Update 2016/08/09 Adam Duritz Admits Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby is about Monica Potter, but it’s not what you think

So, apparently all these years laters, Adam Duritz has finally admitted to how he wrote the song Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby. According to an interview he did for browardpalmbeach.com, he admitted he wrote the song about a person who falls in love with an idealized version of someone and not who they actually are. In this particular case, the character falls in love with an actress on a screen, Monica Potter.

The twist: Duritz hadn’t yet met Monica Potter.

Apparently Ms. Potter got wind that Duritz wrote a song about her and through their agents requested a dinner meeting to ask him about it. He was in the middle of recording the song yet agreed. After dinner she came out to the studio that night to hear it, and then some dating happened, and then her insight led to the way the studio cut of the song is the one you hear on This Desert Life.

Then life imitated art because they stopped dating. I left out some details because you should go to the article and read the full story. It’s pretty cool.

Here’s how this one spills out

  1. My gibberish back when I was more “journaling”
  2. The lyrics to Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby
  3. The video on YouTube
  4. The Album This Desert Life on Spotify

The inspired-ish journal entry

I wanted to wake up before mid-afternoon ’cause that’s when it’ll hurt the most (- Duritz-ish).

And I blame Facebook.

It started early in the week when my buddy, Tat, posted a few lines to an old(er) song as his update:

I dream I never know anyone at the party and I’m always the host.

The line flipped around between my ears like fragments from a dream, then turned into a film about my ghost (-Duritz-ish).

Knowing I couldn’t escape, I moved south down the coast of thoughts til the rest of the film played in my head (- Duritz-ish).

A long 7 seconds, indeed. But at the end, I remembered the title: “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby,” by Counting Crows. From the 2000 album This Desert Life.

I never claimed to like Counting Crows.

Still don’t. Spending college and everything after addicted to blues and jam bands, I had trouble appreciating the Crows’ craftsmanship. ‘Always thought they could do infinitely more with 34 guitarists standing on stage and one guy who thought he didn’t have to sing his lyrics because Dylan didn’t. Bob, not Thomas.

But eventually, I accepted them as folk and they crept into my consciousness. Especially when I realized my dreams of bumming out in Spain (coast side) and fantasizing about Picasso’s old guitarist were shared with lead singer / songwriter Adam Duritz. And he’s probably done it now. Many, many times. I wonder if Mr. Jones snuck into my thoughts without me ever realizing it. God knows any friend I ever played guitar wanted to play that jam. Except Gag – I thank you for the break.

He’s just an idiot walking a tightrope between fortune and fame (Duritz). The lazy fat f*ck. Duritz, no Gag.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

About 17 seconds in I wrote back to Tat the line line about the dreams being like movies and before you knew it I’m off on Grooveshark playing the song again, and again, and again. And I posted the song on Facebook.

That’s when an colleague commented her fervor to not only learn to play guitar but to play “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby.” A quick search on Ultimate Guitar revealed all 4 chords involved and a little ditty involving the “A” chord. And a Capo. I hate Capos. Now I remember why I didn’t learn this song a decade ago.

But with all 4 chords and little “A” ditty, I already knew the song. It’s the lyrics that rival “American Pie,” in length that she’ll…we’ll have to remember.

Though I was a little pensive in saying “yes,” to teaching her this song. Extremely pensive.

When Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby came out, I felt a kinship to it. Like how the haunted is connected to their ghost. All the crazy late nights at the casino boat along the lake, the random road trips and the many concerts, waiting for Mrs. Potter to talk to me while trying to outrun her essence in case it all fell apart.

The price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings – Duritz

“But can one change destiny?”

I really think the legendary TV show, “Dr. Who,” has it right about life when the Doctor discusses time. He says that some moments in time are fixed and never can be changed whereas other moments are flexible and can be rewritten. I felt, when trying to get my Mrs. Potter’s attention, that that moment in time was flexible. I could change that. Whereas when I stopped playing guitar, time called me back.

Like last week my buddy from Atlanta scheduled time so we could play. And my finger strength is coming back around – like it was sleeping, resting, waiting. And now that Tat informed said colleague that I’m “really good” or something, the tingle that runs up and down my spine every time I see a guitar is back.

It helps keep me going.

As I write this, the colleague chatted at me, saying she’s listening to the song. And I’m sure Tat is too as he addresses the painful leak in his newly-remodeled kitchen. The pains of domestication.

I’m listening to Mrs. Potters’ Lullaby right now, too.

[2016/08/09 update] Recalling the days of yores and realizing how freakishly life can imitated art and vice versa. And that, if you continue how true you stay to yourself, that no matter how far off the the path you feel your Odyssey, if you hold on, you’ll get steered home.

It’s about time to pull Mrs. Potter down of that movie screen and get the Book of Blues prequel written.

[2016/08/09 Update] Even if it’s 8 years later.

Lyrics to Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby by Counting Crows – written by Adam Duritz

Well I woke in mid-afternoon cause that’s when it all hurts the most
I dream I never know anyone at the party and I’m always the host
If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts
You can never escape, you can only move south down the coast

Well, I am an idiot walking a tightrope of fortune and fame
I am an acrobat swinging trapezes through circles of flame
If you’ve never stared off in the distance, then your life is a shame
and though I’ll never forget your face,
sometimes i can’t remember my name

Hey Mrs. Potter don’t cry
Hey Mrs. Potter I know why but
Hey Mrs. Potter won’t you talk to me

Well, there’s a piece of Maria in every song that I sing
And the price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings
And there is always one last light to turn out and one last bell to ring
And the last one out of the circus has to lock up everything

Or the elephants will get out and forget to remember what you said
And the ghosts of the tilt-a-whirl will linger inside your head
And the ferris wheel junkies will spin there forever instead
When I see you a blanket of stars covers me in my bed


Hey Mrs. Potter don’t go
Hey Mrs. Potter I don’t know but
Hey Mrs. Potter won’t you talk to me

All the blue light reflections that color my mind when I sleep
And the lovesick rejections that accompany the company I keep
All the razor perceptions that cut just a little too deep
Hey I can bleed as well as anyone, but I need someone to help me sleep

So I throw my hand into the air and it swims in the beams
It’s just a brief interruption of the swirling dust sparkle jet stream
Well, I know I don’t know you and you’re probably not what you seem
But I’d sure like to find out
So why don’t you climb down off that movie screen

Hey Mrs. Potter don’t turn
Hey Mrs. Potter I burn for you
Hey Mrs. Potter won’t you talk to me

When the last king of Hollywood shatters his glass on the floor
and orders another
Well, I wonder what he did that for
That’s when I know that I have to get out cause I have been there before
So I gave up my seat at the bar and I head for the door

We drove out to the desert just to lie down beneath this bowl of stars
We stand up in the palace like it’s the last of the great pioneer town bars
We shout out these songs against the clang of electric guitars
You can see a million miles tonight
But you can’t get very far
Oh, you can see a million miles tonight
But you can’t get very far

Hey Mrs. Potter I won’t touch
Hey Mrs. Potter it’s not much but
Hey Mrs. Potter won’t you talk to me

The music video for Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby

This Desert Life on Spotify

And, an apology to all the Mrs. Potter’s out there hoping the song was written for them and not Monica

Feature Image photo credit: Wikimedia.org

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