When Stu Cook and Doug Clifford launched Creedence Clearwater Revisited 20 years ago, they didn't know quite what to expect.
Now, however, they're pleased that it has, like the song ("Proud Mary") says, kept on rollin' -- even when the waters have been a little rough.
"We've convinced people one and two at a time that this was worth checking out," the bassist says by phone from his home in Sarasota, Fla. "Doug and I are proud of it, always have been. It's surprised us as much as anybody, I think, that we could still be rockin' on here, this far in. It's truly amazing."
Revisited was a result of Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, when frontman John Fogerty slighted Cook and Clifford -- over long-simmering animosities -- in order to play with other musicians that night. The two decided they wanted to reclaim their share in CCR's legacy, so recruited other musicians -- with the Cars' Elliot Easton originally on lead guitar -- to play the Revival material that even Fogerty was not playing at the time.
"The whole thing has evolved somewhat organically," Cook, 70, says. "We have not tried to direct it, 'cause we're not sure what it is, still. It's not exactly a tribute band, 'cause we're the original members, but it's not exactly the band, either.
"But I guess it works for us because people can relate to it however they want ot. It's been a real eye-opening experience in a lot of ways to come back and revisit this music and take it to the fans again, just for our own redemption. I think we've reconfirmed for ourselves that we were part of a team, we were part of great band and we did our jobs well."
The ride hasn't been easy, of course. Cook and Clifford (as well as the estate of late guitarist Tom Fogerty, John's brother) reached an early out of court settlement with Fogerty that gives him some of the group's revenues. But late last year Cook and Clifford sued Fogerty for violating the agreement with the way he's been billing his recent appearances, and Fogerty counter-sued last month, saying, among other things, the Revisited camp has stopped paying him his share.
Cook is limited as to what he can say about the cases, but his resigned sigh says more than words can, anyway.
"John won't talk to us, which makes it hard," Cook says. "Basically we have a contractual dispute, and if you can't get the people to sit down and talk to you about it, you have to do what you have to do. You have to find a way to address the issue and we believe there's an issue worth addressing here. We're trying to get someone's attention (with their lawsuit) and say 'Let's get focused on this and get it resolved to the best of both parties' satisfaction.
"So hopefully we can get this worked out like business always gets worked out. That's all we want, and then we can each go our own way and do what makes us happy."
Creedence Clearwater Revisited and the Seatbelts
8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7.
Rockin' On the Riverfront at the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
Admission is free.
Call 313-567-3126 or visit www.gmrencen.com.
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