Many celebrities claim they don't read what gets written about them online or in newspapers and magazines, but Adam Duritz isn't one of them. The Counting Crows frontman, known for his trademark dreadlocks, admitted he tries to read everything that gets written about him.
In fact, he even keeps track of who wrote it.
"It's important to know who is saying what about you," Duritz said over the phone Monday from his band's tour stop in upstate New York. "If someone writes an article that has nothing to do with the music at all and is their opinion on why I'm (insufferable), I'm not going to do another interview with that guy. Ten years ago I felt we weren't getting a fair shake. People were writing about the fictional women I dated as opposed to the shows. Now I have a choice. I've decided to talk to more blogs."
The other reason he reads his press clips? The feedback.
Counting Crows, which will perform with The Wallflowers Sunday at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, takes an unorthodox approach to concerts. Rather than play all their radio hits the exact same way they're played on the albums, the band members have been known to change the melodies and lyrics and insert verses from other songs — that's if they play those radio hits at all.
"When you do things the way we do them, it's important to know that it's getting across to people," Duritz said. "If all we're doing is (ticking) people off and ruining our songs every night, it's probably good for us to know what's going on."
Duritz has said on many occasions that Counting Crows has been playing the best shows of its 20-plus-year career in the last year. He credited the band's last album — "Underwater Sunshine," which is filled with reimagined cover songs — for lighting a match under the group members and opening their eyes to what they can do with their old songs.
"We're getting great (concert) reviews nowadays," Duritz said. "It's nice to know this thing I've been feeling since last year has been seen by other people. I would hate to put fans through all this while we're thinking we're great and they're all miserable."
Counting Crows has six studio albums to choose from when putting together its always-changing set list (the band is in the process of writing a seventh album). What does Duritz say to the fans expecting to hear "Round Here" or "Mr. Jones" at every one of his shows?
"We have so many songs," Duritz said. "I think you waste them if you don't play them. We play songs from all over the place. Nothing is sacred. That seems to work well for us. Hopefully it's enough of an emotional experience that (fans) don't realize we didn't play 'Mr. Jones' that night. And it's not like we don't ever play 'Mr. Jones.' We opened the show with it (last Sunday). But I would get bored playing songs because I felt I had to play them. Because I don't always play them, I never get sick of them."
Speaking of Counting Crows' live shows, the Texas Rangers' Derek Holland made headlines recently for tweeting that he was unfairly kicked out of the band's concert in New Jersey. Holland claimed it was for standing up and taking too many photos, but various other reports state Holland was being obnoxious and insulting to those around him. While Duritz didn't see the incident himself, he did read about it — as he is known to do.
"I was surprised because the entire audience was standing up that night," said Duritz. "I've heard the stories from people in the audience and am not sure (Holland) is being straightforward. I heard he was sitting on his (butt telling) other people to sit down. But I wasn't there."
Does Duritz want Holland to come back to a Counting Crows show?
"Sure, if he wants to," Duritz said. "Anyone can come to the show. But I'm not really a Rangers fan. I'm an (Oakland) A's fan."
Counting Crows and The Wallflowers
When: 7 pm Sunday
Where: FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, 1300 S. Lynn White Drive
Tickets: $26.50-$146 at ticketmaster.com