March 9, 2007

The Himalayans: She Likes The Weather (Adam Duritz’s early band)

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows is an artist that I have historically loved deeply over the past 12 years or so (and will always love), but I found myself thinking that lately that the Crows’ output has become kind of, well, boring. I reserve the right to modify that statement at any time –they do have a new record coming out which could be amazing– but lately I am not energized at all by what they are doing, which is the exact same thing they’ve been doing for several years now.

So perhaps just the thing to spark that flame again is some early work from Adam when he was young and hungry.

This year Duritz formed a record label called Tyrannosaurus Records, as we previously discussed, and according to a very interesting MySpace diary post, they will be re-releasing Adam’s work from 1991 with his early Bay Area band called The Himalayans on a 17-track album called She Likes The Weather. It’ll be available April 12.

STREAM: Four songs from The Himalayans at their new MySpace
(including an early demo version of Round Here)

Here’s some history from Adam from the blog:

Dated March 9, 2007
Greenwich Village, NY

Today is a really big day for me. It’s a day I’ve waited years to see.

The best part of being a musician for me has always been the joys of being in a band. I’ve always loved the collaboration. I get off on the unexpected surprises of improvisation and the glorious shattering moments of inspiration that come from playing with other people. Most of all, I always loved the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself. Maybe it comes from growing up and moving around a lot or maybe it just comes from being the kind of person who always spent too much of his life alone. Either way, I never wanted to be a solo artist. Not for one day. Not for one hour. Not ever.

I’ve been lucky too, in my life, because I got to be in some great bands over the course of my life and I finally settled in one that was good enough (and lucky enough) that we’re still here some 18 years after Dave Bryson and Marty Jones (yes, THAT “Jones”) and I first got together to record some demos in Dave’s studio Dancing Dog in the late Spring of 1989. Those demos, recorded just before I left to go backpacking around Europe so I could quit playing music and get on with my life, turned out to be the reason I finally realized I couldn’t ever quit playing music. So I came home from Europe and Marty and Dave and I formed the first incarnation of Counting Crows.

That band recorded some good music but we never played a live show and eventually we all went our separate ways. I sat around for a while, not doing much, in the warehouse Immy and I lived in down by the train tracks on 4th Street in Berkeley until one day Immy came home and handed me a copy of the SF Weekly with an ad circled in the classified section. It was an advertisement for a band looking for a singer.

“Get off your ass and call these guys,” Immy said to me, “The ad’s silly. These guys sound fucking ridiculous. They’re probably the perfect band for you. Anyway, you gotta get of your ass and play some music.”

So I called and they said they’d pretty much already decided on a singer but they invited me to audition the next night anyway. I drove over to San Francisco figuring it was a waste of a trip but, what the hell?

I met the guys and they were all pretty cool. Dave Janusko played bass, Dan Jewett played guitar, and Chris Roldan played drums. They asked if I wanted to try some covers or something but I just said play one of your songs and let’s see how it goes. So they started playing and I started singing.

…..and it was magic. I’d never played music like this before. It was way different from anything I could ever have written. But it was perfect. Words just came out of me. Thankfully they were taping the audition because I think we wrote most of three or four of our first songs right there during the audition. It was like I’d been playing these songs forever. We played for about forty minutes and stopped. And then we all just stood standing there in a circle, sweating and staring at each other in that tiny basement rehearsal space. I don’t exactly remember what happened next but I think someone just said, “…Uhhh…you’re in the band.”

And The Himalayans was born.

It was probably the greatest period of musical productivity of my entire life. I was still occasionally playing open mikes and acoustic shows with Dave Bryson as Counting Crows, and, a little while after that, I also started doing all the harmonies for and playing with Sordid Humor too.

But the center of it all for me was The Himalayans. It was entirely liberating for me because I didn’t have to write any of the music. They just created this insane funky, acidic, psychedelic swirl underneath me and I just sang over the top of it. I wasn’t in charge and I didn’t have any more responsibilities than anybody else did. They just played and I just sang and then we went and ate at Mi Mazatlan, the little Salvadoran restaurant on the corner by our tiny Mission District underground rehearsal space. . .

(read the rest via Adam’s MySpace blog)

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  • thank you for the post. The new album should be out this fall.

    Anonymous — March 9, 2007 @ 11:04 am

  • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who’s been a little frustrated with Counting Crows recently. Adam Duritz is a brilliant songwriter–his lyrics are almost literary at times, with the way he uses recurring themes and metaphors. I’ve always been fascinated by the way he writes about sleeplessness and restlessness.

    That said, I agree that some of their recent songs have been a bit boring. Hard Candy felt like it had some fluff tracks on it, and I haven’t really kept up with them much since then. Their new album may be their one last chance for me.

    For probably obvious reasons, I’ve always hated the song “Maggie Mae,” but I adore their cover of it.

    Maggie — March 9, 2007 @ 11:34 am

  • Looking forward to listening to this. I’ve always been a fan, even recently, but I’m a bit boring myself I suppose.

    Stephen K. — March 9, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  • I’m also glad to know I’m not the only CC fan who’s been yearning for the good ol’ days. I’m looking forward to the new release. Thanks for the post, this was really interesting.

    Lisa — March 10, 2007 @ 10:07 am

  • anyone who thinks Hard Candy is boring is missing the point completely. It’s one of their most exciting albums in years.

    Anonymous — March 10, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

  • I love, love, love Hard Candy, for what it’s worth. Front to back, with maybe just one or two tracks I sometimes skip over, but it’s been living in my car on repeat this last month.

    heather — March 10, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

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