Creedence Clearwater Revisited will play CannaFest in Grand Forks on Aug. 12. Jeff Dow photo

Q&A with Doug ‘Cosmo’ Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revisited

Creedence Clearwater Revisited will headline CannaFest in Grand Forks this August.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited will headline CannaFest in Grand Forks this August.

The band features two of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s original members — drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford and bassist Stu Cook — who have been collaborating with other talented musicians since 1995 to revisit CCR’s classic hits.

Clifford and Cook go back even further than CCR. The two have known each other since the first day of Grade 7 in junior high school.

In anticipation of the band’s Grand Forks appearance, Black Press caught up with Clifford to talk rock.

Black Press: Why return to this music?

Doug Clifford: Well, because we had this terrific legacy of music and no one was performing it, including John Fogerty. Nobody was doing it and we were hearing it daily that it would be great to hear the music live again. So we went, “Well, we’ve got millions of fans out there that want to hear it and if we can put a band together that would do it justice, then we’ll give it a try.” And we were able to do that and this is our 23rd year with the project.

BP: When you and Stu Cook were looking for other musicians what was your criteria?

DC: First of all, they’d have to be good and very knowledgeable of the music, and have the right attitude about it.

BP: How has the show evolved since it started in 1995?

DC: We have a catalog to work with and it’s basically just putting together those pieces to make the show as good as it could be. In other words, the idea is to start and to build and to finish strong, and we’ve experimented with album cuts and this and that and the other thing, and we’ve come up with a pretty good formula.

BP: How have you and Stu Cook maintained a good working relationship for so long?

DC: Well, first of all, we’re exact opposites. If we were exactly alike it never would have worked. We work from our strong points, in other words, and the operation of it, he does a certain part of it, I do a certain part of it, and it balances out pretty nicely.

BP: What are your favourite songs to play live and why?

DC: I like all of them. They’re all hits, they all have their own particular magic, if you will, but my favourite Creedance song is “Born on the Bayou.” It’s just terrific and I love playing that a lot. And then of course “Suzie Q” and “Grapevine,” those are the stretch songs and we let our lead guitar player loose, and it’s always fun to watch him work and support what he’s playing.

BP: Have you been seeing younger audiences come out to the shows?

DC: Oh yeah. We have more young fans than older fans now. We have three generations and it’s pretty remarkable.

BP: Why do you think that is?

DC: If I knew I would probably know a lot more of everything, I would probably be ruling the world. But I think there’s a unique sound because we started playing when we were 13, so we were learning to play our instruments at the same time we were doing recording. Back in those days that was rare and so the combination of those things, learning to play, learning to record, as a unit, and a result of that we ended up with a very unique sound that has passed the test of time.

So a pretty amazing story. It took us 10 years to have our first hit. We started when we were 13 and the dream is still alive.

BP: What does it mean to you to have younger people coming out to the shows?

DC: I think it’s our greatest accomplishment. The toughest test of a pop medium is the test of time and to be multi-generational is remarkable. It doesn’t happen very often and we’re really glad that it’s worked out that way for us.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited will headline Saturday, Aug. 12 at CannaFest in James Donaldson Park and is scheduled to start midnight.

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