/story behind that song. Thanks!

counting_crows219 karma

I had a friend (Bonnie Simmons) who was close friends with Bonnie Raitt. She used to go thru all the cassette tapes fans sent Bonnie Raitt and find songs for Bonnie on the thousands of tapes. She actually found "Something To Talk ABout" in one of those boxes and, when I was younger, I used to help her with that. Bonnie Roaitt was one of the first professional musicians I met and she was very kind to me. I actually wrote "Raining In Baltimore" to give to Bonnie Raitt.

johnny121b74 karma

I have no question. I mostly just wanted to say that I enjoy your music...and commend you on doing the AMA WITHOUT an obvious ulterior motive. Almost all the AMAs you see here- only seem to appear when there's something to promote or sell (a new album debut or new show pilot.) It's gratifying to see someone just doing an AMA.

counting_crows136 karma

I just have a lot of answers to question.

mastaam59 karma

Goodnight Elisabeth is my favorite song, I always listen to it when I'm upset or can't sleep. Thank you, CC and Adam! I love your work!

Edit: Also, I love how you always switch things up when you perform live. Your commentary is always incredibly interesting to me, and you guys seem to be so in synch with each other.

counting_crows98 karma

We listen to each other. In our band, listening is the MOST important part of playing.

Brisaster53 karma

Hi Adam!

I always get in those chill out and listen to nothing but Counting Crows for a month moods. My favourite album is August and Everything After. Although after much consideration Hard Candy may be taking over.

My question(s) are, what are the meanings behind "Anna Begins" and "Murder of One"?

Thanks! Keep up the amazing songwriting~

counting_crows141 karma

Anna is a song about 2 people struggling to admit how important they are to each other until it's too late. Murder is about an abusive relationship someone I knew was in. Those are both MASSIVE OVERSIMPLIFICATIONS. Songs are about MUCH more than the story in the song. It'd be more accurate to say that both songs - and really ALL my songs - are about me.

eruji48 karma

Solid Counting Crows fan here... Loved your VH1 Storytellers. You're one of the few bands that I prefer to hear the live versions over the album version. It seems that you guys keep it pretty dynamic live. Do you strive to make it interesting more for the listeners or just to keep from playing the same songs the same way over and over?

counting_crows75 karma

(shrug) Neither really. We're just playing the songs and letting them breathe. It's not that we're determined to play them differently each night; it's more that we're NOT trying to play them the same.

McDavitt0843 karma

What do you like more nachos or tacos?

counting_crows99 karma

Tacos, of course. Lenguas and/or Tripa from the middle of the night taco trucks in East LA or the one on St. Marks

MsAOK41 karma

Without fail Track 5 is always my favorite track on every Counting Crows studio album. They're haunting, heartbreaking and tender... "All My Friends," "Goodnight LA," "Anna Begins," "Goodnight Elizabeth"... I've always wanted to believe it was intentional. Is there anything behind my #5 theory?

counting_crows102 karma

Yes. 5 is the number of the yeast.

friendlyfire3138 karma

did you take tambourine lessons?

counting_crows88 karma

Nope. I wish. I'd probably be a lot better if I had. Tambourine can be a disaster onstage if you play it wrong because the frequency cuts through anything. For an unamplified instrument, it can be the loudest thin _ or at least the most audible - onstage

dawsonkroes38 karma

Hi Adam! I just wanted to say that I love your music and August and Everything After has gotten me through a lot. Did you ever expect to continue playing music for this long after the first album and how do you find the energy to keep going?

counting_crows74 karma

I guess so. It's weird because you never really expect to succeed at something like this at all, let alone for so long. But, at the same time, no one ever dreams of playing pro ball for 1 season either. People dream a lot bigger than the usual reality, which is, I suppose, why they're dreams.

velvetcrayon37 karma

more of a comment than question but whenever a friend of mine hears me listening to the counting crows (even in the background on the phone) she immediately asks me, "what's wrong?!" but now the tunes make me think off the good times. this is also a friend who gave me the "across the wire" cds which are some truly amazing versions of those songs. thanks for the tunes!

counting_crows89 karma

What's wrong?

s102337 karma

Adam, how do you pull of being so MFing sexy at 50??!

counting_crows111 karma

I'll tell you in a couple years

brrrendan35 karma

You've written some pretty confessional lyrics, ever felt self concious about people knowing whats going on inside you?

counting_crows292 karma

Sometimes I feel like rock & roll is just a really embarrassing act of repeated chronic oversharing

whatsyrfavoritedino32 karma

What's your favorite dinosaur?

counting_crows78 karma

TYRANNOSAURUS RECORDS, of course. I love my T-Recs (subspecies NOTAR) "NO NO NOTAR!!!"

