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Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revisited celebrated their 73rd birthdays back in April—but they are still rocking.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited will be stopping by Fantasy Springs on Saturday, June 16.

After Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up in 1972, frontman John Fogerty went solo. Guitarist Thomas Fogerty passed away in 1990, but in 1995, the other two members of Creedence Clearwater Revisited—bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford—decided to reactivate the band under a new name. The band’s lineup now consists of Cook, Clifford, lead guitarist Kurt Griffey, rhythm guitarist Steve Gunner, and lead vocalist Dan McGuinness—the newest member, following the 2016 departure of John Tristao.

During a recent phone interview with Clifford, we discussed the history of Creedence Clearwater Revival—including the performance at Woodstock in 1969.

“Under the circumstances, everyone had the same level playing field. Going on when we went on, in the pitch-black dark of night between 1 and 3 in the morning, I think we did fine,” Clifford said. “We had a long day getting there; travel changed several times. We were doing an Andy Williams television special, and they kept having problems, and we canceled the fight three times. We had one shot at it to be in New York state, and it was our last chance to get there when we did. It was the most historic rock ’n’ roll concert ever. … I was happy to be there and experience it. It was an absolute mind-blower, and Stu hit the nail on the head when he said, ‘It’s not about the bands; it’s about the audience.’ (Audience members) endured tremendous hardships such as the weather, shelter, food and water, and all the basics. Instead of resorting to violence, they all shared with strangers. It made the hair on my arms stand up when we were there.”

Clifford explained why the footage of their performance was not in the Woodstock film.

“That was John Fogerty’s call. We would have loved to have been included, and we had fights over it all these years,” Clifford said. “It’s now finally in bonus tracks on one of the packages they released, but we’re not in the film with our peers. To this day, it rubs me the wrong way, and it’s ridiculous that we weren’t in it.”

After all these years, Clifford said he still loves to tour and perform live.

“I don’t know what I would do without it. We’ve been doing it for so long, and the passion is still there,” he said. “We love what we do. I have two lives. I’m a grandfather, and I have five grandkids, and I love them and love to see them. The other life is I’m a touring musician and encompassed in that. Back in the day when we were touring, we had trips in limos. Now we travel in commercial jets and 15-passenger vans. If a limo shows up now, we send it back. We’re very efficient in what we do, and the reason is because it’s called “show business.” What you do is get the business done. You’ll always have problems here and there, but that’s part of the beauty of life. Jump on it, and be very creative to make sure you finish what you start.”

Clifford said the change in frontmen in 2016 was not as much of a challenge as it could have been.

“We had an understudy for John Tristao, who had been with us for 20 years,” Clifford said. “He did a terrific job, and he had his own personality. We let him be him. He’s a big tattooed biker guy, and he comes off a bit gruff, but it’s a setup, because he’s a big teddy bear. John had some medical issues, and we hope he’s going to be OK. Now we have Dan McGuinness, who is a big guy in his 30s; he’s 6 foot 2 and very handsome and could be in the NFL. He doesn’t have the growl and the swagger, but he does it his own way.

“We say, ‘Don’t imitate Creedence (Clearwater Revival), because we’re not a tribute band; you do what you think needs to be done with the songs.’ We’re here to help them help us have the best show we can have.”

Creedence Clearwater Revisited will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 16, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, in Indio. Tickets are $39 to $59. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Published in Previews

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.

Published in Previews

In the late 1960s and early 1970s. Creedence Clearwater Revival produced what would become legendary rock anthems—and even headlined Woodstock in 1969.

On Friday night, Oct. 17, Creedence Clearwater Revisited—the current incarnation of the band, notably without Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty—stopped by The Show at Agua Caliente, and gave one remarkable performance.

The only Creedence Clearwater Revival member currently playing in Creedence Clearwater Revisited is bassist Stu Cook. The band is fronted by former People! guitarist Johnny “Bulldog” Tristao and includes Steve “The Captain” Gunner on guitar/keyboards/percussion, and World Classic Rockers guitarist Kurt Griffey. CCR drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, a usual member of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, is not participating in the current tour.

The group walked onstage and began to tune their instruments as an intro track played. When the instrumental track stopped, the band got down to business, opening with “Born on the Bayou.” Johnny “Bulldog” Tristao has the same vocal style as John Fogerty—and is just as good on guitar. As a result, the music sounds as if it’s coming from the orginal Creedence Clearwater Revival, with no decrease in quality.

“Green River,” “Lodi” and a rocking performance of “Commotion” followed. Stu Cook then told the audience the band was going to play a song that was true 40 years ago, and is still true today—“Who’ll Stop the Rain,” which John Fogerty has said was inspired by the band’s appearance at Woodstock. During “Suzie Q,” the band decided to extend things a bit by including a jam with Griffey trading guitar riffs with Tristao, and Griffey turning in an extended solo, of sorts.

The performance of “Hey Tonight” was electrifying and one of the highlights of the set. The members then delved into unexpected territory and performed a cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” before featuring their “world music” portion of the set, with “Down on the Corner”; and then the “country music portion,” with “My Back Door.”

Toward the end of the show, the band performed a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which included an endless jam of guitar solos by Griffey. When the song was finally over, the drum solo began.

After “Bad Moon Rising” and “Proud Mary,” it was time for the closing song of the 90-minute set—and “Fortunate Son” was the obvious way to end it.

Ever since Stu Cook and Doug Clifford dusted off Creedence Clearwater in 1995, it’s been obvious why this band is still a draw: The members keep the music and spirit of Creedence Clearwater Revival going strong.

Published in Reviews