Creedence Clearwater Revisited plays Beaver Creek Sunday night
Vail CO, Colorado
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Some bands play together for 12 years and barely leave a dent on American culture, let alone give millions of people something to think about when they’re gone. And then there’s Creedence Clearwater Revival, a band who smashed a crater into America’s musical landscape and left behind some of the most memorable rock and roll ever created.
But before Creedence, guitarist and singer John Fogerty, drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford and piano and bass player Stu Cook were called The Blue Velvets.
When John’s brother, Tom (who died in 1990), joined the band they were The Golliwogs. Seven years later they finally agreed to call themselves Creedence Clearwater Revival, and thank God; could you imagine The Dude telling the cops that someone had stolen his Golliwogs tapes in “The Big Lebowski”?
The perfect storm
Maybe it was the new name, or perhaps the perfect storm of political, cultural and social tension that existed in America at the time, but once the CCR label stuck, their music began to strike a chord with the nation and they became a hit-producing machine for the next four years.
Songs like “Susie Q,” “Proud Mary,” “Down On The Corner” and “Bad Moon Rising” are just as much a part of Americana as baseball and apple pie and are still staples on many FM radio stations.
When the band broke up because of internal fighting, they had already left behind an impressive catalogue of memorable hits that are still covered by many bands today. And though John Fogerty was the voice and artistic drive of the band, many people don’t realize that the two remaining members of the band have been bringing the sound of Creedence back to life for over a dozen years now.
“This is just something that we put together with the idea of playing a few private parties and maybe some corporate events and maybe some industrial type work 14 years ago. And now this band has lasted longer than the entire lifespan of the Revival band,” said Stu Cook, co-founder and bass player for Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
‘We were the band’
Cook formed Revisited with Revival drummer Clifford and recruited Steve Gunner to play keys and acoustic guitar, Tal Morris (who replaced lead guitarist Elliot Easton of The Cars) to play lead guitar and singer John Tristao to fill Fogerty’s shoes. Together, Creedence Clearwater Revisited plays nothing but the hits of Revival, and Cook said that he’s amazed at how the success of Revisited.
While Cook acknowledges that Fogerty wrote all of the songs they now play, he also added, “We were the band. We translated that into those records that people know.”
How fitting then that Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revisited will both be playing in Colorado during the month of August ” albeit weeks apart from each other.
Revisited brings the sounds of a generation to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek Sunday night for a show that’s sure to bring back memories for some.
Keeping it real
In fact, Brad Austin of Beaver Creek is counting on just that. He saw Revival in Nashville in the late ’60s and Revisited two years ago in Memphis. He’ll be at Sunday’s show at the Vilar Center as well.
“They carry on the tradition,” Austin said. “They really do a wonderful tribute to their past and keep it real, which is really cool.”
Even without Fogerty, they put on a righteous show, he said, and when you hear those first notes from “Fortunate Son,” you’re guaranteed to get a chill.
“You’re in for a good treat by seeing them,” Austin said. “I think they do a damn good job of keeping the music true.”
Of course, for Cook, who took part in Revival’s creative process, all that just comes with the territory.
“We have such a good time,” Cook said. “It’s fairly easy, we all know the songs, we don’t have to rehearse, things go well. We like what we’re doing and there’s hardly any other way to do it. Life’s too short, life’s too tough to make it difficult.”
‘Music seemed to matter more’
Since it came together, Creedence Clearwater Revisited has toured the world and released two live albums (one went platinum). The band is still met with enthusiasm wherever they play, Cook said, which is not surprising given their stage show.
“We include all of the radio hits plus the long version of ‘Susie Q,’ the long version of ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’ and sometimes we play the long version of ‘Run Through The Jungle,’ Cook said.
Now that Cook has experienced two different waves of success decades apart, he looks back and sees a musical past with no regrets.
“I’m honored to have been involved in such a great musical project and (with) such great music,” he said. “And it was at a critical time when music seemed to matter more.”
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.