Handjobcommunity15 karma

Is this a Tig Notaro and Jeff Garlin reference?

counting_crows44 karma

Nah, T-Recs is my record label and NOTAR is the reason I started it. He's the one artist on the label and he's amazing. Finishing his 2nd album right now.

hawks58632 karma

Why doesn't "Baby I'm A Big Star Now" get the credit it deserves? Might be the best Crows track and it crushes during the Rounders closing credits

counting_crows81 karma

That was my fuck up. I loved the song and I wanted to keep it for THIS DESERT LIFE so I told the Rounders people they could have it for the movie but not for the soundtrack album. As a result, they never released a soundtrack album. Cut to sequencing our record and I realized it just didn't belong on THIS DESERT LIFE so I left it off and since there WAS now NO soundtrack album, it exists nowhere except on the film itself.

I screwed the pooch on that one.

J_for_Jules28 karma

Hi Adam – My guitar teacher finally taught me ‘A Long December.’ I love that song and it means even more now that I can play it.

Can you explain more about the depersonalization disorder you experience? How difficult does that make it to perform live or travel for touring?

counting_crows55 karma

I actually do better on the road these days than I do at home. At least I know what I'm supposed to do every day on tour. Sometimes I get home and just sit in my apt trying to remember people I know so I can get out of the house.

alexhurley28 karma

how did you like the Shrek publicity?

counting_crows78 karma

Don't really remember much about it. I was happy to do the song for the movie because that stuff is immortal. My grandmother saw SNOW WHITE & THE 7 DWARFS. SO did my mom, so did my sister & I, so did her kids. I took my goddaughter to the premiere.

perpetuance28 karma

One of the first albums I've ever bought (back in those days when people used to buy cassette tapes):


It has helped me through bouts of depression in my teenage years. Thank you so much, Mr. Duritz. Greetings from Croatia.

counting_crows28 karma

Right back at ya

YouBoxEmYouShipEm27 karma

Did your street cred with kids go up after Shrek? Did you ever think your music would be in an animated movie?

counting_crows198 karma

Do kids have street cred? My 5yr old nephews loved it but they didn't take me out to score dope afterwards or anything. Should they have?

SabrinaSaysHey25 karma

You do an amazing job of discovering new bands. How do you do it?!

counting_crows77 karma

Ha, I just have a lot of friends with great taste who point me to good music. Check out RYAN'S SMASHING LIFE RSLBlog.com, Daytrotter.com, katiedarbyrecommends.com, I Am Fuel, You Are Friends fuelfriendsblog.com, tophatsbyjennifer.blogspot.com, Slacker.com for lots of new music

Dogberto24 karma

When can we expect a new originals album? Do you ever wish you guys were more prolific in terms of recorded output, or do you prefer touring?

Also, no Ireland date on the last tour? Whassupwithdat?

counting_crows98 karma

We can only go where we're offered gigs. There was no Irish gig offered on the last tour so we didn't go. Believe me, no one purposely avoids going to Ireland, Italy, Spain, Brazil, etc.... As for a new album, I'm busy writing right now and we're going to start recording late this Fall. Millard & Dan are coming to my house tmw to start woodshedding ideas.

SarahPalinisaMuslim24 karma

I used to sleep with August and Everything After playing. The combination of songs in that album is just soothing as hell, and awesome.

What's changed the most for you since the beginning in 1993, and what's stayed the same? In any aspect.

counting_crows59 karma

Same size feet. Different sizes of pants over the years (although I'm now back to the same size I was wearing in 1993)

slightlysarcastic7523 karma

Can you elaborate on the story behind "4 Days"? One of my favorite songs. Being from Ohio, I love it even more.

counting_crows45 karma

A girl from Ohio was busy turning me upside down that year so the state got a LOT of play on THIS DESERT LIFE. Might be the band's favorite of all our album lately. We're obsessed with playing songs from that album live

mybandscks22 karma

My band actually does a cover of "Mr. Jones". My question is, are you going to sue?

counting_crows50 karma

No. Is it any good?

craicsmoker22 karma

Do you drink before your live shows? I saw you in St. Paul a few years ago and you seemed really drunk, almost falling off an amp at one point. You even made the comment that a lot of concert reviewers think you're drunk but in actuality that is just how you perform.

counting_crows75 karma

I get really gone onstage but I rarely drink. It just takes too heavy a toll over the course of an entire tour. I can't do that and keep my voice together. It's funny though: I read a lot of stories about how I was wasted at a show but it's almost never the case on tour.

