Adam Duritz Knows How to Fix His Own Lights

Counting Crows

How could you not love a face like that?Photo: Getty Images

Okay, so on Sunday night we went to this Delta event with the Counting Crows, and ever since then our friends and co-workers have been making fun of us because we love that band. But we are not ashamed! Sure, you may have abandoned them after “Mr. Jones” got annoyingly stuck in your head too many times, or even as recently as their “Big Yellow Taxi” remake which was offensive to almost all humans. But we love them nonetheless, and they have a new album coming out. It was supposed to come out in November, but it got delayed. Lead singer Adam Duritz, who has been a New Yorker since their last album, Hard Candy, five years ago, recorded half here and half in his native Berkeley. The album is called Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings, and they’ve begun testing out some of the tunes — including the ballad “Washington Square” — on concert audiences. And we are excited about it and don’t care what you think. At the Delta event, where the airline announced an exclusive collaboration with the band (they’ll offer an all-Crows music station on their onboard radio menu and will sponsor the band’s tour), we actually got to sit down and talk with Duritz for a while about the album, the music industry, and living in the city. After the jump, we’ve posted a portion of our Q&A for your enjoyment. Nobody’s looking, we promise. You can click through.

Can you explain the concept behind the new album?
It’s a two-section record, with two different producers. We did “Saturday Nights” here in New York. It’s all about dissolution and disintegration and sin. And “Sunday Mornings” we produced out in Berkeley, and that’s really not so much about redemption as it is about recovery and about how you try and reconstruct your life after you ruin it, basically. It’s a much more acoustic record, although neither of them is really entirely electric or acoustic. The first album is a lot more electric guitars, and the second album is much more banjos and upright base.

What do you think of Madonna signing with Live Nation? They’re hoping more bands follow her and they can create an alternative to the record companies.
Well, I’m looking to see which companies can actually stay in business. Take from it what you will, but Tower Records is closed. So if you want to run an entire company just selling CDs, I wish you luck. They’re going to need to find an alternative way to have their companies.

You guys encourage file-sharing on your Website. Would you ever consider a model like Prince’s, where he provides everything himself on his site?
I love what Radiohead did. We can’t release things for ourselves because we’re on contract. Radiohead’s idea was genius. They sold like a million, averaging eight dollars a copy. They’re beloved in England. Like a lot of bands. There are 50 music magazines that are great in England. You can become like the Beatles really quickly there, because people will write about you. We only have a few music magazines here in America. A lot of people in England go through the roof right away, but when they come here, they can’t make it across the country. They can make it on the coasts, not as much in the middle. You figure, everyone who loves Radiohead will pay a fair amount of money for that record.

Okay, so if Saturday Nights was done here, did living in the city influence you?
Thematically, it’s actually a lot about L.A. The disintegration happens out there for the most part. New York is like a haven for me. I had to move away from Berkeley after a while because it was like Beatlemania for us there.

You live in the Village — what’s your favorite thing about being centered there?
I really love Washington Square. When I first moved here, I lived on 4rth and Macdougal, right on the corner. I have so many lights in my house. A little while ago I figured out how to, like, take them all apart, four or five different kinds of lights. I know it’s a stupid story, but I bought all the wrong bulbs when I tried to get new ones. I walked out of the house this morning and I went to the hardware store and I got them. I got up on the ladder, and I fixed the lights in my ceiling. I started fixing different lights in my house. I rewired all the lights in my roommate’s room. I find myself doing stuff here, as opposed to sitting at home in L.A. not doing anything.

On your blog you talked a little bit about how photo shoots and things delayed the album. It was supposed to come out in a couple of weeks. What happened?
We were on tour all summer, and I was prepping the deluxe edition of August and Everything After that we put out. We do so much of it ourselves now, that there wasn’t really anyone keeping track of everything that needed to get done. We were going to miss all our deadlines. It wasn’t what it should have been, and it wasn’t going to be ready for November. If you don’t get it out in November, you’re not putting out a record at Christmas. That’s a dumb time. There are two dates in February or March that are good, and we’re gonna go with one of them.

Come on — we don’t make fun of you for your Phil Collins obsession! Okay, fine, we do.

Adam Duritz Knows How to Fix His Own Lights