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Counting Crows: alive in Wonderland

Counting Crowes’ Adam Duritz on 22 years of highs, lows and Etta James’s breasts.

The limo is revving up several storeys below Adam Duritz’s elegant London hotel suite, to take him to a radio interview that just can’t wait, one which made the PR pull the plug on Classic Rock’s time 20 minutes ago. But Counting Crows’ singer gestures for the tape recorder to be turned back on. He’s just been asked if his band, one of the biggest in the world 20 years ago when their song Mr Jones owned the airwaves, but critically dismissed, even derided since, get the respect they deserve.

 “Oh, I don’t know,” he begins with deceptive calm. “Nobody deserves anything. This is just the way the world works. There’s a lot of assholes around, and they’re going to use you. And look, I love reading [gonzo rock critic] Lester Bangs, and he loved music. Unfortunately, people didn’t learn to love music and write about it from reading Lester Bangs. They learned how funny and cool it is to shit on James Taylor. I’m not the hugest James Taylor fan myself, but some breakthroughs teach everyone after them shitty things – The Police are awesome, reggae-rock, not so much. I love Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew – fusion, hmmm….

“With Lester Bangs, the main thing critics derived is venom,” he continues. “And what I know is that I love every one of our records. They’re exactly what we wanted them to be at that moment. It’s not everybody else’s responsibility to love that. Do we get the respect we deserve? I don’t know what we fucking deserve. I think there are always going to be bands that are critical darlings, who get blowjobs no matter what they do, and they deserve it. But that isn’t going to be us. I don’t know if that means we deserve anything different, though. That’s just how it worked out.”

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