Good music never dies. Just ask Stu Cook, the bassist from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Creedence Clearwater Revival, who co-founded spinoff quintet Creedence Clearwater Revisited almost 20 years ago with his fellow bandmate Doug "Cosmo" Clifford. The two never expected that they'd gain a following returning to CCR's greatest hits, but now they're almost constantly on the road and have even released an album. We caught up with Stu during a break in Revisited's packed touring schedule to discuss how far this group has surpassed expectations.
Why does he think the music continues to attract not only original fans, but new audiences as well? "They're great songs. Good recordings. Good performances on the records. The kind of things that add up to something that becomes timeless," he told us. "What's happened is radio and the fans have just embraced the band and passed it on. We've been inherited by generation after generation.
"It's not about us," he added. "It's really about the fans and the music. It's our job to deliver it, to play it as well as we can. That's what leads to having a great time for all of us all night. The audience receives and gives back, and that's what gets us to the next show."
Speaking of shows, the band - Stu, Doug, lead singer John Tristao, lead guitarist Kurt Griffey, and multi-instrumentalist Steve Gunner - do a lot of them. Up to a hundred shows a year, which equals about one every three to four days, a challenging schedule for any musician. What's it like to be constantly on the go?
"It used to be pretty exciting; now it's the norm. That's what you have to do if you're in a traveling band," Stu told us. "We're happy to be employed at this point in our lives!"
"Some of the places we've played, it's been just amazing to say we were there. We've played on every continent but Africa, I think," he added. "It's not any one particular accomplishment, it's just that night after night, year after year...we can deliver this music to the fans' satisfaction."
"We play the music as true as we can remember to the original recordings," Stu explained. "We had to find other personnel for the band that could pull that off. We've got a great singer. We've got a great guitar player. You've got the [original] Creedence rhythm section. And we've added a fifth musician to play the overdubs. Our aim is to recreate."
They've been so successful at recreating that by popular demand, Creedence Clearwater Revisited released a live double album, Recollection, in 2003. Then of course, the packed houses at these countless live shows throughout the world all speak for themselves. Though the original band hasn't been around for more than 40 years, Revisited has done a phenomenal job of keeping their music alive and well for a new generation.
Stu can appreciate that longevity. Already having been inducted into the Hall of Fame with the original band, he's got nothing to prove and nothing to worry about other than enjoying the ride. "This is a live performance music project that Doug and I created to get us out of the house, and to have some fun and to reconnect with our fans. We had no game plan, really, other than 'Let's go have some fun,'" Stu laughed. "As it turns out, some twenty years down the road, we had a good idea!"