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Doug 'Cosmo' Clifford: ‘I haven’t grown up yet’
Doug “Cosmo” Clifford put the groove in some of the most recognizable songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Today he’s still on stage behind the drum set, entertaining fans who include many born after the chart-topping music.
Clifford is one of the original members of Creedence Clearwater Revival, a popular American rock band that enjoyed several years of success before splitting up in 1972. Since 1995 he’s been a key member of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, a band he formed with original bassist Stu Cook—and without singer John Fogerty.
A simmering feud with Fogerty has kept a full reunion well out of reach, but Clifford and Cook continue to perform the band’s many original hits with other players.
The pair originally planned to only play private parties, but with demand for songs like “Proud Mary,” “Lodi,” “Down on the Corner,” Fortunate Son” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” Creedence Clearwater Revisited is now performing nearly 100 concerts each year.
On Friday, Sept. 6, the band will play a largely sold out show at River Rock Show Theatre. Tickets start at $64.50, and are available through ticketmaster.ca or 1-855-985-5000.
1. How much fun are you having with Creedence Clearwater Revisited? If I were having any more fun I would have to stick a sharp stick in my eye.
2. Will there ever be a reunion with John Fogerty? No.
3. What’s the origin of ‘Cosmo’? It is a nickname that was bestowed on me in college based on my nature studies.
4. How many shows are you doing now—and what do you think of the pace? 75 a year, and the pace depends upon the length of time out per run, meaning how many back-to-back shows.
5. What’s your favourite song to play? “Born On The Bayou.” It’s based on a simple beat and a very powerful song.
6. What’s the best percussion innovation? I would have to say V drums, electronic drums that an actual drummer plays. You can create any drum sound in the world and it’s played by the drummer, not a drum machine.
7. Worst percussion innovation? The drum machine.
8. What did you want to be when you grew up? First of all, I haven’t grown up yet and I plan to keep it that way.
9. What was the first instrument you played? The drums—it was a natural fit.
10. To whom do you owe your success? I would say my bandmates—we were a tight unit. We overcame every obstacle but success. Once we reached the top, it was unchartered territory. It’s easy to be a unit when you’re starving.
11. What’s the best advice you received as a young musician? Stay true to what you like. That’s what we did in the band. We didn’t play things that were faddish, we stuck with the genre of roots American music. Don’t play something you’re not comfortable with because you think it will bring you success. It won’t and it will bring you frustration.
12. What was your favourite band growing up? There were several. Elvis as a solo artist, Little Richard and his band who were great. The core of studio musicians from New Orleans, they backed up any different artist.
13. What drives you to continue in music? It’s in the blood.
14. Most unusual venue you’ve played? Woodstock was weird in a good way. It will never happen again.
15. Most embarrassing moment on stage? Saying hello to the wrong city. I said hello Felton and the town was Ashton.
16. What bands/musicians do you admire today? I love Bruno Mars, think he’s spectacular. I like a lot of the country guys. I love Rascal Flatts, their singing style is very gospel and I like his delivery. I like Keith Urban, straight forward and simple. Bruno really has a unique style and I appreciate him.
17. How do you stay in shape? I work out and eat healthfully. I do cardio and weights, stretching, meditation.
18. Favourite post-concert snack? Organic peanut butter and banana on one piece of whole grain bread.
19. What’s your favourite meal to cook? I love to cook fresh sockeye salmon on the grill with olive oil, garlic and lemon.
20. What’s something few people know about you? Everything I don’t want them to know.