After cleaning himself up both physically and mentally, Adam Duritz tells Billboard.com he challenged his bandmates earlier this year when the Counting Crows began recording a new album, "Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings." The set is expected in November via Geffen.
"I told everybody at the beginning of the record, it was my fault," Duritz says. "I took off for the last few years, but there isn't any more free ride here. Everybody's ass is grass. We're (expletive) going to be a great band or we're not going to be a band."
The Crows' first studio effort since 2002's "Hard Candy," "Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings" is full of surprises, according to Duritz. The electric "Saturday Nights" portion of the album, which finds Gil Norton (producer of the band's 1996 sophomore effort "Recovering the Satellites") behind the soundboard, is buoyed by more acoustic "Sunday Mornings" material.
"This album is really starkly divided, not just musically but thematically," Duritz says. "The first half is pretty dark stuff and 'Sunday Mornings' is not a side about redemption either. 'Sunday Mornings' is about sorrow and grief."
He adds, "Whether or not everyone else will like it or not, I don't know. It's not a normal Counting Crows record. It may turn some people off." A full tour in support of "Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings" is expected to begin in early 2008.
With the album finished, the outfit decided to hit the road this summer on a minor-league baseball park tour that includes Live as opener. There's a palpable sense of momentum behind the band, which has added 15 songs to its live repertoire over the last few weeks. This includes new tracks "Insignificant" and "Washington Square," as well as obscure older songs such as "Perfect Blue Buildings" and "Ghost Train."
"We're really into it right now," Duritz says. "We're sound-checking every day, and we don't need to. The recording of the record was really inspiring to everybody, and we really love it."
Also on the horizon for the Crows is the Sept. 18 double CD release of "August And Everything After," which features a remastered version of the band's 1993 debut along with demos and a complete 1994 concert from Paris.