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July 9, 2010

Adam Duritz's Baltimore roots

counting crows lead singer adam duritzCounting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz may be a Baltimore native, but he doesn't have strong roots to the city. He's more like David Hasselhoff than John Waters.

Duritz was born here but moved when he was 3. As a kid, he would come back in the summertime to visit his grandmother, Selma Feldman.

Since Duritz and the rest of the Counting Crows are playing Pier Six Pavilion Monday (get tickets here), I interviewed him about what he remembers of Baltimore. 

The piece ran in today's Live section (check it out) ...

Feldman would take Duritz duck pin bowling (she belonged to a league). At night, they would watch "Bowling For Dollars," a TV show hosted by Duritz's second cousin, Royal Parker.

When the Counting Crows toured through Baltimore for the first time, Duritz insisted the band go out to dinner at Obrycki's. And in 2004, when Feldman passed away, it was a turning point in Duritz's life.

For some reason, the last time The Baltimore Sun interviewed Duritz was waaaay back in 1994, when the Counting Crows first broke out. I'm glad we were able to catch up with him this time around. It was one of the more memorable pieces I've done.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:39 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music


Interesting article. I've always enjoyed their music and had the pleasure of seeing themperform in concert with The Rolling Stones during the Voodoo Lounge Tour.

From the article:

"Baltimore doesn't weigh heavily in Duritz's music, but it does make one prominent appearance: the song "Raining in Baltimore." The 10th track on the seminal 1993 album "August and Everything After," "Raining in Baltimore" name-checks Charm City in one of the first lines: "It's raining in Baltimore/50 miles east/of where you should be/no one's around." Since Duritz moved around so much as a kid, he doesn't have much of a sense of being from any place in particular -- except maybe Berkley, Calif., where he lived for a while growing up."


It's interesting when he says that he doesn't have a sense of being from any particular place, because he does make other references to growing up around here (although not naming Baltimore specifically). The most obvious example I can think of is from "St. Robinson and his Cadillac Dream" off of This Desert Life:

"I was born on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay,
But Maryland and Virginia have faded away...
And I keep thinking tomorrow is coming today
So I am endlessly waiting"

I've got a little love/hate with Counting Crows. I've always kinda dug their music on albums, but I can't stand to see them live. No song sounds the same. I can respect artists who change it up here and there. I get that they would grow tired of performing the same hits like a jukebox night after night. But CC takes it to an extreme. Sometimes you just want to sing along to a song that takes you back, but when they bust out some samba version of Mr. Jones it gets a bit annoying.

@Dave F -- You can grow up somewhere and still not feel a sense of connection to it.

I realize that; yet he still seems to write about it more often than is revealed here. It begs the question as to whether it's just a coincidence or whether he really does have a stronger sense than he lets on. It could be an unconscious sense, of course, but still there.

Not drawing conclusions one way or the other, I just found it interesting.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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