"Cosmo's vault of course," he said with a hearty laugh, "it is out there and chuck full of musical delights which will eventually see the light of day and we've got one of the best ones right now; The Clifford/Wright Project. This has some really terrific players on it; it sounds great. I actually listened to it like a guy who just picked it up at a local record shop (laughs); I sat and listened to it and I don't do that too often."
Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, the backbeat and backbone of legendary rock 'n' roll band Creedence Clearwater Revival continues to impact music today as he has dug deep into his personal vault and come up with yet another treasure trove of gems for our listening pleasure.
The last time "Cosmo" delved into his personal stash, "Magic Window" was the result; a project which seemed to awaken his creative conscience but if that was an awakening; this is an all-out rebel rousing. Recently, he recounted the story of his partnership with bassist Steve Wright and how these recordings became unearthed.
"They came from the same place, they were just done at a different time," Clifford explained. "They were done in 1980 when I was trying to put a band together with Steve Wright from the Greg Kihn Band; bass player extraordinaire and songwriter from El Cerrito where Creedence Clearwater Revival started. He was a hometown boy who was a fan of ours and I didn't know him. He came to my house, knocked on my door and introduced himself and I knew his brother from high school. So, we started hanging out, one thing led to another and the next thing we knew we were writing songs and then we decided that we had a bunch of songs and we were sure that we'd be able to continue to write; there was a million things to write about. So, we started putting a band together and that's why we recorded those songs but back then you needed to play live to get a record deal. You could get interested from a record company with recorded music but then they'd want to see how you performed on stage and wanted to meet you as individuals; Steve didn't want to go out and play so that sort of put that one to bed and into the vault it went. That's when I did my solo album; I figured I'd get a band together and I'd go out and play and that's when life came into the picture. I had kids of course and all of those things were happening and then I got involved in a project called "Neighbors for Defensible Space," which is managing fuels around your house and an environment which I still live in and right now we're surrounded by massive fires; that program was the number one program of its kind in the nation. So, I'm involved with that and became the "Citizen of The Year" for the Chamber of Commerce; I was the only citizen of the year for the Chamber of Commerce who wasn't a member of the Chamber of Commerce (laughs). I used my celebrity to open doors and I studied by using the university biology department for information on how to do the work without upsetting the soil because of the clarity of the lake which was a big problem but anyway; here we are and time goes by and music lies dormant waiting to be heard by friends and fans from all over the world."
This is more than a desire to release some found tracks; Clifford had a personal attachment to Wright and together they had some very talented friends. Listening to him talk of this release, one can sense pride and satisfaction with the finished product.
"Steve passed away in 2017 and he was a great player; his playing in the rhythm section, it really was fun making these records. We were really enjoying each other's work and the band really cooks and it will give people a last chance to hear him as a player and all of the songs that we wrote together and hear the songs delivered by a terrific singer named Keith England who really kicks big-time ass with his pipes; he really did a terrific job singing. Then we have pedigree guitar players; we have Joe Satriani on four tracks, we have Greg Douglas from Steve Miller and the Greg Kihn Band on a few tracks and Jimmy Lyon from Greg Kihn and Eddie Money. So, I've got some really good players and a couple of keyboard guys who are amazing; it is a really good record to listen to and in these days that are pretty weird; you can actually sit back and go to another place and groove. I'm very excited about it and I'm excited for all of the guys that came together on the session; we had a lot of fun making it and we wanted to pass that on to our fans."
"The record is called "For All The Money In The World," it's 11 tracks and you can find it on my website and anywhere that you download music; it's the first song on the album and it's a love song and it's a shuffle which is cool because I love shuffles and Creedence didn't do one. The chorus line and the gist of the song is that the individual in the story wouldn't give up his love for this girl for all of the money in the world; so, that's the story."
"They are the original records mastered and edited; that's exactly what I've done," he continued. "When you have masters it's pretty hard to do things, you can use different frequencies to boost things or go the other way and reduce but anything else that is in those frequencies is going to be affected by it; it's a real art to be able to do that. Pro Tools were used to edit and do a lot of the compression; we actually did some surgery and chopped some things out and tighten things up a little bit and it is really sounding great right now. The single "For All The Money In The World" is out now and a second single, "I Need Your Love" is coming out; it's a power ballad, a high energy rocker and then on August 27 the album is going to be released. There's a bunch of really good ones on this album and they'll be fresh; what we used to do as Creedence Clearwater Revival was put singles out in between albums and back then the cardinal rule was don't put singles out in front of an album because you'll lose sales. Well, it didn't work that way for us; we didn't lose sales and it kept us on the radio and in people's minds they knew that when that single ran its course there would be an album with a bunch of singles on it coming their. So, we kind of trained our fans that way and radio as a matter of fact and if it wasn't for radio I wouldn't be talking to you because we had a jazz label that we were on and they didn't know anything about rock'n' roll except that rock 'n' roll bands made a lot more money than jazz records did and their motivation was to just make money. So, they kept saying that we had to have a gimmick; so, they called us The Golliwogs and put us in these ridiculous uniforms. We said; how about a hit record? We think that's a pretty good gimmick; what do you think? We got rid of those guys and the name and came up with the name Creedence Clearwater Revival and the rest as they say is history (laughs)."
OK; so, how did they come up with the name Creedence Clearwater Revival?
"There were a lot of pots of coffee over that one," he said with a laugh, "It took us about two weeks to come up with that one; we had pages of names. Tom Fogerty worked with a fella from South Africa named Creedence and we thought that was a pretty cool name and then again we thought, if we name this after him; we're gonna have to pay him a piece of the action and we didn't want to do that. So, Creedence is truth, honesty and that's what we were doing with our music. We weren't playing psychedelic music just because it was popular and the "You need a gimmick" type mentality. We stayed with what we knew and who we were and that turned out pretty well so, the first part of the name was clicking. Clearwater was a combination of two things, "Cool Clear Water" was a beer and it had a nice visual; a little waterfall coming down over a babbling brook and we liked the way it sounded and also I was into ecology and things of that nature way before it became popular. So, I was always educating the boys about the things they should not throw away and the things that they should, habitat and all of those things so, that was part of it. Revival was a revival of ourselves; no more gimmicks in front of the music. We'll stick with it and not fall into the trap of somebody who didn't know what they were doing."
Now that Creedence Clearwater Revisited is no longer touring as Clifford and Stu Cook have officially retired; what does "Cosmo" do to keep active?
"I play my drums everyday pretty much; it's good exercise for me and it is just part of my life. I exercise and I also play and it's a good exercise because I'm using all four of my limbs playing drums and it is also good for the soul; it's part of my daily ritual. Sometimes I'll even put CDs on; I played with James Brown the other day (laughs). There are ways to make it interesting, I played with Bonnie Rait the other day too; I can pick who I want and it allows me to play music that I want to play and that can make a big difference."
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!