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.