Tahoe’s clear water revives Creedence | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe’s clear water revives Creedence

Tim Parsons, Lake Tahoe Action

Rock 'n' roll is still fun for Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

Thank Lake Tahoe for Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

Creedence re-formed after Doug Clifford talked Stu Cook into visiting him at his Incline Village home.

“I was living in Los Angeles, and I figured it was time to get out of Dodge,” said Cook, a bass player who, along with drummer Clifford, constituted Creedence Clearwater Revival’s rhythm section.

CCR had broken up, with band leader John Fogerty pursuing a solo career. The fourth member, John’s brother Tom, died in 1990.

“Stu was thinking about moving back to the Bay Area,” Clifford said. “I said, ‘Why don’t you bring your family up here for a week?’ “

Cook still has vivid memories of driving over the Mount Rose Highway and seeing Lake Tahoe. As he was driving out of town a week later, he called a real-estate agent on his cell phone.

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As neighbors and former members of a band that for a few years was nation’s most popular, it was natural for them to get together and play.

“We were jamming in the studio with just bass and drums, and that gets boring pretty fast,” Clifford said. “We decided we needed the full complement of a band.”

Fogerty did not want to rejoin Clifford and Cook, whom he had grown up with in the East Bay, where they attended El Cerrito High School. Because of a dispute with a record label at the time, he even refused to play any of the old Creedence songs.

But Clifford and Cook didn’t want to start an entirely new project.

The first person to join the new Creedence was Cars guitarist Elliot Easton. Easton learned to play guitar as a youth by copying the numerous CCR hits.

Steve Gunner was recommended to join, so he was the next to come aboard as a multi-instrumentalist. After listening to tapes of 10 candidates for lead singer, Clifford and Cook invited four to audition.

“The fourth guy was John Tristao, and he’s been with us ever since,” Clifford said.

Easton recently left to revise the New Cars. (Todd Rundgren replaced Ric Ocasek, and Benjamin Orr has died.) Tal Morris is the new guitarist.

The band is now a five-piece in order for it to play live versions of the songs that were overdubbed in studio. Revisited has been a major success, playing more than 1,000 shows on every continent except Africa and Australia, Cook said.

“Probably one of the biggest shockers for us is the new audience,” Cook said. “They’re younger than my kids, some of them. They know the music, they love the music, and that’s what’s keeping it in the forefront. With all the new kinds of music that’s happened since the late ’60s, early ’70s, and Creedence is still one of the more popular bands anywhere. It still gets a lot of radio play, and it still sell lots of CDs.”

A few years ago, Clifford moved to the Reno-area golf community of Montreux, close to the airport. Cook moved to Austin, Texas, last year.

“Tahoe is a national treasure and one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it was time for us to move on,” Cook said. “We wanted a life with more options. After living in Incline for so many years, you realize there’s a very short summer, and that’s when everybody else comes to Incline.”