Ask the Counting Crows in a few years, then the group that originated in Berkeley, California may have a better answer, but for now guitarist David Immerglück is excited about the band’s prospects of going independent.
After 18 years with Geffen records, the band sold more than 20 million records and produced hits like “Mr. Jones, A long December, and Accidentally in Love,” but now the Counting Crows are going it alone.
“We’ll see if it turns out the be a good thing or not. For us, we have the advantage of having a builit- in audience already there that we’ve worked on for a decade and a half,” Immergluck said. “I don’t know what it’s like for a new band coming up to try and get attention drawn to themselves."
"In this wild, wild, west in the Internet, this information overload, anyone can do anything on the Internet. You can promote yourself to your hearts content, but to get attention drawn to yourself if you’re a quality artist, how do you rise above the tidal wave of mediocrity all yelling about their little projects? It’s hard to say. That’s what record companies were good for back in the day. They were entities that taste makers that said you’re on Atlantic records, you’re worth checking out.”
The Counting Crows now have enough fans who believe they are worth checking out that leaving Geffen appears to be good timing.
“The record company was giving us a lot of money to make records which is a beautiful thing,” Immerglück said. “That’s the one thing that changes. We have to come up with a large amount of cash to make our own records. Everything else will be business as usual.”
Just because the Counting Crows aren’t with Geffen don’t expect to see a major change in their style. They have been able to make a name for themselves with a unique sound that was free from record executive meddling.
“The record company has never told us we couldn’t put something a record or not. They’ve done things like tell us we can’t release live shows. Now we can do whatever we want as far as that goes,” Immerglück said. “I think we’ll be getting more creative with that kind of stuff with the way we release stuff and the way we promote stuff that’s where the change will be. Art itself has been our own inter-dialogue, always from the beginning. Counting Crows has been blessed with that.”
Much of the band’s success has come from touring. They recently finished up some dates in Europe, battled what Immergluck says was a bout of swine flu and are now prepared to go finish up the summer on the road.
Counting Crows will join Michael Franti and Speahead for some dates in July that Immergluck promises to be different and that could different some collaboration on stage.
“We’re a unique entity in that way. Even as our record sales were going down, our touring sales were going up. It’s sort of unrelated with us. Our live thing is an entity in itself. We’ve been able to do huge tours without any kind of new album,” Immergluck said. “We’ll see. As Jim Morrison wisely said, ‘the future’s uncertain and the end is always near.’ So you never know. We’re in a position we’re we can take advantage of being independent of the record company and doing things on-line. We have a huge on-line audience that knows how to find us. We have a name that people know. We can reach people.”