The Counting Crows and Wallflowers, two bands that emerged in the mid-1990s, will come to Meadow Brook Music Festival amidst a five-week joint U.S. tour, and the Rochester Hills performance happens to coincide with Independence Day.
So, should fans duck out on their Fourth of July festivities early to catch the show?
“I don’t know, depends on how good the barbecue is,” Counting Crows vocalist Adam Duritz told Patch this week. “I like playing on the Fourth of July. The whole town comes to whoever’s playing that day, it’s a great day to play.”
Duritz’s Counting Crows, which have sold more than 20 million albums on the strength of hit singles such as “Mr. Jones” and “Hanginaround,” have had a relationship with the Wallflowers that dates back to both bands’ early years when Duritz provided backing vocals to the hit Wallflowers song “Sixth Avenue Heartache.” Duritz said the bands have toured alongside each other in the years since, but this year’s stint marks the first time the bands have hit the road together in several years.
Band remains relevant 20 years after debut
It’s been 20 years since the Counting Crows broke out with the acclaimed August and Everything After in 1993, and the band has maintained a constant presence in the alternative and popular music scenes.
Duritz credits his band’s longevity in part to its decision to turn down lucrative signing bonuses when the Counting Crows signed with Geffen Records in favor of maintaining complete creative control over his band’s works and receiving higher royalties. Duritz said each band member walked away with a $3,000 advance—far less than what was being offered at the time if the band had compromised its works—but that has allowed the band to work on its own terms.
Musically, Duritz says he can see traits employed by his band in many of today’s younger artists, which sometimes draws those bands' fans to his band's works.
“There’s the same instrumentation,” he said. “Using things like accordions and mandolins on records. I see that in (indie-rock artists) the Lumineers and Mumford and Sons.”
In fact, Duritz said these days he feels he has more in common with the up-and-coming artists than at more mainstream events that accompanied the band’s formative years. Duritz and music blogger Ryan Spaulding started the Outlaw Roadshow, which provides a spotlight for lesser-known artists. The tour spawned a live Counting Crows album, Echoes of the Outlaw Road Show, which fans can download for free when they buy tickets for the Counting Crows-Wallflowers tour.
“I really love doing it,” Duritz said of promoting fledgling artists, though he acknowledges it is yet another responsibility on top of his exhaustive—and sometimes isolating—day job as a touring musician.
‘I expect every gig to be great’
“I was never totally comfortable on the road,” Duritz said. “I love playing gigs, but a lot of other hours in the day are spent in hotel rooms. I moved around a lot as a kid and home’s always been a really big thing to me. Friends and family are important.”
Still, Duritz says he feels he owes it to fans to deliver each night while on the road.
“I don’t want to call it pressure, but I expect every gig to be great,” he said. “People don’t have as much money and sure as (expletive) don’t feel like spending it on music.”
Duritz said after the Wallflowers tour, the band plans to resume work on its next studio album, which he hopes to record in the fall.
Spotify users: Click here to open a playlist of some of the Counting Crows and Wallflowers' top hits.
If you go
- WHAT: Counting Crows and The Wallflowers concert
- WHEN: 7 p.m. on July 4
- WHERE: Meadow Brook Music Festival, 3554 Walton Blvd, Rochester Hills
- TICKET INFO: Tickets range from $26-76. Find tickets here.