Commonwealth Journal

Features

July 3, 2014

Duritz: ‘I like playing festivals’

Big-name band Counting Crows headed to MMF

Next weekend, Somerset will see the biggest music industry name ever to visit the community — other than Willie Nelson.
Of course, for those who came of age in the 1990s, Counting Crows might be bigger.
The chart-demolishing rock group known for hits like “Mr. Jones,” “Hanginaround,” and “Accidentally in Love” is headlining this year’s Master Musicians Festival, to be held July 11 and 12, at Festival Field behind Somerset Community College.
And it turns out MMF might be in rarer company than one might imagine.
“I like playing festivals,” said Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz. “We haven’t done many American festivals, except jazz fests. We play a lot of big European festivals ... where we’re not headlining.”
The Commonwealth Journal spoke to Duritz via a phone interview in April, shortly after it was announced that Counting Crows would be the featured attraction in the 2014 MMF line-up.
Duritz — known for his raggedly soulful voice and buoyant dreadlocks — spoke candidly about a number of subjects, including the band’s reputation for delivering an unforgettable live show experience.
In particular, MMF attendees can expect Duritz to have their interests at heart. That’s because he said that while a “a great crowd on its feet screaming is a lot of fun,” the point is not for the band to be having a great time — rather, it’s all for the fans.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily their job to entertain,” said Duritz of the effect an engaged crowd has on the performers. “You’re mostly focused on the guys on stage. ... Guys change things all the time. You’ve got to listen for what other people are doing. If you make a left turn, it can be disastrous. You’ve got to pay attention to what they to and them to you.

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