Counting Crows Aim to Cure '90s Nostalgia and Cancer

Counting Crows
Counting Crows
Photo by Danny Clinch
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Last month, when everyone on Facebook was making lists of the top ten albums they liked as a teenager, a lot of people who came of age in the '90s seemed to have amnesia. The Pixies? Wu-Tang Clan? That's your selective memory (or hipster ego) talking. Meanwhile, a lot of artists who were actually in people's Discmans way back when seem to have been conveniently forgotten.

Take, for instance, Counting Crows. The Berkeley, California, band's 1993 album August and Everything After sold more than 7 million copies, and those records didn't buy themselves. Fueled by singles that were on constant rotation on MTV and radio — such as the bluesy hit "Mr. Jones" and the angsty, soul-baring "Round Here" — the band's roots-rock sound became shorthand for the last decade of the past century. Hell, Counting Crows were so totally '90s that lead singer Adam Duritz dated not one, but two cast members on the TV show Friends.

But while other '90s crazes such as the Macarena and Tickle Me Elmo have faded with the years, Counting Crows have continued to make records and tour. Every few years, they put out a new album, most recently 2014's Somewhere Under Wonderland. They are also a steady presence on the road, planning a return to South Florida as headliners for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge Celebration Concert this Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium, with proceeds from the concert going to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami.

Beyond helping a worthy cause, Counting Crows aim to make music that can double as a healing elixir. They set out to help people travel to the past even without a time machine. "Songs call up memories," Duritz told New Times before the band's last Miami show. "If you want your song to call up memories, you need to put your own memories in there too — the details, the sense of place, the things that give your world gravity, as opposed to a free-floating series of ideas. The descriptions and the details give the world gravity, which makes it a place that people can live in. Without it, it's just air. People don't live in air. They live in worlds, in buildings."

If Duritz puts that much of himself into his music, you can be just as honest: It's OK to admit you still know all the words to "Rain King."

Dolphins Cancer Challenge Celebration Concert With Counting Crows
2 p.m. Saturday, February 11, at Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens; hardrockstadium.com; 305-623-6100. Tickets cost $25 to $50 via ticketmaster.com.

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