The Big Wheel Stops Turning for Creedence Clearwater Revisited

Creedence Clearwater Revisited wind things down after 25 years
Creedence Clearwater Revisited wind things down after 25 years Jeff Dow
It might feel like a bad moon rising for some fans to hear that Creedence Clearwater Revisited are calling it quits after 25 years. The band members, however, joyfully are bringing things to a close.

What started as a "project" for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s original drummer and bassist — Doug “Cosmo” Clifford and Stu Cook — turned into a fun quarter-century of performing the legendary band’s gritty, bluesy rock songs. Currently, Dan McGuiness handles the vocals and rhythm guitar duties, Kurt Griffey plays lead guitar, and Steve Gunner plays a few things, including keys and harmonica.

No one is giving up creating music, Clifford says. Putting the lid on touring, though, will give them time to focus on some other things in their lives. He, for one, is excited to hang out with his grandchildren.

“Creedence Clearwater Revival had its 50th anniversary in 2018, so that’s a lot of time we’ve put in,” he says. “We thought we might get five years out of Revisited and it turned in to 25, so we’d done all we can do in that arena.”

His endurance for travel isn’t what it once was, either. “You know, flights get canceled at will, there’s lots of driving, and I’m a drummer, and you know, most of us have bad backs," he says. "Now I’m gonna give the body a rest and spent time with the family — that includes five little grandkids.”

Clifford says it all with a lightness and contentment that sounds far happier than the grumbles that usually accompany talk of aching bones. “We’ve had a platinum album with Creedence Clearwater Revisited, and we didn’t expect that,” he adds.

Since Clifford and Cook have been rocking together since they were kids in the ‘60s — forming Credence Clearwater Revival along with original members John Fogerty (vocals and lead guitar) and his brother Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar) in California — Phoenix New Times asked Clifford how much separation anxiety he might have without Cook’s company.

“We’re big boys and we’ve had to be apart before," he says with a laugh. "Our friendship has always been there, so I don’t see anything changing in that arena, ever."

The two even went to San Jose State together, ending up in the same fraternity, where Clifford got the Cosmo moniker.

“It was like the Animal House of San Jose State,” he tells us. “That place was a pigsty — half-eaten hamburgers on the floor — so of course we got an ant and rodent problem, which I handled. The guys used to call me Clifford C. Clifford, not sure why. Anyhow, not long after I got that rodent problem under control, we had wine party, and one of the first 50 guests asked what the ‘C’ stood for. Before I could answer, someone else said, ‘It stands for Cosmo, and he’s cosmic — he’s a man of nature,’ and it stuck like poop on a shoe."

With their lives being intertwined for so long, it’s no wonder that they create fervor as a rhythm section, keeping the robust pace and groove of those thick and swampy hits like “Proud Mary,” “Fortunate Son,” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain?”

Clifford says they keep the Revisited set to Creedence-specific material, and there’s no weaving in anyone’s solo material or anything like that. “We revisit the material of Creedence Clearwater Revival and stick to that.”

He cites “Born on the Bayou” as his favorite Creedence song. “It was fun to take that groove and build on it,” he says, talking about the song’s development. “I played eight notes on the high hat and some quarter notes on the cymbal and bell of the cymbal, giving it a certain power while the guitars which made that grove swayed back and forth. I love “'Susie Q.,' too, that’s a good jam.”

After all these years, he still sounds damn delighted to roll out the classics. “Whatever I’m playing at the time, that’s my favorite at the moment. It’s a joyful occasion to get up there and play all of them.”

Something else that he’s jazzed about is seeing the different ages of the fans that come out in droves to hear those tunes. “It’s five generations I see out there — three generations plus one starting to fade in attendance and a very young one starting to emerge. It’s the circle of life going round and round.”

The band’s final tour will wind down in 2020, but Clifford has some other things on the back burner already, like a solo record. He’s also not opposed to some Revisited one-offs in the future. “If something comes up and it’s interesting, and we can pull all the guys together, we’ll surely consider that."

Creedence Clearwater Revisited are scheduled to perform on Saturday, October 5, at The Showroom at Wild Horse Pass Casino. Tickets are $69 to $119 via
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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young