This is not to say that I don't like drinking and playing music. I LOVE drinking and playing music. I just can't do it very often; almost never unless it's a one-off gig.

madclan219 karma

Hey Adam, Thanks for doing an AMA.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Hope you come back to Toronto soon.

counting_crows56 karma

I think "influences" are something that people get confused a lot. It's not a direct line like journalists seem to suggest it is. I grew up in Oakland listening to a lot if funk & hip hop (P-Funk, Earth Wind & Fire, Commodores - later Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, De La Soul) but you can't really hear that in my music - except the fact that I'm really groove oriented when I sing and I almost never lose the time or the beat

lie4karma18 karma

I remember Staying up late to watch David Letterman when you were the musical guest. I cant recall another time when he was so impressed that he invited a guest back the next night. Was that planned? Ive always wondered that.

Anyway you come up with some powerfully lyrics.. Thanks for all the awesome times.

counting_crows28 karma

That's a secret

Gtobes18 karma

Adam- Any plans to collaborate with Chris Carrabba again? "So Long, So Long" was an amazing song as well as his cover of "Angels of the Silence".

counting_crows24 karma

I love Chris and I love Dashboard Confessional. I think my favorite album of theirs is the one that came AFTER the one I sang on (which was DUSK & SUMMER). The next album - ALTER THE ENDING - is a much harder gtr record, closer to the sound of A MARK, A MISSION, A BRAND, A SCAR but with even better songs in my opinion. He's just a great writer. His new band Twin Forks is pretty amazing too. Check them out

tracythecool18 karma

Mr.Duritz my entire family loves your music. we came out to the sandpoint show and absolutely loved it. I was just wondering what is your favorite song to perform?

counting_crows29 karma

Changes all the time. Lately, it's "Start Again"

piratebroadcast17 karma

How do you score such hot women? I've heard it said that you claim that it is due to the fact that you love "eating pussy"... True?

counting_crows62 karma


SidIsHuge16 karma

How did you and Ryan Adams come to be friends back in the old days? Also, do y'all still communicate often?

counting_crows36 karma

I met Ryan onstage at The Viper Room. We were singing and drinking together and he said 'Hey will you come sing on my <burp> album tmw?" and I said sure. Haven't seen him in awhile. One of the problems with my disorder is that I forget I'm close to people and I stop seeing them because I worry I don't really remember how I know them. It's hard to explain and that sounded like nonsense but it screws with my friends who live far away

Philosopher197616 karma

Counting Crows has been my favorite band since I first bought "August and Everything After" as a high school student. Thank you for making such great music.

I have three questions:

1) Why did you take a long break after Hard Candy? I got used to buying your albums every few years, but it took a long time for you to come up with another one.

2) Why did you change your sound so much after This Desert Life? I felt like Hard Candy was a new direction for the band.

3) Have you considered more live albums like Across a Wire? The VH1 Storytellers CD from that set is my favorite Counting Crows performance ever. I love the way that you re-interpret your songs during life performances.

counting_crows28 karma

1) I was a wreck. 2) I feel like the sound changes fairly drastically every record but not because we try to change; just because we DO change (as does everyone) and the music reflects that. 3) We do lots of live albums. We record EVERYTHING so if something seems worth releasing; we release it

Cpl_Ketchup15 karma

What's been your favorite thing about working with the rest of the band?

counting_crows33 karma

I like the jazz of it. I love the collaboration and the way we make things better together

geoffreylebowski15 karma

What do you think of Jimmie and Daniel and the Lion?

counting_crows29 karma

I think they're fucking amazing - also a lot of fun to be around. I can't wait til we're all back together living at my place for CMJ. There's a lot of juggling, drinking, playing music, and some really arcane geeky card games I don't understand that Jimmie always wins

Solictice15 karma

I've seen you a few times when you performed with the Dutch band Bløf. I wonder how you look back on that time?

Thanks for doing the AMA!

counting_crows23 karma

I LOVE Blof. I was so happy to see them at our last gig in Amsterdam. They all came down. True friends and great musicians. Some of the best and wildest times of my life with those cats.

neftalirr13 karma

What happened to the Devil & Bunny shows? Will they ever return?

counting_crows23 karma

I'm sure they will

colorfits12 karma

I missed y'all in Chicago, how was the show?

counting_crows28 karma

I thought the Chicago show was killer.

commandercoffeemug12 karma

Hi Adam! Your cover of Big Yellow Taxi is one of my favorite songs of all time. What gave you the idea to cover a Joni Mitchell song?

counting_crows33 karma

I always had this idea for an acoustic hip-hop version of Big Yellow Taxi and that's what we recorded. The version on the radio was a remix Ron Fair did of that track.

