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Old 29.06.2012, 19:53
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Default 6/29: Stu Cook talks revisiting Creedence Clearwater Revival

When Creedence Clearwater Revisited started their low-key existence 18 years ago, John Fogerty was still avoiding loading up his live sets with the hits that made the similarly titled Creedence Clearwater Revival such a household name.

Revisited provided a service to longtime Creedence fans who just wanted to have a good time, hear the hits and hear them played vibrantly and enthusiastically by the steadiest and most-durable of rock rhythm sections without having to wallow through selections from "Centerfield" and "Eye of the Zombie."

Since then, Fogerty has repackaged his solo hits with Creedence work and put out his own live versions that somehow don't quite sound like the real thing. But Creedence Clearwater Revisited have built a separate fan base. Their 1997 double live album, "Recollection," has quietly gone platinum, and they're even represented by a volume in Universal Music's "20th Century Masters" series.

We spoke to bassist Stu Cook about his and drummer Doug Clifford's ongoing antagonistic relationship with the man whose music they continue to celebrate nightly and what keeps Revisited coming back for more.

Question: Is "Chronicle, Vol. 1" the biggest-selling Creedence album?

Answer: That's the largest one. And "Cosmo's Factory" is No. 2. I'm not sure, after that, which albums are the most popular. I honestly don't know which songs are on which albums anymore. I don't listen to it that much. It's very difficult without the album. When we were young, you'd put the phonograph record on the turntable and you'd hold the 12-by-12 cover in your hand and look at it. It had a front and back cover with a lot of tiny print on it. Sometimes the cover was a gatefold, and it would open up. But now people carry hundreds of thousands of albums in their phone. It's just not the same kind of experience. So over the years, I've kind of forgotten which songs came out before which other songs. I know "Proud Mary" is on the second album and "Bad Moon Rising" is on the third. But other than that, I can't be sure.

Q: You put out a lot of albums in a short time, at least two a year.

A: I think we put out three albums in 1969 (laughs). That wasn't too smart, but that's the way it happened.

Q: I was listening to "Recollection" on Spotify. Does that annoy you when people say they listen to your music on Spotify? Or any of the other online services?

A: I don't have Spotify myself, so I don't know how it works. Some people still pay for music, but by and large there's an effort under way to undermine the value of intellectual property and force people to give it away, which doesn't ring true to me.

Q: We're kind of stuck with a listening generation that feels it's entitled to getting music for free because that's how it has always been for them.

A: That's too bad. Wait till they get out in the real world and find out exactly what they're entitled to (laughs).

Q: When I was on Spotify, I saw a band called Creedence Clearwater Revived that had four albums out.

A: We do what we can to shut down the people who aren't licensed to use the name, but after a while you're just throwing money away. What can you do? At a certain point it gets really expensive, and I don't feel like spending my money on that. I think that's something John Fogerty should go after with a vengeance.

Q: Would he be the one who would have to go after it?

A: No, I'm just suggesting he do it (laughs). Sounds like something he'd be into doing.

Q: Did he spend a lot of money trying to shut Creedence Clearwater Revisited down?

A: Yes, he did.

Q: And then he puts out an album called "Revival" with a song called "Creedence Song" on it.

A: Yeah, we thought it was pretty sad. Unfortunately, he can't use the name. He can say "Formerly of ..." The rest of it, he needs to license. We don't worry too much about him.

Q: Since you still generate income through those records, do you ever have to meet with him?

A: No, there's nothing to meet with him about. He gets his check, and we get ours.

Q: Do you have a rotating set of Creedence favorites you take out of the set and put back in on different tours, like "It Came Out of the Sky"?

A: We play "It Came Out of the Sky" at sound checks just for ourselves. We played it in concert a few times and most Creedence fans don't recognize it. What album is that on?

Q: "Willie and the Poor Boys."

A: That's a good one, but one we don't include in the set. We play a 90-minute show, and believe me, it's difficult to decide what to pull out so you can put in a lesser-known song. When we play the international markets, we'll add other songs to the set list because they were more popular. In South America, we always play "Molina." They like that song for no other reason except that they identify with Molina as a Hispanic name. "Cottonfields" was real popular overseas, so we'll put that one in, leave "Lodi" out.

Q: Too regional!

A: If you're not from California you probably never heard of Lodi, except for Creedence.

Q: Is there any part of the world where "Pagan Baby" was popular?

A: You know, that's not one of our favorite tracks, so why include it? We'd have to play eight minutes of "Pagan Baby." We have a dozen deeper tracks: "Feelin' Blue," "Don't Look Now," "It Came Out of the Sky" "Ninety-Nine and a Half." We used to play a two-hour show and just recently pulled it back to 90 minutes. So we shortened "Grapevine" and "Suzie Q."

Q: Is there still a lot of onstage improvisation on those numbers?

A: In "Suzie Q" and "I Put a Spell on You," it's pretty free-form, but after a while, we find stuff we like to play so it becomes an arrangement as well. Creedence was never really a jam band. We did extended stuff because it was kind of hip to do it then. Creedence was a singles band.
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