An interview with Creedence Clearwater Revisited’s Stu Cook

Creedence Clearwater Revisited play Sun Valley Tuesday, August 28.

 

As I prepared to interview Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revisited for this blog, I casually mentioned the prospect to my husband. His reaction was on par with what mine would have been had someone told me Jarvis Cocker was going to perform at my sweet sixteen. If you’re lost by that last reference, stick with me.

My musical influences reflect the soundtrack of a deeply uncool movie. However, my British father’s predilection towards all things American meant that, while I was raised in England, I was exposed to the tunes of the country I was born in at an early age. I remember spinning Venus in Blue Jeans on a portable record player as a tween, dancing to Don McClean’s American Pie everywhere from my living room to my wedding reception, and listening to every single one of Buddy Holly’s hits on any and all family road trips. So you can probably picture my then-future-husband’s horror when, while driving across America in a Ford pick-up truck, he pumped up the volume on Bad Moon Rising, proclaiming that this was one of his all-time favorite bands and I chirped up, “Who’s the band?”
Honestly, I’m surprised we made it to the altar.

In the intervening nine years of living in the Wild West I’ve been properly schooled in the musical history of my current homeland, and so was suitably excited myself to be talking to a member of one of the country’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll bands and Hall of Fame member, Stu Cook.

For the uninitiated, Credence Clearwater Revival was the biggest band in America as the ’60s gave way to the ’70s. At its peak the band’s popularity rivaled that of the Beatles, in four years they churned out a string of hits including the aforementioned Bad Moon RisingLodi, Proud Mary, Born on the Bayou, Fortunate Sun and Who’ll Stop the Rain (inspired by their performance at Woodstock.) But, as even a casual observer of rock history will have noticed, in order to have any credibility as a rock ‘n’ roll band, drama is a prerequisite, and Revival had it in spades. Like their contemporaries The Beatles, forerunners Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and the carcasses of countless other great bands that litter history, creative differences split the lead singer/songwriter from his rhythm section, resulting in the demise of Revival in 1972, just four short years after hitting the big time.

Today however, the rhythm still rules as best friends Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, bassist and drummer of the original band, have resurrected Revival’s distinctive Swamp Rock anthems under the moniker Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Former front man John Fogerty tours as a solo musician and his brother Tom, the band’s rhythm guitarist, passed away in 1990.

In anticipation of Revisited’s debut Sun Valley performance Tuesday, August 28, I caught up with Cook to talk Idaho, the music and how Revisited was born from a famous snub.

Have you ever been to Idaho?
Oh yeah, many times. In fact the second concert Revisted ever played was in Idaho, Sandpoint. As for Southern Idaho I’ve been there quite a few times but really just to perform, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to hang out and immerse myself.

But you’ve never performed in Sun Valley before?
No, I’ve snowboarded there but never performed. We came about 3 or 4 winters ago. I thought (the snowsports) were pretty good, there are some difficult areas, but it was pretty friendly. The bowls are beautiful, we stayed at the Lodge and it was pretty nice. We enjoyed it. I used to live up in Lake Tahoe and skiing was just outside the door, but when I moved to Texas my wife and I had to go on ski vacations and Sun Valley was the first  place we picked as we’d heard a lot about it, but of course had never been there because we were spoiled by where we were living. So that was our first place to check off the list. Since then we’ve been to Jackson Hole, Park City, Telluride, I think we’re going to Steamboat next winter.

So, four members of my family in four different corners of the world were very jealous that I was going to be talking with you this morning. I think that is a small insight into how far your music has reached. It’s pretty impressive.
I’ll say! We’ve toured the world – North America, South America, Central America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and Asia. The enthusiasm of the fans is quite high everywhere and they’re trending much younger. We’re currently on our third generation of fans, hopefully we’ll soon have a fourth.

In other interviews I’ve read you’ve expressed surprise at the success of Revisited, that originally the idea was just to help a friend promote a couple of concerts. So what happened?
You know I’m still puzzling about the first career… I have to say I think we’ve successfully built on the best parts of the original band’s legend. It all really comes down to the music. Great songs, timeless music. Somehow the fan base has grown organically, people have taken the music in and passed it on, shared it with their peers and their families, generation to generation. So here we are almost 45 years later with an amazing network of people who know the music, enjoy it and want to come and experience the Creedence concert experience.

Because we’re the original rhythm section we can make the music’s sounds and feel, that part is easy. The hard part was to find people who could play the music along with us. [They did, and today tour with lead singer/rhythm guitar player John Tristao, who rose to prominence as lead singer for People, and guitarist Kurt Griffey, who has recorded and toured with members of the Eagles, Foreigner, Moody Blues, Wings, and Journey. Multi-instrumentalist Steve Gunner rounds out the group.] Back then (Revisited formed in 1995) we had no idea if our fans would embrace what we were doing but our fears were put to rest.

