The Who may contend that "it's the singer not the song that makes the music move along." But Creedence Clearwater Revisited would beg to differ.
The band -- formed 21 yeas ago by Creedence Clearwater Revival bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford -- has thrived by playing the old hits with its own singer, John "Bulldog" Tristao, recreating CCR frontman and chief songwriter John Fogerty. For Cook it's another reminder of how potent the material was when CCR racked up nine Top 10 hits between 1969-71.
"They're great songs. That's all there is to it," Cook, 71, says by phone from New Jersey. "Back a number of years, 2001 or 1999 or something, we were playing a European tour and playing a big festival in Sweden, and my wife at the time was along, and after the concert was over she commented that the audience was uplifted. She said, 'What you guys do is in a lot of ways like church. People come out higher than they arrived.'
"I never thought about it like that, but I'd have to say that, yeah, they have an experience with us and with these songs that stays with them. That's a very special thing."
It does, however, put certain limits on what the quintet can do. While the group is prone to play some deeper and more rare Creedence material during sound checks, they're loathe to tinker too much with the hits-heavy 100-minute set that's clearly what the crowds come to hear.
"For better or for worse, we found a magical -- we think -- chemistry between the material and the audience long ago," Cook says. "People come along with us without much effort and we all have a good time, So, OK, we play 'Proud Mary' a lot, but guys at the Holiday Inn have played it a lot as well. It's really not hard for us to play 'Proud Mary,' y'know?"
Not sharing the bliss, of course, is Fogerty, whose contentious relationship with Cook and Clifford, which dates back to CCR's active days, has led to recent lawsuits and countersuits over each party's use of the band's name and trademark, as well as compensation. Cook says the process is in the "early to mid-stages), with paperwork and mediation sessions that have not yielded much in the way of results.
"I think the parties are just too far apart for anything to (settle) between us, so we're looking to the court to somehow narrow it down and provide us with some focus," Cook says. "It's a pretty simple case. It's over the trademark, who owns it, and there's a difference of opinion. There used to be cooperation, for years, but there's been a definite switch-up in how (Fogerty) perceived things, so...
"It's just a matter of trying to protect our rights while still trying to resolve it -- and hopefully soon, 'cause we'd rather just put this behind us, y'know."
Creedence Clearwater Revisited
8 p.m. Thursday, June 2.
SoundBoard at the MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit.
Tickets are $32-$50.
Call 313-237-7711 or visit soundboarddetroit.com.
Note: Creedence Clearwater Revisited also performs at the Stars Guitars benefit at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 4, in the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. Tickets are $80-$150, including a strolling dinner and a silent auction. Proceeds go to the Charles A Main M.D. Pediatric Cancer Survivor Scholarship Fund at Beaumont's Children's Hospital. Visit startsguitars.org for more information.
Send your thoughts and comments to