Creedence Clearwater Revisited still rocking around the bend

Published on March 22nd, 2021

By Jim Dail

Drummer Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revisited is having a good year so far.

“As long as I can play at this point of my career I am a happy guy,” he said. “It’s even more appreciated now because there is no guarantee about tomorrow.”

Certainly the band has quite the history. It is, of course, the modern version of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Formed by Clifford, Stu Cook, Tom and John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival piled up the hits, such as “Proud Mary,” “Down on the Corner,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Fortunate Son.” In some ways, the band was a recording machine.

“We had four years, seven studio albums and live albums and we were straight and sober,” he said. “We rehearsed and when we went in we didn’t do 15 tunes. We did the album exactly the way we wanted to do and didn’t leave anything for the record company to do later. That’s how we did it.”

They formed as a band that just wanted to jam.

“We started playing when we were 13, and we were recording as early as 14,” he said. “We kept at it and stuck to the genre we were playing even though we were passing through several fads. We were right in the middle of psychedelic and we were more of a blue collar group. We stayed with what we liked, which was roots American music.”

Ironically, they wound up on a jazz label.

“We didn’t have any of the pressure because we were on a jazz record, so they were letting us show the way,” he said. “They admitted they wanted more rock and roll because that’s where the money is so they left us alone. In the end, we had this legacy of music. Some was good some was bad, but we came out much higher on the good.”

Of course, the band is one that crosses into so many genres, which provided some difficulties.

“They didn’t know how to promote us, he said. “It was radio that embraced us and they still do today. We hit radio between the eyes. It was fresh it had a unique sound.”

He credits a team philosophy.

“We recorded from an early age as a unit,” he said. “It gave us a distinct sound. We were able to make good songs with a lot of energy and conviction.”

While the lyrics of the songs were of great importance, a trademark of the CCR sound was the rhythm.

“We would jam in between records and out of the jams there were songs that came out,” he said. “I know what we brought to the table. ‘Susie Q’ was rockabilly and we were in the clubs playing it before we had success.”

That helped create a foundation that would serve them well.

“When you are playing five sets a night, you have to stretch it out to save yourself from repeating,” he said. “We came out from that groove and I just came up with a quarter-note thing and it and it became a long dance song and that’s like three songs in that space. When we did ‘Ain’t too proud to Beg,’ the chorus that was an R&B riff and that kept the accent going and roped along and gave it a lot of space and opened it up tremendously so we would do those kinds of things. John would come in and play it and see how it went. If it needed something we would try that out and if it didn’t pass muster we wouldn’t use it.”

While the band never reached the number one spot on the charts with a single – they did with albums – they did come extremely close with five number two hits.

“Back in the day, we were the Avis of rock and roll and Hertz was number one,” he laughed. “The thing is, many of them were double sided hits. If you had counted the sales of both that would have been different.”

When you consider that “Proud Mary” had “Born on the Bayou” as its B-side and “Travelin’ Band” had “Who’ll Stop the Rain” as its B-side, that makes sense.

“We put records together that would be good for the consumer,” he said. “We weren’t trying to have a double-sided hit. And when you consider we had six hit songs from the ‘Cosmos Factory’ album, it worked for the consumer.”

And the band is still packing them in with a set list that is really nothing but huge hits, songs that are mainstays on radio to this day, The group, of course, does not have John or Tom Fogerty, the latter of which passed away in xxx, but the raves from critics and fans alike show the music and band is as strong as ever.

“Our new singer, Dan McGuiness, is a big handsome young man with a perfect pitch and high tenor,” he said. “He works well and we are thrilled to have him, He was an understudy for all these years so he became the obvious candidate when we needed someone new.”

And the traits that made the band successful during the recording era works now.

“We told him we didn’t want him to copy anyone because that’s not what we do,” he said. “It’s like with reading music. Guys who can only play with sheet music sound like they are just reading it instead of letting it flow and have the energy and heart. And Dan is just great.”


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