Rousing Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival was a major force in rock music through the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. With John Fogerty’s signature raspy vocals and a driving rhythm section provided by Tom Fogerty, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook, CCR captured audiences.

The band played at Woodstock, as well as “The Ed Sullivan Show,” both in 1969, while churning out hits such as “Proud Mary,” “Born on the Bayou” and “Bad Moon Rising.” These classics still hold up with younger generations today.

Unfortunately due to creative differences, the group disbanded in 1972. However, more than 20 years later, Clifford and Cook got together to form Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995, bringing CCR’s hits back to the stage.

Their own revival group found great success touring the world, as fans were eager to hear the songs performed live again. Cook and Clifford decided to retire in 2020, after 25 rewarding years with their band.

However, the music lives on with two members of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, lead singer Dan McGuinness and lead guitar player Kurt Griffey. With Cook and Clifford’s blessing, these two started Revisiting Creedence and began performing in 2021.

“They’re fantastic,” Griffey said of his former bandmates Cook and Clifford. “They’re really very, very generous. Probably the coolest guys I ever worked for and they were just like one of the guys in the band, touring on the same tour bus with us the whole time. And they love what we’re doing and they’ve been very helpful in what we’re doing.”

Griffey has great notoriety in the music business and has played with notable musicians from the Eagles, Foreigner, the Moody Blues, Wings, Lynyrd Skynryd, Santana and Journey. He met Clifford and Cook through a friend who had joined Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

“How I met those guys was through Steve Gunner, who had just started with Creedence Clearwater Revisited in the mid-90s,” Griffey said. “At the time, I had just started doing a gig with an early all-star band called The World Classic Rockers. It had Randy Meisner from the Eagles in it, Spencer Davis, Denny Laine from Paul McCartney and Wings, a couple of the original Steppenwolf members and Bobby Kimball, the original singer from Toto. Both those gigs had started about the same time and Gunner doesn’t live too far from me so we met at the sushi bar and got talking and we had a lot of mutual friends.

“Then a year or so after we had met, we all ended up at a festival together and that’s when I met Stu and Doug, the original Creedence Clearwater Revival guys. At the time they had Elliot Easton from The Cars as the Creedence Clearwater Revisited guitar player, so I said to Gunner, ‘Hey if Easton ever leaves, have the guys give me a call.’”

However, Griffey almost missed his chance to become part of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, as he actually turned down the initial invitation while he was busy with another project.

“Sure enough, I get the call from Stu Cook,” Griffey said. “But I ended up backing out on them and the reason for that was I had left the World Classic Rockers and I’d started playing with Gregg Rolie, the original keyboard player and singer of Santana and Journey. We’d started a new project and it was kind of just getting going. The night that I made my decision, we were on our way to a gig up in the Bay area and Carlos Santana called on the phone and was talking to Gregg Rolie about collaborating with us. We get to the gig and then Neal Schon, the guitar player from Journey who also was in Santana, sat in and played with us that night. So I was thinking there was a lot of potential there, so I ended up calling up Stu and backing out on him. Several years later, fortunately he did call me again and I joined the band in the beginning of 2011, so I toured with them for a little over nine years.”

A little while later, McGuinness came into the picture, taking over lead vocals for the band.

“Dan had actually subbed for John Tristao (former lead singer of Revisited), on a couple of gigs before I even got with the band,” Griffey said. “Then around 2016, he started touring full time with us, so he did the last few years with us. We had a big final revival tour, which wrapped up in February of 2020. As that was wrapping up, Dan and I kept saying, ‘What are we going to do after this?’ We had such a good time playing together and these songs are so great so we thought we should just keep doing it. COVID railed us for a year, but then we did about five shows in 2021 and this year we had a pretty busy summer.”

Griffey and McGuinness will bring Revisiting Creedence to the Tropicana’s Pavilion Theater Saturday, Dec. 3, performing their own artistic depiction of the songs.

“Stu and Doug never wanted us to mimic or impersonate,” Griffey said. “They wanted us to be ourselves and put our own little thing into it. With this band there’s a real honest, truthful performance about it. We don’t come out wearing the plaid shirts and Dan doesn’t try to gruff up his voice and sing in a fake southern accent and all that stuff. He’s very gifted and an incredible singer. It’s the difference between an artist and a tribute band guy. I think there’s a realness about it. I think people pick up on that, that this is a real band, we’re not just out there trying to impersonate Creedence.

“All the guys in the band are seasoned musicians. Our drummer Ron Wikso and I were in Eddie Money’s band together and he was also in the World Class Rockers with me. Doug Clifford was out for a year battling cancer and Ron was actually the guy that Doug picked to fill in for him then. Matt Scarpelli is our bass player. He’s just fantastic, sings a great high harmony, he’s really fun and he’s a favorite for all the women. He’s our eye candy.”

There will be another member joining the group just for the Laughlin performance.

“Another little treat we have for this show coming up in Laughlin, is Steve Gunner, who retired along with Stu and Doug, is actually playing with us at the Tropicana in Laughlin just for the fun of it,” Griffey said. “Gunner was a 25-year veteran of Creedence Clearwater Revisited. He plays everything — acoustic guitar, piano, percussion, harmonica and sings high harmony. He adds a lot to it, he’s pretty cool.”

Revisiting Creedence keeps the music alive because it’s fun for them to play and the crowd absolutely loves it.

“It’s the best catalogue in the world,” Griffey said. “Everybody knows every word. There’s people that are in their 70s and then you’ll see kids and they’re all singing the songs. There’s not many bands that have that wide of appeal. It’s so fun watching everybody have such a blast. That’s the best thing as a performer is to be on stage playing for people who are having a blast. That’s what it’s all about.”