CanIHaveAMoment12 karma

Did you ever get a gray guitar?

counting_crows35 karma

My head is filled with grey guitars

Awesome8011 karma

You seem to speak your way through your songs in concert instead of sing them like you do on your albums, why?

counting_crows28 karma

I don't think I do. As far as I can tell, I'm always singing.

brb11211 karma

And the NEW location for Devil and the Bunny shows during Jazz Fest is going to be...

counting_crows22 karma

Good (if unanswerable) question

HeadFullOfLightning10 karma

You DO write great songs! No question - I just wanted to let you know that Hard Candy got me through a really tough break up in 2002. What a brilliant album! Thank you so much for your amazing music and lyrics.

counting_crows27 karma

It got me through one too

wchannan10 karma

I have bought august and everything after at least 7 times, is there an album that whenever it gets lost or is no longer playable you must repurchase?

counting_crows30 karma

I have around 20 copies of Miles Davis KIND OF BLUE

dances_with_ronaldo9 karma

What do you think is the hardest part of being a famous musician? What part is the most satisfying for you?

counting_crows42 karma

"famous" is such a weird thing because it really only exists in the minds of people. It's not something you did so it can't really ever be satisfying. Not to me anyway. I'm proud of being a musician all this time. I'm proud of all our work.

mattyJbird9 karma

Very strange question but, do you have a cousin named Phoebe P. (little blonde girl from Maryland), she always brags to everyone how you guys are related but I kind of feel like she made it up lol.

counting_crows7 karma

Probably. Both my mom's parents came from families of 10 so I have 100's of cousins around Baltimore.

joegetto8 karma

mrs potters lullabye is my favorite song. thank you for it!

counting_crows7 karma

you're welcome

SlamDunx7 karma

Adam, huge fan of Counting Crows.

I remember in 2000 or so, you guys wrote a couple of songs for a movie (I forget the name of it) and played them at a concert which I have a bootleg of.

"Here Comes That Feeling Again" and "My Love" were the titles. They sounded awesome, and you said the band recorded them and was going to release them. I've never heard about them since. What ever happened to them?

Oh, and what about the song "Margery Dreams of Horses?" That's one of my favorites. Any plans to ever record that wonderful tune?

counting_crows14 karma

We recorded "Margery..." for both AUGUST & SATELLITES. We left it off both albums. I just don't think it worked.

FlipflopFantasy7 karma

Hey! Thanks for the AMA!

What was your favourite song to write and why?

counting_crows10 karma

Don't really have one

lauren7996 karma

Hi Adam- Wow you have a lot of questions here. I just want to say thank you for all the wonderful years of songs- you are a true poet. Was curious if you like Sylvia Plath- I love her and you remind me of her sometimes (male version of course)? I love so many of your songs but I would have to say Recovering the Satellites is probably one of my faves, it just really speaks to me. Thanks for all you've done- can't tell you how many car rides I've spent listening to your music (some of my happiest and saddest moments were spent with you and that's pretty awesome) xoxo

counting_crows11 karma

I find Sylvia Plath very depressing and scary. Brilliant but...I don't want to end up like that.

fortune_and_glory6 karma

Hey! I was at a gig of yours a few years back in Manchester. Now, I'd had a few beers so its a bit hazy, but I could have sworn you started talking about Elisabeth...Unfortunately the (even drunker) idiots next to me were talking too loud for me to hear what you were saying.

Later I met you and the band and you signed a fiver for me because I couldnt find my ticket. Never spent the fiver! Probably worth £5.50 now ;)

So I've always wanted to know....who is/was Elisabeth?

counting_crows13 karma

She was.

Cammy0146 karma

How did you get involved in making Freeloaders? Had you know the Broken Lizard guys before the movie?

counting_crows8 karma

Some friends of mine wrote the script and one of them wanted to direct it. I wanted to help them out so we put the movie together. The Lizards were friends of friends. Now they're just friends. Although friends of mine and friends of theirs are still friends as well.