One of the key elements to the success of the band in its current form seems your commitment to honoring the legacy of Revival, by just performing the hits people want to hear.
The intention was never to add to the body of work in terms of song catalog we wanted that to remain undiluted and celebrated. We didn’t want to add any confusion and possibly degrade what was already there. It was never our intention to carry on from the old, the old still stands as the gold standard, we’re just out there playing the music live at concerts.

That music was described as Swamp Rock, and it sort of came out of left-field in an American music landscape just recovering from the British domination of the 60s. Here you guys came, four guys from San Francisco, playing pure southern rock and roll.
The San Francisco Bay area was a real melting pot of culture and ethnicity when we were growing up there. All these cultures, from Midwest hillbillies to the southern black population, brought their music and musical tastes with them when they moved out West. So up sprang all these radio stations directed at those audiences, and we preferred listening to them. [The music] felt better, it had more body, earthier and grittier. We were just coming of age at the right time where that music just spoke to us more than the stuff on the hit parade. It was a crazy time in music and that was the stuff we loved, so it was bound to be recycled in our own way.

A lot of those British bands were pure American blues enthusiast. When they started learning the catalog of artists who were pioneers of the musical genre of rural and urban blues they were purists – they didn’t want commercial success. But eventually it found its way back to the states in bands like The Yardbirds and Van Morrison. It was kind of shocking that it took the new crop of British musicians to reawaken America from its pop music stupor.

What would you say was the definitive Creedence track?
At the risk of being obvious, I would say Born on the Bayou. It was the song that started the swamp rock craze, it was sort of the title track of Bayou Country, the second album. That was our coming out album, while the first album had some success with Susie Q and I Put A Spell On You, but they weren’t original. Proud Mary was actually the flip side of Born on the Bayou, if my memory is not completely fractured. We were hoping Born would be the hit because we thought that song really says where we were coming from,  but it was Proud Mary really went on to become a standard. If we’d been left to our own devices to choose the single who knows what would have happened.

From the outside, the original band was definitely dominated by John Fogerty. Can you give some insight into the real roles you, Doug and Tom played in the creation of that sound. Fogerty was obviously the strong personality – but you guys were clearly integral to the sound, and it’s funny how history gets rewritten.
Well we all played our own instruments! But you’re right, history does get rewritten, and that’s what Doug and I are in the process of doing with this project. Proving to the world that there were more people involved than just one guy, and the fact that we have 18 years of success doing that says a lot.

We all learned to play our instruments together. We played for nine years together before we had any success at all, then we were working as one person. From downbeat to fade-out, we all understood our roles. You can’t make a rock ‘n’ roll record without a bass player and a drummer. It may sound like we were playing very simple stuff but hey, has anybody else been able to do it? Very few!

When Doug and I fire up the band today it feels like Revival. We understood what went into it. Although it’s expected that the lead singer, band leader and writer would get the focus—we played on every one of those records. Would they have happened without us? Who knows.

Having grown up as a huge Buddy Holly fan it’s hard for me not to draw comparisons with The Crickets, who continued well past the legend of Holly. They still tour today, not quite at the same level, but slowly and surely the drumming style of Jerry Allison is getting the credit it deserves in the band’s history. It seems like that’s what you’re doing with the Revisited, giving yourself and Clifford the recognition that the rhythm section should have in Revival’s history.
I completely agree. In fact, this project was sort of born out of the snub of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When the band was being inducted on its first year of eligibility [1993], we were snubbed by John Fogerty. He actually refused to perform with us at the event. On top of that the Hall of Fame organizers didn’t tell us until the day of the event that that was how it was going to go down. It was a big scene. Basically, after the band was inducted Fogerty and the house band and some of his all-star buddies, Springsteen, Robbie Robertson, took to the stage to play Creedence songs. Doug and I and our families just got up and walked out in protest. We made a scene out of it because we weren’t happy that our special day was going down in such a small and petty manner.

And that incident gave birth to Creedence Clearwater Revisited?
You know without us knowing it, yes it did. A couple years later, when we started laying the foundation for this project the idea was definitely that we could and we should do something like this to show the world that it wasn’t all about that one guy.

