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MUSIC

Half of original band keeps Creedence Revisited going

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published June 27, 2013 at 3:15 a.m.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited is certain that no one expects to hear the band do any “new” music at the group’s show Saturday night at Hot Springs’ Magic Springs amusement park.

“We’re revisiting the old hits we had in our previous band,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, says drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford. “Anything new would not be part of the program.”

Clifford, along with bassist Stu Cook - a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rhythm section - were half of that comparatively short-lived, albeit legendary group from 1967 to 1972. Clifford and Cook’s current band, on the other hand, has been around since 1995.

“We were really just kids when we were in that earlier band,” Clifford says, “and we only were in that band for a few years. This band, we’ve had it going for nearly 20 years, which means people like it, and that’s why we’ve had the success that we’ve had, because we’ve kept at it until we’ve gotten really good at it.”

The other two members of that previous band were brothers John and Tom Fogerty, who famously feuded to such an extent that Tom left in 1971. His death in 1990 ended any hopes of an ultimate reunion, and when Clifford and Cook decided to put together a new band so they could perform the music that they had long loved, performed and missed, they ran into opposition from the surviving Fogerty, John, who tried to force his former band mates to cease and desist with their similar name.

Fogerty got an injunction instructing them to do so in 1997. Clifford and Cook’s band temporarily called itself Cosmo’s Factory, but courts later ruled against Fogerty, and Creedence Clearwater Revisited was back.

Clifford prefers not to talk about the “troubles” he and Cook went through and any feelings about Fogerty that they might harbor.

“That’s ancient history from 17 years ago,” he says, “and it’s in my rear view mirror. Plus I have a short memory.”

He is, however, willing to talk about the origin of his nickname, Cosmo, which he terms a result of a college-era escapade.

“I was in college at San Jose State, and it was a sort of an Animal House environment,” Clifford says. “We were all college guys without adult supervision, and I told some of the guys that if they would clean up all the mess, I’d get rid of the bugs and ants and stuff, and they agreed to do it. Afterwards, we had a toga party and someone gave me the designation of being ‘Cosmic Cosmo, a man of nature,’ and so on.”

Putting together the group was not much of a problem, Clifford explains. For a time, Clifford and Cook were joined by guitarist Elliot Easton, famously a member of The Cars in the 1970s and ’80s. When Easton left, he was replaced by Steve “The Captain” Gunner, who plays guitar, harmonica, and keyboards and sings backing vocals. Kurt Griffey plays lead guitar, while lead vocals are provided by John “Bulldog” Tristao, who was once a member of a band named People, which had a 1968 hit song, “I Love You.”

Finding the right voice for the songs was a daunting task, Clifford admits.

“It was a little trickier, certainly,” he says. “Of 10 candidates we heard about, it came down to four, and ‘Bulldog’ passed the live audition. He’s from the Bay area, the same area the rest of us are from, but we found him up in Washington state, which is where he still lives. He just gets better and better with age, like a fine French wine.”

The Revisited band does about 75 shows a year, which Clifford says means about 150days out on the road. His wife of 45 years and grandchildren prevailed upon him to cut back to that level, he adds.

Fans who came to shows would ask why there were no CDs by the group, so the band decided to record a show in Canada. Recollection, the double album, which the band released in 1998, proved so popular that it achieved platinum status, for sales of more than a million copies.

With so many hit songs to pick from for shows, Clifford did not hesitate when asked to name his favorite CCR song.

“That would be ‘Born on the Bayou,’ he says. “And the funny thing is that none of us were, but in our early days in CCR, there were those who thought we had to be from Louisiana. Of course, our first hit was a cover song: ‘Suzie Q ,’ written by Dale Hawkins, who was a really sweet guy, and we know he spent the last years of his life in North Little Rock.”

Creedence Clearwater Revisited

7 p.m. Saturday, Timberwood Amphitheater, Magic Springs & Crystal Falls,

1701 E. Grand Ave. (U.S. 70), Hot Springs

Admission: $54.99 general admission ($49.99 if bought online), $33.99 for age 55 and older, $74.99 for a season pass. An additional $5-$10 for reserved seating (lawn seating is included with park admission).

(501) 624-0100

magicsprings.com

Weekend, Pages 34 on 06/27/2013

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