PViering16 karma

What was one of the greatest moments in your music career?

counting_crows10 karma

lots of different things are very cool. I don't know. Life is rarely about one moment; it's a lot of moments

GritsConQueso6 karma

Did you ever meet Christian Forrest, a piano player from Hendersonville, TN, who went to New Orleans to study music with Ellis Marsalis? I lost track of him after high school, but man was he an entertaining pianist.

counting_crows6 karma

I'm not sure.

ogdenburgess6 karma

What are some of your favorite bands, songs or albums?

counting_crows14 karma

Lately I've been listening to a lot of Pedro The Lion, Nana Grizol, The Weepies, Field Report, Phoenix, Mean Creek

geotracker86 karma

How much do you make a year?

Also, you're awesome.

counting_crows16 karma

Last year? Very little. It varies from year to year depending on what we're doing that year

underdogadam5 karma

Throwback- but what was it like getting to work with T-Bone Burnett on your first record. The few pre-AAEA tracks that have floated around the internet are super grungy, and they transitioned into totally different songs. I'd love to hear about the experience of working with T-Bone on that.

counting_crows13 karma

Well, T-Bone is a genius when he's around. When he was present, he was instrumental in helping us become the band we are.

Tbird5555 karma

Do you still have the hair?

counting_crows23 karma

yes. I've saved all of it over the years. I'm making a gigantic ball.

MadamMeshugana5 karma

First off, you were/are my first musical crush, setting me up for a lifetime of dating singers, for better or for worse.

Anywho, what is your songwriting process with the Counting Crows -- do you write and they create the music, vice versa, or do all of you go step by step through a song?

counting_crows11 karma

We write all different ways but even when I bring in a song totally written, that's just a skeleton - chords and words. The work we do to turn that into a song we record is VERY collaborative. It's always a full band process in the end.

focus-pocus5 karma

Hey, Adam, thanks for doing this AMA! I wanted to let you know that August and Everything After and Recovering the Satellites were two of the most influential albums for me when I was growing up. "Rain King" still brings a happy tear to my eye.

I have two questions: 1) Why is your hair so freaking awesome, and 2) Do you have any particular process when writing songs, or at least some advice for other songwriters?

counting_crows12 karma

1) It does its own thing 2) Just find something true and tell how you feel about it

uuoza4 karma

If you were to continue performing for the next 30 years, how many more drummers do you think you would go through?

counting_crows14 karma

In my mind, we've mainly had 2 drummers in the band. Ben joined the band midway through our 1st year on tour and played for a decade before he retired to go home to Georgia and raise a family. Jim joined then and he's played for almost 10yrs now as well. Steve is a great drummer but he just wasn't in the band for a very long time.

babblueyed54 karma

Hey Adam! I am a huge fan, and have been for years. I was wondering where you favorite place to play was? I have seen you at the Ryman in Nashville and at Miami University, both shows were amazing! Would you consider doing more college touring? Thanks for putting your heart out there in your music.

counting_crows13 karma

Love The Ryman but My favorite place to play BY FAR is The Greek Theatre in Berkeley.

ccrow2344 karma

"Suffocate" was said to have been finished for Saturday Nights, and it was also recorded for RTS. Where are the recordings? And what about "Good Luck," we know a studio version of that also exists. Why will we never get to hear these songs properly recorded?

counting_crows8 karma

Suffocate was never finished. "Good Luck" and "Chelsea" were both taken for the play BLACK SUN a long time ago. I realized they weren't really CC songs soon after we left them off RECOVERING THE SATELLITES

first_tiger_hobbes4 karma


counting_crows7 karma

No, there's no catharsis. Songs don't really work that way.

AryaStark344 karma

Is there anything about El Paso you miss?

counting_crows10 karma

It was a great place to be a kid. Lots of vacant lots, spiders , and snakes.

yobetabitch4 karma

Adam - Is it true you no longer have dreads and what we see at a kick-ass show is a wig? Mucho love either way!

counting_crows6 karma

no, that's not true

JGrutman4 karma

As a child of the 90s there is absolutely no one in music that I care about now. I kind of like AWOL Nation, but not really. Any bands that get you excited that I should be following?

counting_crows15 karma

Music now is WAY better or at least just as good. Check out Foreign Fields, Lucy Rose, Mean Creek, Filligar, Field Report, Nana Grizol, Visqueen, Best Coast, Jesse malign, Fort Frances, Tallahassee, Fantasmes, Maria Taylor, Sacco, Dawes, Hannah Cohen, Bodega Girls, Oldjack, Gentleman Hall, Deer Tick, Delta Spirit, Golden Bloom, Rocky Votolato. There are just soooooooooo many bands making great music right now