Revisit Creedence Clearwater Revisited

As original members of Creedence Clearwater Revivial, Stu Cook and Doug ‘Cosmo’ Clifford can be heard on some of music’s most recognizable songs of the past 50 years, including Down On The Corner, Up Around The Bend and Who’ll Stop The Rain.

In 1972, however, the original lineup of CCR acrimoniously went their separate ways, never to formally reform with all four original members prior to the untimely passing of rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty in 1990. After CCR disbanded, both Stu and Cosmo went on to indulge in other music ventures including songwriting and production.

The lure of the stage was just too much to resist, however.

In 1995, Cook and Clifford, along with The Cars’ Elliot Easton started playing their CCR hits under the moniker of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, a project to honor their former band that was originally intended to play nothing more than private functions. But as the band’s profile increased, combined with former CCR front man John Fogerty’s former hesitancy to play CCR hits in his live shows, they found the demand to hear their old songs was too overwhelming to ignore.

Stu says that Creedence Clearwater Revisited has lived by a relatively simple credo: let the fans decide whether or not the group should continue playing shows.

“If people didn’t act on their instincts and pursue their goals and dreams because somebody may be objecting to it, that is no way to live,” Stu says. “Frankly, there are no rules in rock’n’roll so we weren’t about to live by somebody else’s when it came to playing the old CCR hits. As long as the fans liked it, that was good enough for us. We let them make the decision for us. We would have stopped playing if people had not responded to what we were doing. Happily though, people liked what we were doing.”

Stu’s bandmate Cosmo admits that both of them were initially cautious about launching a musical project that could be construed as a CCR reunion. To ensure that fans knew that this wasn’t a full-fledged band reunion, they felt it important to differentiate what they were doing by opting to name their band Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

“Between Stu and I, we own 50 per cent of the original CCR name; Tom’s widow made it 75 per cent,” Cosmo says. “At the time, John (Fogerty) wasn’t doing any CCR songs in concert and didn’t want anything to do with it. We had the right to call the band Creedence Clearwater Revival but opted not to do so.”

Indeed, the rift between John Fogerty and his former bandmates isn’t likely to be smoothed over anytime soon. When CCR was inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, neither Stu nor Cosmo was invited to take part in the induction, excluded by the Hall of Fame at John Fogerty’s insistence.

Ironically, Cosmo notes, John Fogerty’s lingering bitterness at their old record label and its owner Saul Zaentz stems from business deals and contracts that John himself signed on behalf of the band.

“John assumed that since he had songwriting talent, which there is no denying, that it also transferred into business acumen and that wasn’t the case,” he says. “He didn’t know what he was doing and I think he realizes that now and is bitter about it.

“I am way past it, though. I am just fortunate to be making music with a great group of guys. We have fun out there; life is good!”

Asked what kind of crowds that Creedence Clearwater Revisited is attracting to their shows, Cosmo says that it is common to see a wide range of ages in their crowds.

“It is not uncommon to see three generations of fans out at our shows. It really is one of the most amazing parts of this project, the span of ages of the fans that come out to the shows.

“The fans like it. They have a hard time sitting still and I think that is the beauty of it. Every song we play is a hit; there is no filler in the show at all.”

“Being on stage really is the best part of music,” Stu says. “We have the opportunity to have magical bonding experience with the audience night after night. That is what I enjoy about playing now.”

Article is published in June 8, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript