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A cultivated conversation with Counting Crows

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Counting Crows

Get ready for the Saturday Night Rebel Rockers Traveling Circus & Medicine Show… on a Friday night. Michael Franti & Spearhead and Augustana join Counting Crows onstage poolside at the Red Rock Casino for a multiband performance evocative of the Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review. Counting Crow’s guitarist David “Immy” Immerglück chats about the tour with some of the best vocabulary we’ve ever encountered in an interview. (If you have trouble with any of Immy’s $10 vocab, consult the definitions below.)

How did the Traveling Circus & Medicine Show come about?

It’s sort of been an idea that’s been gestating(1) for a long time actually. Last summer, we were on tour and at the end of the tour, our keyboard player Charlie [Gillingham] and one of our guitar players David [Bryson] both had babies at the same time and left about two weeks early. We still had to finish the tour, so we incorporated the opening band, Augustana, and having them play on our songs and do a bunch of weird covers and stuff. It went really well so the idea germinated(2) from there and it’s turned into something much bigger.

The biggest fear was that people weren’t going to show up at the beginning, because we’re all on stage at the beginning and we do Counting Crows songs right at the top, so show up on time.

Did you have to intensely rehearse with the other bands before the tour?

We’ve rehearsed more than we’ve ever rehearsed before—not that you would know it from the complete shambolic(3), fantastic thing going on onstage. It’s hard to have that many people playing at the same time. You really have to start working things out… Counting Crows are famous for never rehearsing. It was very strange for us.

The Details

Saturday Night Rebel Rockers Traveling Circus and Medicine Show
July 24, 8:00 p.m.
$71.50, 21+
Red Rock Pool, 866-767-7773

With a band that’s been around over a decade and had mucho success, how did you decide what songs to play on this tour and how much did you coordinate with the other groups on that?

There are only certain songs that really work with other people playing on them in the Counting Crows canon(4). We’ve checked out the other bands’ material fairly heavily to see what we might want to play on, what they might be interested in us playing on, all that. That being said, Counting Crows—I can’t speak for the other bands—but Counting Crows, we change our set every night and we’re still changing it, even in this format.

Any songs that are your particular favorites or ones you’re absolutely tired of?

I’m not really tired of any song, strangely. People ask, “Are you tired of playing ‘Mr. Jones’?” There’s certain songs we almost always play and those are “Mr. Jones” and “A Long December.” I just have not gotten sick of playing those songs. They’re good songs, they’re fun to play, people love them. What’s not to love? So we enjoy that.

What fascinates me, songs that fall by the wayside, all of a sudden we throw it back in the set; haven’t played it in two years and then “Oh my God. I love this!” There’s a song, “Goodnight L.A.,” from Hard Candy that we just started playing again. There’s another song from Hard Candy called “Why Should You Come When I Call?” which we never played live until this format. Now, I’m wondering why we never played it because it’s so fun to play.

So, you’re playing poolside in Vegas in the heat of the summer. How are you preparing for the high desert temps?

I thought we were playing inside in Vegas, but I’m finding out from you that we’re not. I’m afraid. I’m very afraid. But luckily, it’ll be at night.

With the band ending an 18-year relationship with Geffen Records to release music independently, what’s the next project we can expect from Counting Crows when the tour is over?

The latest thing I believe is coming out for Christmas—and I can’t guarantee this because Counting Crows’ calendar is more like an insect calendar that operates on a different timeline than the real world—but I understand we’re releasing a DVD of our performance we did of August and Everything After about a year and a half ago at Town Hall in New York. I’m hoping that it does come out before Christmas because I’m very proud of it. It came out really, really good. We’ve tried to make DVDs before unsuccessfully, but this one came out really, really good.

1 To think of and develop (an idea, opinion, plan, etc.) slowly in the mind

2 To cause to come into existence; create

3 Disorderly or chaotic (chiefly British slang)

4 A group of works that are generally accepted as representing a field

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