By MIKE CHAIKEN
Journalist James Campion had interviewed Counting Crows’ lead singer Adam Duritz a number of times over the years.
But after one particularly long interview, Duritz explained in a conversation by phone that Campion told him, “We’ve got way too much… you should write a book.”
The suggestion laid dormant for a while, said Duritz, who is promoting Counting Crows’ upcoming tour, which comes to Hartford Aug. 15. A year after Campion put the bug in Duritz’s ear, the singer called the journalist up and said, “Let’s try the book.”
Duritz said Campion would come over and they would talk about stories for the book. Four to five hours later, they would call it a day. Then, Campion came out on tour with Counting Crows and he and Duritz again spoke for hours.
Finally, Duritz said, Campion said the pair had so much to talk about so he suggested they team up for podcast where other people can listen in on their freewheeling conversations.
Thus was born, the podcast, “Underwater Sunshine.”
“It’s been growing,” said Duritz.
The first seven entries they tried were terrible, said Duritz. They opted not to release those. But they have now have found their groove.
The podcast finds the two talking about a myriad of subjects. For instance, one found them debating which “Star Wars” film was the best. Some episodes of the podcast are planned, and supported by pages and pages of research Duritz undertakes. Some episodes have a particular theme. Other episodes are more freewheeling.
Although the subjects can vary, mostly, Duritz said, the pair talk about music. And typically, they talk about music that has nothing to do with Duritz’s day job with Counting Crows.
Some episodes have found Campion and Duritz speaking about funk music, he said. The duo did an episode talking about punk rock. They also recorded an episode on background vocals (in which Duritz spoke about his band’s collaborations with Ryan Adams).
“I really enjoy (music),” said Duritz. “I am a music geek… I love music. I love writing and playing music. I love talking about it.”
The book, by the way, is still in process.
Another project that Duritz has in process is the Underwater Sunshine Festival, which is planned for this coming October in New York City. Artists on the bill include Art Alexakis, formerly of Everclear, as well bands such as Monks of Doom, Mikaela Davis, Yellow House Orchestra, and Boom Forest (which is opening the Aug. 15 show).
Duritz said the festival is an outgrowth of the Outlaw Roadshow, a free festival Counting Crows organized several years ago in New York. Duritz said a lot of people involved with that venture are now part of organizing the Underwater Sunshine Festival.
“The idea is to find great music and support it,” said Duritz.
One of the dimensions of the Underwater Sunshine Festival Duritz enjoys is the opportunity to interact with his musical peers.
When you start out as a musician, working in clubs, you meet a lot of your peers and you become friends, said Duritz. The more successful a band gets, “you miss out on that.”
As you get more successful, about the only time you can rub elbows with your musical peers are at big events like the Grammys , said Duritz. And for him, that’s not his kind of scene.
Another dimension of the festival is the chance not only to introduce people to good music, but music you will like.
“There’s so much good music out there,” said Duritz. “if we show it to people, they’ll probably like it.”
The tour coming to Connecticut in August is called, 25 Years and Counting, which acknowledges the band’s 25th anniversary.
Duritz said the band will draw songs from all of its albums to acknowledge the landmark. However, in many ways, he said this isn’t too different from what they’ve always done. The band’s set lists typically find the band playing what songs they’re interested in on a particular night.
But, said Duritz, the anniversary is something he is “still trying to get a grip on.”
“I’m pleased,” sai Duritz. “It was always our intent to be around for the long haul… I’m pleased that paid off… It’s quite an accomplishment.”
Counting Crows comes to the Xfinity Theater in Hartford on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. with Live. Boom Forest opens.
For more information abou the Underwater Sunshine Festival, go to https://underwatersunshinefest.com/
To check out Adam Duritz and James Campion on their Underwater Sunshine blog, go to countingcrows.com/podcast