Counting Crows Take Flight Again

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For Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz, making the music wasn't the most difficult part of the group's new album "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings." In fact, the band recorded it in mere weeks, its fastest time ever. But Duritz's battle to maintain his mental health postponed the release of the group's fifth studio album and delayed touring.

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"I was drifting towards being not functioning, in a very negative way," Duritz said of his dissociative disorder. "You just become more and more distant."

While Duritz, 43, loves performing for fans – in part because being around them helps him with his illness – touring takes a toll on him.

"I love playing gigs," he said. "I don't like touring. I tour because we have to tour — because it's magic."

But the competing demands have given him trouble before with the media, which he said misunderstood his condition. "It's very hard for me to tour because of this illness," said Duritz, who has been dealing with the illness for much of his life.

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While many people might welcome the chance to travel, Duritz said the constant moving around makes it harder for him to ward off his illness, which generally affects memory, awareness, identity and perception.

The California native — known for his signature dreadlocks and scruffy beard — likes to be around people, friends and family, but touring often has him alone in hotel rooms for many nights of the year.

Waking Up on Saturdays and Sundays

From his struggle to balance the demands came the first part of the new album, "Saturday Nights."

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"I reached my lowest low," Duritz said.

As the five-year New York City resident began to feel better and get healthy, he envisioned a companion piece, "Sunday Morning."

"I was doing a little better. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Duritz, who along with his bandmates recorded some of the album in his New York City apartment six blocks away from the studio.

But the Crows' album isn't a record of redemption and recovery.

"Sunday Mornings isn't about being better," Duritz said. It's really about when a person has wrecked his life for so long and doesn't know how to fix it, but wants to do so."

As with all the songs he writes, Duritz's tunes on the record are all about him, but it has nothing to do with hubris or an intense need for introspection.

"I'm the only one living here with me," he said. "I don't know what else to write about. They're all about how I feel about being me. I don't know too much about anybody else."

Duritz has penned songs about friends and former loves, but never about a concept.

"I could never write a protest song," Duritz said. For him, he said, feelings produce songs and then concepts; concepts don't produce songs.

A Band of Brothers

Duritz's journey with the Crows is nearly two decades long. The band, which includes David Immerglück, David Bryson, Jim Bogios, Charles Gillingham, Millard Powers and Dan Vickrey, has been together for 18 years.

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