Counting Crows play what makes them happy

Since forming in the early ’90s, Counting Crows have recorded seven studio albums, the latest of which, 2014’s “Somewhere Under Wonderland,” is just as thoughtful and evocative as 1993’s “August and Everything After.” Wondering how a band that’s been around for more than two decades continues to remain relevant? There’s no resting on royalties here or, worse, reheating old recipes.

“We just never tried to be a legacy act,” frontman Adam Duritz declares. “We’ve never really cared about that stuff.” Instead, he says, “we’ve always kind of lived in the present, as far as being a band. A lot of bands, they have some success, and then they keep trying to repeat that. We’ve never even been the slightest bit interested in it.”

Nor is the outfit interested in being confined to a set list when it plays live. “We play whatever we feel like playing that night,” Duritz says. “We make a set list up after dinner every night. It’s very based on what you want to do right then, and I think that by doing that, we’re very much in the present when we’re playing, too. You’re playing a set every night you want to play.”

But then again, Duritz and company have been playing what they want to play since the very beginning, passing up a pile of money offered by Geffen to keep complete creative control. “There was a bidding war for us at the beginning,” Duritz recalls. “There were millions of dollars on the table. And we traded all of that away. I think I went home with three thousand dollars from the first record contract.

Clearly, the gamble that paid off. With a record that’s barely more than a year old and a band that’s going as strong as ever, it’s premature to linger on the band’s legacy. Even so, “I’m happy with what we’ve done with our career,” Duritz says. “I’m really proud of it. I think it stands the test of time. I think we’ve made nothing but albums I’m incredibly proud of, every single one of them.”

Read more from Dave Herrera at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at dherrera@reviewjournal.com.

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