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Jun 14, 2014

'Counting Crows' Adam Duritz reveals secrets to show here

June 14, 2014

The quickest way to despise a song is to force yourself to sing it at every concert, said Adam Duritz, the Counting Crows frontman. 

"If you do not want to play something, playing it is a really good way to start hating it.," Duritz said by phone from his home in New York City. "I don't want to hate my songs because I really love them and put a lot of feeling into them." 

That's why Sunday evening's Counting Crows concert at Greenville's Peace Center will not be quite like any other show on the alternative rock band's international tour. 

Duritz said he designs each show's set list on the day of the performance. 

"I honestly never know what we're going to play every night," Duritz, 49, said. "I send out a text message to everybody, the band and the crew, and sometimes the opening band, if we're good friends. 'Anything you want to play tonight? Anything you want to hear?"

Duritz's routine keeps a concert fresh and spontaneous.

"It changes every night, and it means that 20-odd years into this, i'm not bored playing concerts," Duritz said. "I think we're pretty good live, and that's the reason for it."

Fans probably can expect to hear some of the band's big hits such as "Mr. Jones," "A Long December," "Accidentally in Love" and "Round Here."

The band has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, first exploding onto the music scene with the platinum breakout disc "August and Everything After" in 1993.

Opening Sunday for Counting Crows is Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Duritz said he and other members of Counting Crows wrote the new album's songs after their summer tour last year. Often the songs were created in intense sessions at Duritz's home in New York. One six-day stint resulted in five new songs. 

Duritz worked closely with band members David Immergluck (guitar), Millard Powers (bass) and Dan Vickrey (guitar).

"I've been collecting things on my iPhone, just snippets and ideas, a verse of a song or me singing a melody with nensense words." Duritz said. "Together we fleshed it all out. Having the guys here to bounce stuff off of was great because everyone was offering up help and their ideas. It was very collaborative."

The album resulted in songs with titles such as "Disloation," "Earthquake Driver," "God of Ocean Tides" and "Johhn Appleseed's Lament."

"Creating something from nothing is always weird," Duritz said. "It's magic."

The Greenville News solicited questions from readers over social media for Duritz.

Question: "There's something really human in your voice that isn't focused on sounding perfect but focused on something real and vulnerable. Can you talk about that?"

Duritz: "It never seemed interesting to me just to sing something really well. I do want to sing well, but I mean sing it with a lot of emotion and feeling. What makes Sinatra a great singer is not the voice but the phrasing, how he delivers it. The same thing is true of Bob Dylan. He doesn't have a great voice, but he's a great singer. I drive some producers crazy because I do look for things that other people would call imperfections: My voice cracks in a way that feels right. A producer will say, 'Oh my God, don't leave that in there.' I would leave something that sounds like a huge mess-up. I never try to sing perfectly. I sing in a way that's real."

Question: "Why was it a 'Long December.' " a reader asked, referring to one of Duritz's signature songs.

Duritz: "My friend got run over by a car in Santa Monica. She was in the hospital for months. I spent a lot of that fall in the hospital. Most of our other friends were at work and couldn't be with her, so i'd go there in the afternoon to be with her. She's still one of my best friends."

Question: "How have you been able to date so many beautiful and famouse women?" (Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Winona Ryder, Emmy Rossum, etc.)

Duritz: "I dunno. You have to ask them. I dated a lot of women who weren't famous, too. I'm assuming it's because they like me. I liked them, too. Everyone can date them. You just have to convince them. And I'm a nice guy."

YOU CAN GO:

What: Counting Crows with Toad the Wet Sprocket

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Peace Center Concet Hall

Tickets: $65 to $85

Information: (864) 467-3000 or www.peacecenter.org