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Old 25.01.2018, 18:49
Arisin Wind Arisin Wind is offline
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Default Sarasota’s Stu Cook on CCR legacy

Sarasota’s Stu Cook on CCR legacy ahead of Van Wezel show
He will perform as part of the group Creedence Clearwater Revisited on Saturday at Van Wezel

One of Sarasota’s Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will play a hometown show this weekend.

Founding Creedence Clearwater Revival bassist Stu Cook will take the stage at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Saturday with Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the band he formed with Creedence Clearwater Revival founding drummer Doug Clifford. Expect a setlist of CCR’s many hits from the late 1960s and early ’70s.

Cook, Clifford, John Fogerty and Tom Fogerty made up Creedence Clearwater Revival, which became of the biggest acts of its era with smart, catchy rock ‘n’ roll songs such as “Proud Mary,” “Fortunate Son,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain” and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”

In 1972, the group broke up on bad terms. John Fogerty, the band’s lead singer, guitarist and chief songwriter, continued to feud with Cook and Clifford when the two formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995.

During a recent phone interview, Cook discussed his life in Sarasota, his time in Creedence Clearwater Revival and Revisited and his relationships with Fogerty and Clifford.

How long have you lived in Sarasota and what brought you down here?

It’s been about a little over four years, just heading to warmer weather always. We’ve got some family in Orlando and now in Tampa. Just moving south and east has been the general trend over the last twenty or so years.

Sarasota-Manatee has become this sort of haven for rock stars. Do you hang out with any of the other musicians who live here?

Sure. I get together with Jimmie Fadden every now and then, we have lunch, Jimmie from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. There’s other local musicians that I hang out with, sometimes jam with.

How did you decide to start Clearwater Clearwater Revisited?

Well, Doug Clifford and I were living in this small northern Nevada town Incline Village and we had too much time on our hands, basically. We were jamming a lot, but we kept thinking you know, it’d be better if we had a whole band, a singer, and what better catalog to play than our own? We spent about a half a year rounding up people, seeing who was interested of all our acquaintances, and put together the band in 1995 just as a live music project. We just finished our 23rd year of playing the Creedence Clearwater catalog all around the world.

When you look at Creedence Clearwater Revival’s discography, it only spans a few years. Does it feel strange that such a short time has had such a lasting effect on your life?

It definitely set us on a different trajectory than we had ever imagined. When we were kids, playing in a band was our joy. We started in junior high school and continued through high school and college. In ’67, we decided to make a full-time push at it instead of more a hobby, an activity. But we decided in ’67 to go for it and we had some success along the way, kept us working, some regional radio play, but nothing ever on a national level. In June of ’68, “Suzie Q” came out and that changed everything for us.

What was it like being part of the San Francisco music scene at that time? You had some similarities with acts like Jefferson Airplane, but you were also more of a straightforward, working-class group.

It was interesting. As you point out, there were some similarities. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area at that time was outrageous. Every weekend we’d go to the city and go to the ballrooms, hang out. It was just a whole new cultural experience from how we’d grown up. But you’re right, we were more of a straight-ahead band. And that I think is because we had started together in 1959 and our focus was trying to be on AM radio — in other words, make singles.

The San Francisco scene, if you will, had more of an improvisational or ad-lib or I would call it just generally unfocused approach, so that immediately set us off as a different kind of band. We would play three-minute songs and they would play 13-minute songs — not that we didn’t have a long track or two on each album. We were more focused on radio the whole time and that was because we listened to singles growing up, that’s what we wanted to do. That’s all there was really, there was no FM radio.

And we were local, most all the other people that were part of the San Francisco scene were not locals. The bands and the artists from Texas were more akin to us in their love of the blues and country music. When you say Airplane, The Dead, to me they were more folk-oriented initially. They played without amplifiers before they became electric. We were always an electric band. So there were similarities, we shared the same stage with a lot of these artists, but we definitely had our own path.

I think sometimes people forget that Creedence Clearwater Revival played Woodstock...

We were the headliners Saturday night, which turned out to be Sunday morning due to technical difficulties and the weather.

What was that experience like?

Well, it was again surreal to see half a million people in a pasture. It was something you really weren’t prepared for, 1969 was sort of the summer of festivals, there was festivals in California, Colorado, Georgia, a couple I can’t remember exactly where they were. Woodstock was just one of many, nobody had any idea at the time that it was going to turn into more of a cultural event than a music festival. But people don’t know that we were there because we weren’t in the movie.

Do you have any favorite songs to play as Creedence Clearwater Revisited?

You know, I’m partial to all of them after 23 years of trying to play them great every night. I like “Down on the Corner,” when that one is really in the pocket, it swings like no other. “Born on the Bayou” of course is great. Our most popular song right now is “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” We try and keep the setlist focused on the songs that most people will recognize, but we also play a few deep album tracks and a couple of extended pieces just to shake it up and have some fun.

But the idea, the premise if you will, behind this project was just to honor and celebrate the music of the quartet with the fans. When we started in ’95, we really didn’t have any idea how we’d go over. The media, the critics, believed it couldn’t be done, but year after year after year, we’ve easily proved them wrong, and it’s really been the fans that have kept us going. Without them, there really wouldn’t have been a Creedence Clearwater Revival at all, the fans and radio made it happen. There was no corporate money, no giant powerhouse management, it was garage all the way.

I think by now no one expects Creedence Clearwater Revival to reunite, but do you think you’ll get to the point where you can have an affable discussion with John Fogerty?

It’s not there yet. We’ve recently put enough of our history behind us to set up a business relationship again, so that’s a big step forward. We’ve been in and out of court and a lot of media back-and-forth over the years. But at this point, I think we’d be all happy with just a good working business relationship.

What is your relationship with Clifford like after playing together for so long?

We learned how to play together, so we understand and just have an extra sense for what the other’s going to do, how it’s going to go. It’s like hand-in-glove, we really don’t ever have to think too much about how we’re going to approach something and the actual performance feels almost automatic, innate, in the DNA at this point.

We’ve had our ups and downs, as any long-time relationship. We’ve been hanging out together for I want to say 59 years now. We don’t agree on everything, but we agree on most things, so we have a good working base to tackle whatever needs to be addressed. We’re not afraid to put it on the table and talk it out, and that’s how we’ve gotten this far together.


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Old 12.02.2018, 02:30
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I think that it's every CCR's fans' dream for them to reunite before they're not here anymore.

Even if it's just a one-off performance, that would be absolutely wonderful!!! But, I'm glad that they and John apparently have a good working relationship outside of the band after so many years when they didn't have that. And, it's also great that Fogerty can play those classic CCR songs in concert night-after-night without any issues.

Just one performance, guys, please for all of the CCR fans around the world?!?!?!?
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ccr, cook, legacy, sarasota’s, stu

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