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Independent online marketing & ‘Underwater Sunshine’

A few years ago, Counting Crows kind of stunned everyone by walking away from Geffen and announcing they were an independent band. Whether this was prompted by a perceived underperformance of the superb ‘Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings’ or a wider dissatisfaction with the music business is unclear. But band leader Adam Duritz’s impassioned talk on interconnectedness, marketing and audience interaction at a recent technology event confirmed that he really, really gets the brave new world of digital independent music. I was intrigued to see what they’d do with their next album, a set of covers called ‘Underwater Sunshine‘ due for release on 10 April. What new and exciting things were the band going to do to take advantage of their newly indy freedom and push their first indy release? Stop Press: I’ve heard it, this is a great record by a great band and I want it to succeed more than I can say. That said, I’m about to criticise their online strategy, and writing a blog criticising my favourite band, even though my critique comes from love and passionate regard, leads me to worry that I might be being a dick, I certainly hope not, but here goes… if by any chance you’re reading this Adam, this is me trying to help, not tear you down in any way shape or form. Things started well, when they ran a competition to crowdsource the cover art. This generated buzz and, perhaps surprisingly, a really good cover. Today it seems they’re rolling out the next stage of their campaign, with the whole album being streamed in its entirety on...

Announcing ‘Target: Hitler!’

Last summer I was lucky enough to do some writing for the forthcoming computer game Sniper Elite V2. Basically this meant doing some plotting, developing the narrative and scripting a bunch of cut-scenes and voiceovers. It was loads of fun and has now led to this press release, hot and shiny from the, um, press of my old buddies at Abaddon books: Everyone knows the story of Adolf Hitler’s final days — cornered, insane, killing himself in despair as Berlin burned above him. But this story is based solely on the eyewitness accounts of the people who shared the bunker with him—the people most loyal to the Führer; the people most likely to lie to protect him. The world’s foremost Nazi hunter has never believed the official account; he has spent his life chasing a phantom, convinced that Hitler escaped the bunker. Now, as he lies on his deathbed, he receives a mysterious visitor; a man who claims to know the true story of Hitler’s death; a man named Karl Fairburn. Is he just another conspiracy fantasist, or could his tale possibly be true…? With the release of the hotly anticipated third-person World War Two shooter Sniper Elite V2 just two months away, Rebellion is to publish a special tie-in ebook. Sniper Elite V2: Target Hitler is an exclusive ebook novella from Rebellion’s publishing imprint Abaddon Books. Written by novelist and the Sniper Elite V2 game writer Scott K. Andrews, the thrilling book ties into the game’s pre-order downloadable content offer, in which players have one chance to kill the leader of the Third Reich before he escapes the...
From the archives: Counting Crows

From the archives: Counting Crows

Here’s a piece I’ve dredged up from the archives – early 2004, to be precise. At the time I was working for the BBC’s Top of the Pops website, which occasionally involved interviewing guests who had come to the studio to play on that week’s show. The highlight was when I got to have a sit down with Adam Duritz, the man behind what I would probably nominate as my favourite band, Counting Crows. Here’s the interview, from April 2004, conducted in a dresssing room in TVC before their performance – and yes, you could see me on the broadcast, right at the front, singing along and dancing like a mad thing 🙂 How’s your new drummer Jim Bogios settling in and how has the departure of Ben Mize affected the band? Adam: It’s worked out great. It meant we had less vacation time because we had to do all the rehearsals but Jim’s really great – great drummer, great guy. We’ve all known him for a long time too, so he fits right in. It wasn’t like he was a new guy coming in. I’ve been friends with Jim for years, Immy [David Immergluck, Counting Crows guitarist] used to play in a band with Jim, and I know him through Sheryl [Crow] too. So it’s going real well. I mean, you miss Ben because you miss Ben, because you spent nine years together and every once in a while I find myself looking for him to tell him something, but I just have to call him. I did a radio show in Dublin the other day, DJing for...