Hangin' Around With Counting Crows and Live

Adam Duritz of the Crows and Ed Kowalcyzk of Live discuss their friendship and joint tour
Posted Apr 20, 2000 at 12:00am
Adam Durtiz is a hypocrite. At least that's the word the Counting Crows frontman uses to describe himself when he tells the story of how he became friends with Live singer Ed Kowalcyzk. Although he's an avid collector of bootlegs, Duritz nonetheless takes issue with fans making video archives of Counting Crows shows. Yet when he first met Kowalcyzk at an open-air festival in Holland four years ago, it was from behind the lens of his latest toy, a digital camera.

"The world is rife with hypocrisy," Duritz laughs. "Try to get through the day without a little bit of it. I have these rules, most of which are unspoken so nobody can hold me to them. And there are rules about filming at concerts, but I can do it. Sort of. And if Ed wanted to bring a camera to one of my concerts, he could do that, too."

"Oh? Then I'm going to do a five-camera shoot," Kowalcyzk interjects. "I could sell it to a station in Australia!"

Seated next to each other on a couch in Duritz's expansive Beverly Hills home, the two frontmen banter back and forth like old drinking buddies. Which is all well and good, seeing as how the two will be seeing a lot of each other this summer when Live and Counting Crows embark on their co-headlining tour of North America. After bumping in to each other repeatedly at musician-friendly Los Angeles drinking holes like the Whisky Bar at the Sunset Marquis Hotel and the Viper Room ("You again?" Kowalcyzk quips), the two eventually realized they had much in common, not the least of which was a common audience. The prospect of touring together has popped up over the years, they say, but now that it's a reality, they're looking forward to spending the next few months together. The first leg of the tour runs from July 28 to Sept. 3, while the second leg picks up Sept. 12 through the end of October.

Though it remains to be seen what effect months on the road together will have on their friendship, for the moment they appear to be in such good spirits about the whole affair that Kowalcyzk -- never the most frivolous of frontmen -- is the one cracking most of the jokes. Reclining back, he explains his change in attitude: "[Adam] brings out my Jekyll. Or is that my Hyde? I'm Jekyll, he's Hyde. I think."

"Yeah," Duritz says. "We're never the same guy. We switch off, so that one of us carries that baton at a time. Should make the tour interesting."

Trying to put together sort of a "superband thing" on stage, the two are currently brainstorming ways they can do some songs together. Allowing for younger fans' potential reliance on curfews and public transportation, Duritz says that the sets will be kept to seventy-five minutes for each headliner. The tighter time constraints -- both bands are accustomed to lengthier sets -- means any collaboration needs to be planned out, and soon. "We always have people come up and help out on 'Hanging Around,'" Duritz suggests in an aside to Kowalcyzk, "because we need the background vocals and the clapping. That would be really fun. And that's what that song is all about."

Hoping that some unique interaction will happen on this tour with both the members of Live and opening band Galactic, Duritz wholeheartedly encourages taping of shows. Just not video.

"There are musicians who love bootlegs," he says, pointing to his wall of CDs that includes no less than thirteen CDs of various Radiohead concerts, "and there are musicians who work with the FBI to fuck bootlegs. I don't appreciate that. You may have every Beatles album, know every note to every song, so the chance to hear it performed a different way is invaluable. I don't see live stuff as piracy."

"Think of what we do as a career -- I mean, Christ, my band's called 'Live' -- and those are the moments you cherish the most," Kowalcyzk adds. "It's actually most of what you do, traveling and touring. And real hardcore fans are obsessed with the differences, and how a band transforms over the years. So bootlegs, in that sense, can be a revelation."

"That said, there's different parts of the art form that we do," Duritz continues. "You may [write songs] in your bedroom, and it's of no less value than touring. At the same token, making a record, which is crystallizing it in a gem-like form, may not make the best version of a song, but it's the version that's going to last for everyone. Not all bands transfer that to the live arena, and that doesn't make them lesser bands. But we are bands that really concentrate on that. The kind of music we do just happens to bloom live. We are always re-exploring our work live."

The first leg of the Counting Crows/Live tour is as follows:

7/28: Kansas City, MO, Sandstone
7/29: St. Louis, MO, Riverport
7/31: Indianapolis, IN, Deer Creek Music Center
8/2-3: Detroit, MI, Pine Knob Amphitheater
8/5: Chicago, IL, World Theater
8/6: Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center
8/8: Columbus, OH, Polaris Amphitheater
8/9: Cleveland, OH, Blossom Music Center
8/11: Philadelphia, PA, E Center
8/12: Scranton, PA, Montage Mountain
8/14: Saratoga, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
8/16: Boston, MA, Tweeter Center
8/18: Wantaugh, NY, Jones Beach Amphitheater
8/22: Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center
8/23: Hartford, CT, Meadows Theater
8/26: Hershey, PA, Hershey Stadium
8/28: Toronto, Ont., Molson Center
8/29: Montreal, Que., Molson Center
8/31: Buffalo, NY, Darien Lake
9/2: Pittsburgh, PA, Star Lake Amphitheater
9/3: Washington, DC, Merriwether Post Pavilion

Written by JENNIFER VINEYARD for RollingStone.com News

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