This year marks the end of the road for Creedence Clearwater Revisited, and, oh what a road it’s been. Starting off as a band with a five-year plan (basically hoping to make it to five years), the group has lasted a quarter of a century.
So, fans of classic rock mainstay Creedence Clearwater Revival better plan on making it out to the Kern County Fair on Thursday to catch the group’s original rhythm section — bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford — perform these songs live for quite possibly the last time.
“We’ve missed a lot of birthdays and it’s a sacrifice for the family,” Clifford said via phone interview from his home near Lake Tahoe. “The other things we wanted to do in life, we’ve completed that mission in spades.”
Between 1967 and 1972, Creedence Clearwater Revival, which also featured lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter John Fogerty and his brother Tom Fogerty on rhythm guitar, was a remarkable supernova of a band.
Their songs — including “Bad Moon Rising,” “Fortunate Son,” “Green River,” and their cover of Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q” — are eternal rock ’n’ roll staples. In fact, most of their hits are. As Clifford said, their music is multigenerational and has passed “the toughest test in the pop medium,” aka time.
The band’s breakup was acrimonious and bitter and even the group’s entry to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 did little to heal old wounds. It did, however, spur Clifford, aka “Cosmo” (as in “cosmic”) to reunite with Cook to form Revisited.
“Everybody, Stu included, calls me ‘Cos’ or ‘Cosmo,’” Clifford said. “If he’s pissed off with me, he calls me ‘Doug.’ That’s few and far between.”
“To me, there was no bitterness in (forming Creedence Clearwater Revisited). There was a lot of sweetness in it because we’re on every one of those records. We know what we brought to the table and (how we) helped create this sound and the music, so it felt really good to do it for the love of it and for the love and respect of the fans.”
And Clifford and Cook have their own love and respect for Bakersfield as well. The 1970 Creedence song “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” name-drops Buck Owens in John Fogerty’s lyrics and is a tip of the hat to the Bakersfield Sound. Clifford even remembers Bakersfield residents’ seeming imperviousness to our sweltering heat.
“I’ve got a lot of memories of Bakersfield,” Clifford said. “No. 1 — first and foremost — would be the music that came out of there. At our shows (with Revisited), we do a couple of country songs and Stu has a little narrative about country music, saying, 'We grew up listening to country music but it wasn't from Nashville. It was real country music and it was from Bakersfield!' Buck Owens, Don Rich, Merle Haggard and on and on and on. To us, that’s country music.”
One of the highlights in CCR's career was their performance at Woodstock and this year marks the music festival’s 50th anniversary. When talking about it, Clifford reflected on that event’s promise of connection and progress. He saw the festival’s transformative properties and potential firsthand.
“Stu said it best: ‘It wasn’t about the bands that were there, it was about the fans that were there,'" Clifford said. "Those 500,000 or so people, decided that for those three days they were going to have as much fun as they possibly could and they did.”
“People in the town (Bethel, N.Y.) were outraged that all these weirdos came in and took over their town, literally. But when they saw what was happening, and word came back that there was zero violence and (people) were behaving themselves, enjoying themselves. The people in town sent food over and support and were very surprised at how well-mannered a group of people — thrown-together strangers — could be in that situation.”
Creedence Clearwater Revisited, 8 p.m. Thursday, Budweiser Pavilion at the Kern County Fair, 1142 S. P St. Free with fair admission.
WhiskeyDick, James Hunnicutt, Stoned Evergreen Travellers, Dogbite Harris, Danny Garone, 8 p.m. Thursday, The Well, 7401 White Lane. Free.
For those of you who can’t make it to the fair and prefer music a bit more on the harder side, you’re in luck. Texas-based “heavy metal honky tonk” duo WhiskeyDick will perform at the newly opened venue The Well, where B Ryder's used to be.
These two play acoustic guitars with the intensity and chops of full-tilt shredders and fans of Pantera, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath should definitely seek them out and behold their power. A caveat: If the name didn’t give it away, these good-time hell-raisers are not for the easily offended and audience discretion is advised.
Also performing at the 21-and-over show is James Hunnicutt; the fantastic hellbilly Stoned Evergreen Travellers, out of Tacoma; Dogbite Harris; and local singer/songwriter Danny Garone.