I’m guessing then, that the possibility of a full, surviving-members-of-Revival-reunion is not a strong one?
That’s right. I guess anything could happen but if the past is any indicator I’d say it’s not likely. Some 40 years later has there been any significant change of attitude towards something like that? Probably not. It kind of comes and goes every decade or something, but the older you get the harder it gets to walk back into the fire.
[Fogerty indicated he might be open to the possibility in this Rolling Stone interview last year.]

Just one more quick reference to the past, what exactly did you guys have against Lodi?
It’s my recollection that we never even played in Lodi, but we played in all the little towns around it. All those little towns up and down the California central valley is where we learned how to play together, when we were The Blue Velvets playing teen clubs and so on. I guess Lodi just sort of represented all of those gigs; the pizza places where they wanted you to tone it down, and they didn’t want to pay you because nobody showed up. It’s a sad song, it’s not really different from the story of people coming to Hollywood, very few make it, and the song was written from the perspective of a guy who didn’t. We were sort of at the bottom of our hopes at that point. It had been many, many years of failure, but if you’re smart you learn from it. We had some pretty good schooling.

Has anyone every approached you guys about doing a movie of the band’s story? It seems like you have all the ingredients for a great rock biopic.
Oh my god! Can you imagine sorting the egos out of that one?

Well, who would you like to play you?
Gene Hackman, I want a young Gene Hackman to play me.

Okay then, just one more world-of-make-believe question. If you could go back into the history of rock and roll and choose to be a part of one classic rock song, which would you choose?
I’d like to have played bass on Sympathy for the Devil.

Be sure to catch Creedence Clearwater Revisited in town for one night only – details below. It’s sure to be a big party.

Happy trails!

Mrs. Sun

Details: Creedence Clearwater Revisited perform Tuesday, August 28, doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $79, don’t wait, they’re almost gone. Buy them here or call 208.622.2135. The lawn is open ($29), with the performance broadcast on the giant LED screen. Blankets and low-backed chairs welcome. Coming from out of town? Sun Valley Resort is offering a lodging package $138.50 per person, double occupancy, (single occupancy $223) for one night’s lodging and two show tickets. Call 800-786-8259.

 

Mrs. Sun’s guide to a fun-filled Fourth

Fire and Ice combine in Sun Valley for a rollicking good Fourth.

As I mentioned a few posts back, the one thing I hate about summer in Sun Valley is that there is simply not enough time to enjoy everything there is to do. The next eight days in the valley will prove me right as the Sun family embarks on a marathon of fun that will barely scratch the surface of what’s on offer. Having experienced it all a few times over, I thought I’d share my plan for getting the family through a week of exhaustive Fourth of July fun.

Saturday, June 30
We’ll kick the week off with a gentle morning in the Wood River YMCA pool, then head out for a family hike, the combination of which will ensure Little Sun and Baby Sun are happily tuckered out for the babysitter. This will allow Mr. Sun and I to enjoy a patriotic evening of pops and arias at the Sun Valley Summer Spectacular, featuring International Diva Alyson Cambridge (I wish I could be an International Diva – how does one get that job title?).

Sunday, July 1
In anticipation of the astounding defeat of Roger Federer by Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final next Sunday (a Brit can dream can’t she?), we’ll take our own future Wimbledon champ along to the Sun Valley Lyle Pearson Tennis Tournament to  pick up a few tips. We’ll then finish off the weekend with some locally-brewed beer and Idaho potatoes at Trail Creek Cabin’s Sawtooth Brewery Beer Dinner.

Monday, July 2
Born in the Wild West, Mr. Sun will insist on attending Family Night at the Days of the Old West Rodeo in Hailey. Not that I don’t enjoy rodeos, but having grown up in a city curiously bereft of the need to wrangle cattle I do find it all a little baffling (especially when they lasso those cute little calves). But as long as I can keep telling Little Sun he’s too young for mutton bustin’ all will be well (although I’m sure the fearless Baby Sun will sneak off on the first passing sheep). I’ll just have to console myself with gawping at the gorgeous Rodeo Queens.

Tuesday, July 3
The place to see and be seen (at least until the Symphony rolls in to town) on Tuesday nights is Ketch’em Alive. This low-key, free, weekly concert at Ketchum’s Forest Service Park is perfect for the whole family. Just one of the many reasons I simply love summer.

Wednesday, July 4
The big day itself. Being American-born and British-raised, Independence Day has always sat a little uncomfortably with my dual nationalities, but who doesn’t love a parade? And that’s where I’ll be come noon, jealously guarding a prime slice of Hailey Main Street real estate, ready to wave vigorously as Mr. Sun rolls by in a big red fire truck with Baby Sun and Little Sun dangling out the windows.  Then, after strapping the kids down for a nap to get them ready for the long night ahead, we’ll mosey on up to Sun Valley to watch 2011 US Gold Medalist Ryan Bradley spin in the first Sun Valley On Ice of the season, followed by the obligatory spectacular fireworks exploding over the Lodge.

