Counting Crows are alive and well and sharing their creativity

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

The upcoming tour of Counting Crows and Matchbox Twenty is dubbed, “A Brief History of Everything Tour.”

Counting Crows’ lead singer Adam Duritz agreed in a phone interview from New York City that the name can be a bit misleading.

“It makes it sound like we were dead and came back to life,” said Durwitz.

However, said Durwitz, “We’ve been playing all along.”

The idea of the title, however, came from the Matchbox Twenty camp— specifically that band’s singer Rob Thomas and guitarist Paul Doucette.

Matchbox Twenty is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its debut album, “Yourself or Someone Like You.”

“They wanted to accentuate (that),” explained Durwitz.

So fans expecting Counting Crows to do something peculiar with their set list in order to reflect the historic theme, Durwitz said they won’t. Instead, they’ll do what they always do. They’ll draw up a set list at the beginning of the night, and if the mood strikes them, they’ll switch it up.

In some ways, however, Durwitz was responsible for the tour’s title.

He was part of the brainstorming process on what to dub the tour.

There is an author Bill Bryson, who wrote a book, “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” explained Durwitz. Durwitz was struck by that title. To avoid a complete rip-off of Bryson, said Durwitz, he twisted it around and changed it to “A Brief History of Everything.”

The powers-that-be then developed artwork for the tour with a yearbook theme and things were proceeding nicely, said Durwitz.

And then, he said, he received a call from his manager. There also was a book called, “A Brief History of Everything.”

Durwitz was flummoxed, he said. Here he switched the title of the tour around to avoid ripping off one author and in the process ripped off another.

Although Counting Crows isn’t emphasizing its history in this tour, the band does have a long history, having been formed in 1991. Its first album, “August and Everything After,” shot them to the top of the singles charts with “Round Here” and “Mr. Jones” and a climb up the album charts followed.

“Musically we’re exactly how I wanted to go,” said Durwitz of the band’s history. As a songwriter, he said you want to continue to make vital music and not “rest on your laurels.”

“It’s easy to have success and be like a jukebox,” said Durwitz. “We’ve been able to be in the present moment our entire career.”

“We’re still interested in music,” said Durwitz. He said the band’s last album, 2014’s “Somewhere Under Wonderland” “was our best record.”

The amount of success experienced by any one band is beyond its control, said Durwitz.

But you can have control over whether or not you have a creative career, said Durwitz. And that has always been his goal.

Durwitz recognizes that “fans will have one moment they feel attached to… and when they see you, they want to relive that moment.”

The key is to acknowledge those moments, and also present your current work, said Durwitz.

Don’t get Durwitz wrong, however. He said he would love to stay in the center of pop culture and be hugely successful. But being a creative force is key for him, he said.

In terms of new music, Durwitz explained medical issues derailed his efforts for a while. And at the moment, he will have to wait after the current tour before he begins writing again.

“I write mostly on piano, and we don’t have one on tour. It’s on-stage,” said Durwitz. Also, he said, he needs to sing as he writes. And he has to preserve his voice while he’s on the road.

Durwitz hopes to finish writing and begin recording with Counting Crows by the end of fall. He said he’s capable of writing eight songs in two weeks, so it’s a reasonable goal.

The last time Counting Crows came through Connecticut, they were touring with Rob Thomas, who is the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, their current tour mates.

Durwitz said there is a simple reason why Thomas and Counting Crows continue to hook up in the summer.

“He’s my friend,” said Durwitz, “I can’t overstate the value of something like that.”

When Thomas and the Crows toured previously, said Durwitz, “It was a really great summer.”

Counting Crows and Matchbox Twenty perform at the Xfinity Center on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $22 to $184. For more information, go to Livenation.com or CountingCrows.com