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Counting Crows, Maroon 5 tour stems from mutual admiration

As Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz tells it, the spirit of the Maroon 5/Counting Crows co-headlining tour is found simply in the music.

There are no teleprompters or weak performances; it's all about the strength of real musicians, he said. That's one important reason why the two bands agreed to tour with each other again.

"My band and I were going out in the audience to watch them play, and two songs into it we were looking at each other and going, 'Oh--they can really play,'" Duritz said about a jaunt his band did with Maroon 5 and John Mayer about five years ago. Duritz and Levine were speaking during a recent teleconference with reporters.

"You never know nowadays," Duritz said. "It's so easy to fake it in the studios. And there are a lot of bands [where] you see them on some TV show [and] you realize they can't play. Everybody here tonight is a musician.... Everybody here tonight can play music. And that's kind of the spirit of this tour is that it's for real. It's a great thing."

The two bands hooked up again after Counting Crows' management recommended the jaunt. Maroon 5 is touring in support of the album "It Won't Be Soon Before Long," which entered The Billboard 200 album chart at No. 1, while Counting Crows are pushing "Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings."

"We haven't seen much of each other the last few years but we like each other's music, which is a good thing because when you're on tour all summer, it's nice to be able to see some music you like and hear some music you like," Duritz said. "That's kind of cool. Also, I think the great thing about co-headlining is that you get a one-plus-one-equals-10 situation because people are hesitant to spend their money nowadays. There's not a lot of it out there."

The two bands hit the road July 25, with Sara Bareilles opening through Aug. 26 and Augustana taking over that slot Aug. 28 through Oct. 4. Duritz described the tour as a lot of bang for the buck.

"People are losing a lot of money and when you get a chance to spend it [on] a summer day and you could see Sara Bareilles and Counting Crows and then Maroon 5--or I could see Augustana and then Maroon 5 and then Counting Crows, one day--that seems like, 'Wow, that's a full day.' I think a lot of people--maybe more than just the people who would go to see one of our bands or not--who go to a concert will choose to go to that concert. It just seems like you're really providing a full afternoon or evening for someone."

That includes Counting Crows fan Levine, who said he enjoys the band's no-nonsense approach to music.

"I remember [when Counting Crows'] first record came out, I was pretty amazed," Levine said. "It didn't sound like anything that was out at the time. It was kind of a breath of fresh air. It was really organic and ... and simple. And a lot of the stuff that was coming out at the time was really overproduced and kind of over the top and this seemed like a really nice breath of fresh air and it has been ever since then. I'm a fan."

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