Last weekend I did somethng WAY out of my routine, which was go with a couple of buddies, Lance and Logan, to an RV park 30 miles north of Santa Barbara in a giant RV and just kick it for the weekend. The place is called Ocean Mesa, and it is really cool and we had a blast! Logan and I were both sleeping in the main front part of the RV for the weekend, and as we were going to bed Saturday night we started talking about music, specifically awesome ballady songs that are kind of sad but super beautiful, and it made me think of the Counting Crows. Despite personally making a lot of music that is very inspired by hip-hop and electronica with phat beats as the backbone, my taste in music is extremeley eclectic, and Counting Crows are one of my favorite bands I have ever gotten into. So I thought of them and told Logan something that I haven't shared with too many people before (for no reason in particular), but that I think is pretty badass. My grandma actually writes all of Adam Duritz's lyrics! Just kidding... One of the best Counting Crows albums is their debut release, titled August and Everything After. I really love this whole album, but there is one song in particular from it called "Raining In Baltimore" that really moved and influenced me in a way few songs ever have. When I was starting to get into Counting Crows, back in 11th or 12th grade of high school, I had a phase where every single night for somewhere between 1-2 months I would put "Raining In Baltimore" on repeat when I went to bed and lay there with the lights off in my room and just get lost in that song; usually I'd let it play between 2-3 times. I seriously did this every night with only that song for weeks, and I have never done that with another song, not even close. On a side note I always have had this silly kind of fantasy that someday I would meet a girl who actually did the same thing with the same song and we would be soul mates and marry each other and it would be awesome :) But anywho, it was an incredible intimacy I had with this song for so long, and I told Logan about this, and he pulled it up on his phone and played the whole thing on speakerphone, and we quietly held space for the entire song and zoned out on it just like I used to; it was really great.
Logan wasn't too familiar with Counting Crows so I kind of filled him in on why I like them so much, which has a lot to do with how good the songwriting is, and how emotive of a singer Adam Duritz is, and how fucking epic his lyrics are. To give him the perfect example of the amazing lyricism I quoted the first lines of their song, "Round Here," which is the first track on their first album, and I actually think this is one of the greatest song lyrics every written by anybody. Just think, how amazing is it to have the first lines of the first song on your first album, your introduction to the world, be:
"Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white, and in between the moon and you angels get a better view of the crumbling difference between wrong and right."
I wish there was an emoticon for my head exploding, because I would put a bunch of them here right now. The artistry and imagery of those lyrics is really something, and I couldn't help after sharing these with Logan but think about how stark the contrast is between approaching music with this desire for creating powerful, beautiful art versus singing about the club or shaking your ass or some other wack shit that you hear more often than not these days in the mainstream. By the way, "Round Here" was a radio hit, which I think is pretty cool! Times have changed.
One other thing I'd like to share about Counting Crows, and the song "Round Here" in particular, is that they were part of another of the most powerful music moments I've ever experienced in my life so far. In either 2002 or 2003 (wow, I can't remember which right now!) I did a 3-month backpacking trip through Europe with my girlfriend at the time, Riva. My memory is that during that trip I somehow began exposing her to Counting Crows and telling her all the reasons I loved them so much, and she started listening to them a lot and began falling in love with their music too in a big way on that trip. One night we were in Riomaggiore, a very special little town in Cinque Terre, Italy, and we were ending our day by just chilling in our private aparment we had managed to rent there. I remember we were laying on the bed and I was showing her the August and Everything After album, I think for her first time, but there was only one set of headphones that could be used at a time. I put on the song "Round Here" and leaned in so I could kind of hear the song faintly through the headphone bleed while she got to really zone out on the song and hear it all awesome. I don't know what about that specific moment made this happen, but as the song was playing I was so into it and the emotion of it that it actually made me cry even though I was hearing just super shitty headphone bleed of it. How crazy is that?! But that is how powerful that song can be, and it was a really special thing that I will never forget.
Anyway, there is not much point to this blog other than just sharing with you how much I love Counting Crows and Adam Duritz, and the song "Raining In Baltimore." If you have never actually heard their albums and gotten familiar with their material I highly reccomend them, especially the first three albums. Of course Counting Crows are not for everyone, as no band is, but they are one of the best at what they do for sure. I'm gonna go now and try to write some lyrics as epic as "Round Here." Wish me luck!