Re-Revisiting Creedence, Part Three

Continued from Part Two

Bill Kopp: With Creedence Clearwater Revisited, you and Stu Cook and the guys pretty much run through all of the hits. You’ve been playing those songs hundreds of times a year for well more than forty years. And you look and sound like you’re having a ball, not merely going through the motions. What keeps it fresh for you?

Doug “Cosmo” Clifford: Well, it really wasn’t forty years. Because we had a 25 year break! Unlike The Beach Boys, who have been playing the same songs since 1962.

Good music doesn’t get old. Especially something that you put your heart and soul into, something that was a childhood dream come to fruition. We look out at the fans and think, “My gosh, there are kids out there!” We have more young fans than we have fans of, shall we say, the older generation. That fan base keeps growing, and it’s a wondrous thing for me.

BK: This is a bit of a pretentious kind of question, so I hope you’ll forgive me for asking it. Where do you see CCR fitting into the history of rock and popular music? What, to you, is the band’s legacy from a musical standpoint?

DC: I think that we were the best garage band in the world.

We came out at a time in which we were really oddballs. Our musical style…certainly in the San Francisco scene, we never really belonged there. But we dominated both AM and FM radio. Our peers called us the boy scouts of rock’n’roll and laughed at us. But I talked to those guys years later, and the guys in The Grateful Dead said they hated us: “We wanted a hit single so bad, but we never got one. And you guys were just popping ’em out, popping ’em out.” So they called us sellouts, a Top 40 band.

We had a work ethic; we were straight and sober, whether it was a show in Madison Square Garden or a daily jam. It was a pact we made at the Fillmore, after seeing one of the local bands. They were so high, they weren’t even in tune. And after the show, they were giving each other high-fives: “Man, we’ve never sounded better!” And we agreed we were never gonna do that.

BK: Not Moby Grape, I hope…

DC: No. We loved them! We never had that feeling about those guys. We saw them whenever we could. But three bucks was a lot when we were broke. Either that, or we were working somewhere. But when we had an opportunity to see Moby Grape, we took that opportunity. I think they were one of the most underrated bands; it’s a shame they had such a short life.

BK: You and Stu have been best friends since childhood; you’re arguably one of the longest-running rhythms section in all of rock’n’roll. To what do you attribute your ability, your desire to keep making music together after all these years?

DC: It’s a part of our lives. Stu is like a brother; closer, even than a brother. We are exact opposites. So much for astrology, because we were born 30 miles apart, in less than ten hours apart. But we’re opposites, and I think that’s why it works. The classic Yin and Yang. We’ve been through so much, and we’ve always been the underdogs. I usually root for the underdogs; it keeps that fire in the belly.

BK: Any final thoughts on this new Box Set package?

DC: What I would say to anyone considering buying this set, if you really want to hear the evolution of a group from a very early age, and be able to listen to the growth of the band, paced over a ten-year period, it’s interesting. You can hear the improvements. And even coupled with the disappointments, we kept going. We weren’t going to give up. There were times we came close: Stu and I were going to leave and go to college. And Tom’s wife was having fits with him being in the band. And then we saw The Beatles. And that was a shot in the arm for us. Because if four guys from Liverpool could come out with the same setup – bass, rhythm, lead and drums – then shame on us for thinking that we can’t.

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