The four members of Creedence Clearwater Revival, considered the preeminent American band of the late 1960s, parted ways in 1972, divided over John Fogerty’s dominant role. Through it all, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford kept their friendship intact.
“Doug and I have always been best friends, have been for 38 years,” Cook said recently from his Lake Tahoe, Nev., home.
The last time Cook spoke with Fogerty was the day of the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
“It wasn’t a pleasant night for us,” Cook said. “Because of John’s maneuvering, we were not invited to play that night. We were supposed to sit in the audience. We said, ‘Forget that,’ and left.”
For Cook, there was life after CCR in the ’70s and ’80s. He was a producer and songwriter and a member of the country group Southern Pacific for five years. But recently, Cook and Clifford were sitting around, enjoying beer, when the topic of putting a band together popped up.
“We just wanted to play some music, play the songs that made us famous,” Cook said. “There will be no revival of the Revival, but we figured if we could find people who love the music as much as we do, we’d do it. We wanted to re-create the experience of it.”
Creedence Clearwater Revisited was formed. They recruited John Tristao, former lead singer of People (“I Love You,” in 1968), and the only guitarist they considered asking was ex-Cars member Elliot Easton. Session keyboardist Steve Gunner also was added.
Since mid-October, they have played a half-dozen shows, two in Reno and one at the Hilton in Las Vegas. The reception they received was beyond Cook’s wildest dreams.
“The time seems right now,” he said. “CD sales for Creedence albums are bigger now than ever. I hear our songs on the radio more than new bands. These shows have confirmed that we have a whole new audience. We’re seeing kids ages 10 to 15 in the crowd.”
Cook isn’t worried about any negative preconceptions of a CCR reunion sans Fogerty.
“Our fans don’t care about Rolling Stone magazine, icons, rock stars. Our real fans care about the music,” Cook said. “All I can say is, check this out. This is as close as you’ll get to a Creedence concert.”
BWF (before we forget): The revisited Creedence released an album titled “Recollection” on the Fuel 2000 label on June 2, 1998.