Rolling with Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Almost everyone I know can name at least one Creedence
Clearwater Revival tune. The band had broken up and reformed
as Creedence Clearwater Revisited. They have been on tour
constantly, releasing a live album, "Recollection"
(Hip-O/Universal Records) in 1998, which went platinum. The
current CCR includes original members, bassist Stu Cook, and
drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, along with lead vocalist/rhythm
guitarist John Tristao, lead guitarist Tal Morris and Steve
Gunner on keyboards, acoustic guitar, harmonica, percussion
I had an opportunity to speak with Stu Cook to learn why CCR
is his passion, beginning with his reasons for reforming the
"Doug and I just wanted to play together again," Cook says.
"Once we crossed those ten bridges then we had to find out
what would be the best music for us to play and obviously what
we helped to make famous was the best to play. We set about to
find guys who could play it and enjoy it."
There have been many tales about the origin of the name
Creedence Clearwater Revival, so I asked Cook to clear up the
"It came from Creedence, who was a friend, the Clearwater had
some 1960s connections to the environment and the Revival was
about our own personal revival." Cook clarifies, "We were
reforming, regathering our energy to try it again. We had been
trying it in a variety of ways and a variety of different
levels and in order for us to achieve success at this time we
stopped everything else we were doing and go for it full time.
So the revival really spoke to the internal vision to come
together and really go for it."
Why change the name from Revival to Revisited?
"We're revisiting, we're going to try and honor; we're going
to try and celebrate all that was before. Because that well
over a generation's music was related and there's a lot of
fans out there who never had the experience," Cook responds.
"For me it's great to see how the music has really gone across
the age groups, generations, and to see really young people -
in their pre-teens - in the audience, along with their
parents, as well as their aunts and uncles and even
grandparents. It's a pretty good collection of fans."
Cook then shares some of his personal history with me, "Both
of my parents were musicians. They worked professionally at
different times in their lives. My dad was a trumpet player,
my mom was a piano and organist. Trumpet was my first
instrument then I switched to piano, then guitar, then bass
"Why did you stay with the bass?" I ask.
"That was the instrument we needed." Cook laughs, "It was
like, `You're the bass player.' OK. I figured what the heck, I
get paid just as much as everybody else and I only have to
play one note at a time. So who's complaining?
"We started playing together when we were 13 years old in
1959, John Fogerty, Doug Clifford and myself. And we were just
a little instrumental trio which went through junior high
school and high school," Cook goes on.
"I went to college at San Jose State and have a degree in
business administration industrial management. I graduated in
'67, but we played on weekends throughout the four years I was
in college. Then after I graduated we all decided to go full
time, so we stopped everything else and that was when we
decided we were really going to focus ourselves on trying to
"I never had a job in my life," Cook says. "Well, I've worked
summer jobs that my dad would give me helping him with some of
his clients that would hire kids during the summer."
Cook worked factory and warehouse jobs, in construction and
drove a delivery van for a pharmacy, as well as stocked its
shelves. None of these were long term, just summer jobs during
the years he was in school.
"But since I've graduated from college, I've been a musician."
Cook tells me, "What a dream it's been, it's an amazing story
both good and bad. It's been a very mangled journey. But it's
great music. John wrote great songs for the band, he had a
real hot streak, and the band with the help of radio, which
really took to us, was able to get the word out. We have fans
all over the world, multi-generation fan base all over the
world. Right now what 'Cos' and I are doing is taking our
project, Revisited, is taking it around the world and
celebrating it with the fans, celebrating that great legacy."
Cook lives in Lake Tahoe and spends his free time flying his
Cessna 185, mountain biking, golfing, hiking and boating.
Despite the success of "Recollection" - or perhaps because of
it - I wondered if CCR is working on any new material.
"Nah, we don't have any interest in recording new material,"
Cook states. "This is a Creedence project and we don't to
dilute with stuff outside. The plan was to play Creedence for
the fans, it was a performance project for us. `Recollection'
is a live album so we thought that doesn't stretch it too
much. We really had no intention of recording that from the
beginning, it all came about from requests from the fans."
But all of the band member write on their own.
"Since we're not actively involved in pursuing careers as
writers or as solo artists and we're not writing anything new
for Revisited'," Cook says, adding that he writes rock, blues
and country tunes.
I prod Cook as to where CCR fits in today's music scene.
"We fit in because everything has to come from somewhere,"
Cook replies. "So we're the roots of what's going on, they're
the branches on the tree. All of it's in the trunk, then
there's branches and it seems that the tree is in extremely
full bloom right now because there's such a variety of all
styles and they get mixed together which becomes even more
And what about the Web?
"Internet music sales are up, obviously. The music buying
public wants to access their music via the Internet and I
don't know how that directly affects the legacy bands," Cook
says. "Also, the Internet is full of so many nonsense
opinions- everybody's a critic,
everybody's an expert, so the way I see it, is it's just a way
to wage open warfare.
"I think that sometimes fans become fanatics and they get
themselves involved in artists' lives vicariously, then they
have opinions about things that are none of their business."
Cook continues, "I think that the distribution of music by
the Internet is terrific. I think in the future it's going to
go up and up and up. I'm not quite sure how it's going to
affect catalog sales of the legacy acts. We have greatest hits
albums, why would anybody want to buy one or two cuts? That's
why you have a collection of all the hits."
CCR has toured the world and will be heading your way soon
most likely. They love what they do and, best of all, they
like each other.
"We're all friends, we all get along well. We come to play,
it's rock and roll playing these songs, rockin' out every
night with a great live audience. It's inspirational and it
prevents aging. The hardest part of this whole project is
travel." Cook explains, "It's hard to get around here and
there. Sometimes you have to get up early, sometimes there's
missed connections at airports or your baggage gets lost.
Since 9/11 travel have been a pain anyhow, an extra pain.
There's a lot of obstacles to get to that stage, but once we
get there we make it worth it."