Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz now calls Greenwich Village home, but the singer/songwriter got his start as a musician in the Bay Area with his debut album, "August and Everything After," which went multi-platinum and catapulted the band into a music career that hasn't let up for 25 years.
Duritz grew up in Berkeley, spending many nights (often every night) in coffee houses and clubs on both sides of the San Francisco Bay, including watching shows at Shoreline Amphitheatre and once hanging out at the now-defunct Edge nightclub in Palo Alto (though he says he can't remember why).
Duritz and Counting Crows, who have gone on to sell more than 20 million albums, produce more than a dozen hit singles and play arenas around the world, will be back in the Bay Area at Shoreline Amphitheatre on Saturday, Sept. 10, as part of a national tour the band is co-headlining with Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, whom Duritz has known since the '90s. Joining them on tour is show opener K Phillips, a performer from The Outlaw Roadshow free concert series that Duritz helped launch seven years ago to give exposure to up-and-coming indie bands.
In a telephone interview with the Palo Alto Weekly last week, Duritz talked about what it's like coming back to the Bay Area, how San Francisco's music scene impacted him and why this has been one of his most memorable tours.
What's it like coming back to play in the Bay Area?
It's a nightmare with the guest list mostly. No, it's really fun. A lot of my best friends, who are still my best friends, live here so it's really nice to come back. It does get a little hectic backstage, but it's nice to see everybody.
How does it feel playing at the same venues where you grew up watching bands?
I saw many, many shows at Shoreline. It's cool. What I really remember is the Greek Theater, having gone to a million concerts there, and then walking to my first show there. I lived a few blocks away at the time, so I just walked. I mean that was really weird at first. But it's been so long now, I've spent more of my life playing these venues than I did going to see shows at them. ... The Greek is still my favorite place to play maybe because I grew up going there or maybe because it's just a great venue.
Any old hangouts you go back to when you're in the area?
There's not as many clubs left. A lot of them are gone that I hung out in, and I don't go to many concerts or gigs while I'm on tour because it's too loud and people talk to me, and my voice gets wrecked because there's no way to be quiet. ... There were so many clubs in San Francisco that I have great memories of. ... Chris Isaak used to play at Night Break before he made records. We used to see him there all the time. The Haight (Street) places were really cool.
What was it like making music in San Francisco during the heyday of the '90s music scene?
It was pretty great. It seemed like everyone we knew was a musician back then. Immy (David Immergluck) -- my guitar player -- and I used to live together, and we were talking the other day about this one period in our lives when we were in the clubs every single night. We were either seeing our friends play, we were playing, or we were rehearsing every night, so it was like we were drowning in music at all times. There were so many bands in the Bay Area, you know, even like in our houses. I lived across the street from Les Claypool (Primus).
What's it like touring with Rob Thomas -- you go way back, right?
I haven't really seen Rob in about a decade, but it's been amazing. It's been the most fun I've had on tour in a long, long time. He's got a band full of the nicest people ever. We have this running text between me and him and K (Phillips). On the first night of the tour, I sent out a text and said, 'Hey what a great night guys. That was a really good show.' I thought that would be the last time we would use that text, instead it's been running for a month or a month and a half now. It's been that kind of tour where we'll all watch everyone play every night, and we all hang out a lot. We were just talking the other day about how we would like to find a way to do this every summer.
What are your plans after the tour?
I have the Outlaw Roadshow coming up ... and I need to go to Nashville because I promised a few friends I'd sing on their record. There is a new Dashboard Confessional record that I want to sing on. ... Then, I don't know, I might take some time off this fall.
Are you working on a new album?
We've started doing the first work for ideas for a song a few months ago ... but we're just in the beginnings of it.
IF YOU GO
What: Counting Crows and Rob Thomas
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: Sept. 10, doors open at 6:45 p.m.