Thursday, July 5
I will tolerate Mr. Sun’s efforts to turn my son into something other than a great British/American Wimbledon Champion by exposing him to the skills of the Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championship riders. The culmination of the week-long biking bonanza Ride Sun Valley, the championship races begin today on Baldy. We’ll watch as the best American cross-country, short track cross-country and Super D riders race for the chance to represent their country at the London Olympics (race start times).

Friday, July 6
Today, it will be Little Sun’s turn to show off his prowess on two wheels as he gets a chance to cover the same trails the pros do in the Ride Sun Valley Kid’s Mountain Bike Race. As you’ve no doubt gleaned by now I’m a bit of a nervous mother, and if it all gets too much for me I will head in to town for some wine and art at the superlative Sun Valley Gallery Association Gallery Walk.

Saturday, July 7
Time to ditch the highbrow (and the kids) for some good old fashioned partying at The Sun Valley Shakedown. There’s quite the line-up, but I’m particularly looking forward to the signature New Orleans-stylings of the Dirty 
Dozen
 Brass
 Band.

Sunday, July 8
Based on the fact that we have four times as many bikes in our house as people, the chances are high that the whole family will be back at Baldy today to see the culmination of the Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships. From the safety of the River Run Lodge we’ll be cheering on the insanely brave boys and girls careering down Baldy. As thrilling as that sight will be, it’s the one later this evening that I am most excited for. The week from will end in paradise as I watch angels dance on earth when the San Francisco Ballet‘s dancers, including the exceptional Maria Kochetkova, grace the stage of the Sun Valley Pavilion for one night only.

Then, if we actually manage to pull off a miracle and cram all this into one week, we’ll likely hibernate until winter rolls in (in about 2 weeks). But please do share, what will be missing out on? Where will you be this week?

Lonestar Concert

Lonestar Concert

August 15th, 2012

8pm

Sun Valley Pavilion

Tickets on Sale June 27th; Call Sun Valley Recreation for more information:  208-622-2135

Sun Valley Shakedown

Sun Valley Shakedown

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Festival Meadows

6pm–11pm

A night of incredible music in a festival atmosphere at the Sun Valley Festival Meadows.  Early Bird Tickets available from May 2-31 ($29 – pretty much a no-brainer).  All general admission from June 1 thru day of show ($34).  Purchase tix at Atkinson’s Markets or online at sunvalleyshakedown.com.  Vendors will be on hand for food and drink (no outside food/bev permitted).

 

This site is beautiful, but it’s no golf course. It’s on mostly flat, grassy terrain. If it rains, there will be mud. Please come prepared!  All entry access is from Sun Valley Road. ADA restrooms (porta-johns) will be available. ADA accessible parking will be available. You must present a valid ADA issue pass in order to park your vehicle.

Online ticket sales will be available until noon on the day of show. Assuming we haven’t sold out, tickets will be available at the door. Will-Call and ticket sales will be located together at the front gate and will open at 3pm on the day of the show. Tickets being sold at any other ticket location will close at their respective end of business hours the day before the show.

There are several great National Forest campgrounds located very close to the venue. Visit the Sawtooth National Recreation Area website for details and reservations or click this handy site for camping options – forestcamping.com/dow/intermtn/saw.htm

We love kids, so feel free to bring them. Children 10 and under will not be charged admission. Parents please be prepared to provide documentation of your child’s age if they appear to be older than 10. Keep in mind that this is a long evening of music. Parents – you are responsible for the supervision of your kids.

From Highway 75 in Ketchum, turn east on Sun Valley Road – you won’t miss it.

Bonnie Raitt with special guest Mavis Staples at Sun Valley Pavilion

Bonnie Raitt with special guest Mavis Staples at Sun Valley Pavilion

Thursday, August 30

7pm

Series tickets available to purchase for members April 13th @ 10am
Individual tickets available to purchase for members April 20th @ 10am
All tickets available to purchase by nonmembers April 27th @ 10am
Click here for series pricing chart

Pavilion Seating Map
There is no early entry for this show. All ticket holders will be admitted at 6pm.

Pavilion Seating Prices:
Tier 3: $50 / $60 nonmember
Tier 2: $60/$70 nonmember
Tier 1: $75 / $85 nonmember
Premium seats: $85/$95 nonmember

Lawn seats: $30/40 nonmember
(picnics will be allowed on the lawn at the Pavilion and the big screen will be in operation that night!)

