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07 Mar 2016

Playing the Hits: Creedence Clearwater Revisited Continues to Gain Fans With Classic Songs

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Creedence Clearwater Revisited Creedence Clearwater Revisited Jeff Dow

In the late ’60s, Creedence Clearwater Revival jolted the rock ’n’ roll world. With a hard-blues sound and vocalist John Fogerty’s powerful voice, the band went on to record music over a five-year period that has stood the test of time.

However, by 1972, it was all over.

Some 23 years later, the band would enjoy a rebirth, of sorts, when bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited, in 1995. The current lineup also includes vocalist John “Bulldog” Tristao—whose vocals are just as strong as Fogerty’s—as well as lead guitarist Kurt Griffey, and guitarist Steve “The Captain” Gunner.

The band will be performing at the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs on Friday, March 18.

During a recent phone interview, Stu Cook talked about the reunion.

“We were originally interested in just playing some private or corporate shows,” Cook said. “It didn’t work out that way, and we ended up playing in public. It hasn’t stopped ever since. We eventually got to doing those corporate shows, but not until much later.”

Creedence Clearwater Revisited shows are often attended by a surprising number of young people, many of whom know Creedence’s material going back to the ’60s.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it? I think it’s a lot of things,” Cook said. “We always had a broad audience, and we had to joke among ourselves that the audience was 8 to 80 years old. We cut across every social demographic there is in terms of education, and it’s pretty amazing. The young people, I would attribute to classic-rock radio, and people passing it on to their kids, their brothers and their sisters.

One thing in the band’s favor is its appearance on countless soundtracks. The Forrest Gump soundtrack in 1994 included the Creedence song “Fortunate Son”—and went on to sell 12 million copies. The band’s music has appeared in comedies, dramas, war films and history-related films and documentaries.

“If you like movies, music goes well with movies. You’ll probably find Creedence in movies,” Cook said. “We’ve been in a lot of them. The most successful was Forrest Gump. There have been a lot of other ones. The Big Lebowski is one where we had two songs (featured in the movie), and we’re actually in the script where the cops ask Jeff Bridges about his car getting stolen. It’s amazing, and we’ve been so blessed when writers and artists incorporate us into their work. It’s a real honor.”

Cook said he enjoys seeing the eyes of audience members light up when the band performs.

“I don’t have a preference, but I like ‘Down on the Corner,’ and ‘Born on the Bayou’ is good,” he said. “It’s fun to play them all, but it’s fun to watch the audience reaction when we’re playing them. We can’t see much with the light in our eyes, but we can see back half a dozen rows, and it’s always interesting when people recognize another song.”

Creedence Clearwater Revisited, after 21 years, has not recorded any new material, and the members currently have no plans to record again.

“We’re a live-band performance project, and that was the idea from the beginning,” Cook said. “We have a double live album out, and it went platinum. It captures the state of the show back in 1996, and we don’t feel it’s a good idea to add songs to this catalog. The live band is what we’re trying to focus the fans’ attention on.”

Retirement isn’t in the current equation, either.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if that popped up someday down the road,” Cook said. “Life is short, and there’s far more behind me than there is in front of me. I’m thinking of that at some point, but as long as we’re physically able to tour, and we’re still having fun playing and delivering the music at a high level, we’ll keep on doing it. We have no plans to retire at this point. It’s too much fun!”

However, Cook said he knows what he’d be doing if he were to retire.

“More scuba-diving, more golf, more paddleboarding, more kayaking and more travel,” he said. “I’m a pretty active guy, and there’s a lot of stuff that has to wait while I’m touring. I’d do more of the things that’d have to wait.”

Cook said the music industry has changed a lot since he started—and not necessarily in good ways.

“I think the thing that’s changed the most, and for the worst, is that people don’t feel it’s necessary to pay for music,” he said. “That’s how people make their living, and it’s taking food off the table. If you hear a song that you like, can you not afford 99 cents? Where else can you get something you really like for 99 cents, and you get to keep it forever. It’s crazy that people think intellectual property can be passed around like a warm can of beer.”

Creedence Clearwater Revisited will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, March 18, outdoors at the Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Road, in downtown Palm Springs. Tickets are $40 to $50. For tickets or more information, call 888-999-1995, or visit www.sparesortcasino.com.

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