Though he’s only been open about it to the public since 2008, for almost all of his life Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz has lived with a dissociative disorder, a mental illness that affects one’s perception of the world around him. “It makes you look at your life from a distance,” says Duritz from his longtime home in Greenwich Village. “You’re sitting in the back of your head looking out through two holes in your skull. It can often feel like the life in front of you — instead of just being a room in front of you — is a movie of the room being projected on your eyes.”
One of the unfortunate artifacts of the dissociation is that Duritz can’t always retain things very well. “I forget how to play piano,” he confesses. “I’ve never become a great piano player at all, and part of that is because I have to teach myself all over again every time I start up again because I cannot play at all. I can’t remember how to do it. There’s no facility there.”
Such was the case in August of 2019 when Duritz took a trip to a friend’s remote farm located in the west of England and — inspired by the extended walks he would take through the surrounding hill, dale and forests — began work on a song called “The Tall Grass.” “I think ‘Tall Grass’ is so simple to begin with musically. It’s almost dirge-like in some ways because that’s about as much as I could play,” he admits. “As I got some facility, the latter half of the song gets much more melodic.”
“The Tall Grass” now serves as the opening track to Butter Miracle, Suite One, a new four-song EP that, as its title implies, is meant to be listened to as a single musical suite and is the first of two EPs that will eventually be combined into the Counting Crows’ first full-length album since 2014.
Ahead of Butter Miracle’s release this week, Duritz discussed Butter Miracle’s writing and connective tissue, the longevity of his career, and how memories are like trains.