Bonnie Raitt is a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose unique style blends blues, R&B, rock, and pop. After 20 years as a cult favorite, she broke through to the top in the early 90s with her Grammy award winning albums, ‘Nick of Time’ and ‘Luck of the Draw,’ which featured hits such as, “Something To Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” With nine GRAMMYs under her belt and a long history of social activism, she tours regularly incorporating many benefit concerts into her schedule. After a brief hiatus, Raitt is back and recharged with a batch of great new songs to play in her live set along with the tried and true favorites that have treated her very loyal following to countless memorable shows through the years. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s nineteenth album, ‘Slipstream,’ is daring, bluesy, and steeped with the inimitable slide guitar and soulful vocals that could only be hers. Out April 10, 2012, ‘Slipstream’ marks Raitt’s first new album in seven years, and the debut for her newly-minted label, Redwing Records.

Opening for Raitt is legendary gospel and rhythm and blues singer, Mavis Staples, who began her career over sixty years ago singing with her ground-breaking family group, the Staple Singers (“I’ll Take You There”, “Respect Yourself”). Staples has been nominated for Grammy awards in blues, gospel, folk, and pop categories and is the winner of the 2011 Best Americana Album award and a 2005 Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. With both The Staple Singers and on her own, Mavis is responsible for blazing a rhythm & blues trail while never relinquishing her gospel roots. Rolling Stone named Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself” among Top 500 Songs of All Time.

http://www.bonnieraitt.com/ 
http://www.mavisstaples.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Martini at River Run

Pink Martini at River Run presented by Sun Valley Center For The Arts

Monday, August 13

7pm

Series tickets available to purchase for members April 13th @ 10am
Individual tickets available to purchase for members April 20th @ 10am
All tickets available to purchase by nonmembers April 27th @ 10am
Click here for series pricing chart

GA member $35 / GA nonmember $45 EE member $75 / EE nonmember $85
EE = Early Entry Admission to venue at 6pm
GA = General Admission to venue at 6:15pm

“At one moment, you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and the next moment, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930s or a palazzo in Napoli. It’s a bit like an urban musical travelogue.” Comprised of twelve musicians, and drawing inspiration from music from all over the world – crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop – Pink Martini is like a rollicking around-the-world adventure.

http://pinkmartini.com

Sun Valley Opera’s Summer Spectacular Concert

Sun Valley Opera’s Summer Spectacular Concert

Sun Valley Pavilion

June 30; 8pm

American Festival Chorus and Orchestra and special guest Alyson Cambridge

Presented by Sun Valley Resort & Sun Valley Opera

For General Admission tickets, please contact Sun Valley Resort at 208-622-2135

or visit seats.sunvalley.com

 

 

 

 

A frequent and compelling presence on the recital and concert stages, lyric soprano Alyson Cambridge makes an encore appearance on the Sun Valley Opera’s concert stage.  Equally comfortable in her high and low ranges, Ms. Cambridge has been appearing to critical acclaim around the world, has been signed by Choppard Diamonds to appear in their ads and is part of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s bold new advertising campaign in which a 5-story poster of Alyson hangs on the outside of its building.

 

Kenny Loggins Concert with Blue Sky Riders!

Kenny Loggins Concert with Blue Sky Riders!

June 26th; 8pm

Sun Valley Pavilion

Tickets available for purchase at seats.sunvalley.com or call 208-622-2135

 

blueskyridersband

 

The Great British Invasion

The Great British Invasion!!Featuring U.K. bands, Thunder and The Union With Special Guest Marina V, this show is sure to rock the house.

The culminating event of an iconic Harley Davidson Charity Motorcycle ride organized by UK’s Childline Rocks to benefit UK, Canadian and U.S.  War Veterans is sure to have you dancing in the isles.

Starting at 5:00pm will be The Union which recently won Best New Breakthrough Act at last year’s Classic Rock Awards. Their vocalist Peter Shoulder is one of only three Britons ever to win a WC Handy Awards from The Blues Foundation of America, the other two being Peter Green and Eric Clapton.  Check ‘em out:  The Union Official Website.

After the Union wows you, get ready for more. of the members of Union will re-unite with members of Thunder.  Officially disbanded in 2009 they have come back together for just 2 appearances this year:  one in the U.K. and one right here in Sun Valley at the Sun Valley Pavilion!! Formed in 1989, Thunder was voted the best British live rock act…you won’t believe your ears:  Thunder Official Website

Doors:  4:00pm

concert: 5:00pm

Tickets :  seats.sunvalley.com or call 208-622-2135

Trey McIntyre Project

Trey McIntyre