Interviews anglais


Version française

Few weeks before the show of Novembre 13th at Bataclan, mainman Adam Duritz answers our questions about the new release “Somewhere Under Wonderland”.

Hi Adam how are you?

Adam Duritz (vocals): Today I have a hangover and I’m a bit tired. Other than that I feel pretty good and, anyway, I had a lot of fun last night so I deserve the way I feel today.

So you’re back with a brand new record, the first since 2008’s “Saturday Nights & Saturday Mornings”. How are the first feedbacks since its release?

A: It’s not the first album since 2008. We made “Underwater Sunshine” just a couple years ago and that was a really important album for us. I think two things hugely influenced “Somewhere Under Wonderland”, both for myself and for the band and one of those was “Underwater Sunshine”. Working on an entire album of other people’s songs was like collaborating with 10-15 people who weren’t actually there. They all look at the world in different ways and, in doing that, find different ways to translate what they see into songs. It seems like an obvious thing but it sunk in deeper after spending all that time taking their work and making it our own. Working on an album of other people’s songs made me realize what a waste it is to spend your entire career only focused on one person’s material – even in my case where that person is ME.

The other thing for me was working on the theatre piece “Black Sun”. It was the first time in my life I ever wrote for people other than myself. It was the first time I ever wrote for other voices. It was the first time I ever wrote for women’s voices. Most importantly, it was the first time I realized that I could put just as much of my own feeling and emotion into a song that wasn’t based on a story from my own life.

I just think “Somewhere Under Wonderland” is very much the child of “Black Sun” and “Underwater Sunshine” and would not exist without both of them.

The feedback for the album is really good. But I don’t know how much importance anyone should attach to that. I just think sometimes the culture is in the mood to love you and sometimes it’s not and they review your albums accordingly.

I have noticed that my friends and especially fellow musicians really seem to love THIS record though and that means a lot to ME.


The title “Somewhere Under Wonderland” refers to Lewis Caroll’s Alice In Wonderland. What’s the story behind it?

A: No, it actually doesn’t refer to Alice In Wonderland. I was talking about Wonderland Avenue in Hollywood. I lived in a cottage in Laurel Canyon when I first moved to Hollywood – on Lookout Mountain, just below the intersection of Lookout and Wonderland Ave.

What about the artwork, tell us about its story.

A: I’ve been a fan of Felipe Molina for about 20 years now. When I made some money for the first time in my life, the only things I really spent it on were books, movies, music, and art. I was wandering around Soho while touring the first album and I stumbled into a gallery showing Felipe’s paintings. I was blown away. I had never bought any art in my life before that day but, as I stood there staring at these incredible paintings, I decided I was going to.

We used one of his paintings – “Eject II” – as the cover for a live album a few years ago but I have always wanted to use “Nino Talentoso”. It hangs in my piano room so it probably had a huge effect on me over the years. When we finished this album, I felt it was finally the perfect time to use this painting. The idea for Felipe to create or attach a different painting for every song on the album came about very naturally after that and I truly love how it all turned out. He’s a genius.


It’s your seventh album, more than twenty years after the first one, nothing left to prove really. After all these years, where do you found your inspiration and your energy to keep writing new stuff, especially for this new one?

A: I’m not sure we ever felt we had anything to prove. We always just wanted to make the records we were inspired to make without any outside interference coming in to dilute that process. The nice thing is that we’ve been able to do that for more than 20 years now. Being stubborn turned out to be one of the most important qualities for survival in the music business and we had that in spades.

I think the inspiration for this album came from the same places as the inspirations for every other album: it’s all yesterday and today. You live your life and you make music about how you feel. We’re ALL always changing – just like everyone else – so there are always more yesterdays and todays to inspire us into tomorrow.


How was the recording & writing process this time, compared to the previous records?

A: The writing for “Somewhere Under Wonderland” was almost all done in the Fall of last year. Immy, Dan, and Millard would come camp out at my place in Greenwich Village for about a week every month and we just bounced ideas around until they turned into songs. It was incredibly productive working that way.

The recording took place over a few weeks in December and a few more in February and it was much the same as every other record. The only real difference was that we worked a lot faster this time around but that probably had more to do with the fact that, having written the songs together, four of us came INTO the sessions with a much deeper understanding of the songs than we normally would have. That made it a lot easier to teach them to everyone else.

The CD begins with “Palissades Park” an eight minute long track. In general, we skip the first song because we know we’ll listen to it but with “Palisades Park”, you can’t. Do you consider this song as a challenge to begin the record, as a way to break the codes?

A (shrug): I don’t know. Not really. To be honest, I had no idea people usually skipped the first song on a record. DO they really? That would mean you’d miss “Thunder Road”, “Sonic Reducer”, “Tangled Up In Blue” AND “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on their respective albums. That seems crazy.

I just wanted “Palisades Park” to be the first thing anyone heard from “Somewhere Under Wonderland” so it’s the first thing ON the record AND the first song we released FROM the record.


If you have to choose three songs to define this new album, what would they be?

A: I couldn’t do that. We only wrote nine songs for this record, we recorded the same nine, and we put those nine songs on the final album when it was done. They’re all equally important.

In three words, how would you describe it?

A: Wouldn’t. Even. Try.

You got the talent to produce an universal language. How do you perceive the impact of your music on people who listen to it? With “Somewhere Under Wonderland”, when we listen to the songs, we got many images, memories coming up, a feeling of nostalgia.

A: I don’t know. I honestly don’t think about that much. I’m very concerned with the impact of our music on me and the band but I don’t think much about how other people relate to it. I’m just glad that they do.


As for you, it should be special, particularly for you as you perceive things on a different perspective with your dissociative disorder. A recent study prove that as more as you move forward in life, as more as the music we listened to in our teenage years touches us. On the opposite, as the years go by, new songs we listen to on the radio sound like cacophonic emptiness. What are your thoughts about that?

A: That’s not really true for me. I’m still finding new music I love all the time. That said, I can see how that might not be true for everyone.

Knowing the fact that this new album marks the first one on Capital Records. What is your relationship with this new label and what has changed since then?

A: Well, it’s important to remember that this album was completely finished before we ever signed to Capitol and it’s only for the one record. I’m very pleased with the job the label is doing promoting the record but they didn’t have anything to do with making it. That said, I’ve never seen a label staff with this much intelligence and energy before. From top to bottom, I love their imagination and their attention to detail. If every label was like Capitol, I think the music business would be in much better shape than it’s in.



Website :

Anthony Bé
Fondateur - Rédacteur en chef du webzine RockUrLife