Proud Mary Bring To Life The Music Of Creedence Clearwater Revival

Proud Mary are a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute act from WA. Proud Mary are a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute act from WA.

One of the most enduring rock acts of the late '60s and early '70s, the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) lives on 50 years since the band broke up in 1972, but not before they had released seven studio albums in just five years.

The quartet of John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford, CCR produced a staggering amount of sing-along anthems and chart-topping jams.

'Fortunate Son', 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain', 'Bad Moon Rising', 'Down On The Corner' and 'Up Around The Bend' are all recognisable classics, but it's only the tip of the outstanding back catalogue the band created.

Now Brisbane audiences have the opportunity to walk down nostalgia lane for an evening of classic roots rock when Creedence Clearwater Inspired welcomes Proud Mary to the stage at QPAC next week (18 June).

"I had the idea for a long time that there needed to be a concert to celebrate the incomparable Creedence Clearwater, a band who really was here for a short, but good time with a huge number of memorable hits that are loved to this day by people of all ages," Creedence Clearwater Inspired producer Phil Bathols says.

"I undertook a search to find the right artists to bring this idea to fruition. It was not about trying to imitate the band, but to play their music to the highest level and I was thrilled to find the fantastic WA-based band Proud Mary.

"Led by founding members of award-winning Baby Animals, this is a group of superb musicians – Ryan Rafferty, Paul Cushing, Eddie Parise (ex-Baby Animals) and Frank Celenza (ex-Baby Animals) – who are positively the best I have seen in bringing the magic of Creedence's renowned music to life on stage.

"Credence Clearwater Inspired will be an unmissable event for Brisbane as we transport concert goers back to the birth of roots rock and a time when Creedence was truly the soundtrack of a generation."

Ahead of the show, Proud Mary's lead singer Ryan Raffety and bass player Eddie Parise sat down for a chat about all things CCR.

The impact Creedence Clearwater Revival has had on the world of music; how important are they to the canon of popular music?
CCR sang about the politics of their time from a people's perspective (for example 'Fortunate Son' – Congress making decisions for them which they didn't want).

Fogerty was kind of a spokesman for people at a subsistence level. His observations were of people at that socio-economic level too. His audience liked that he sang about them; suddenly they had a voice, a representation and not in a negative way. His earthy voice, simple chord structures and a message to his audience: "Hey, I'm with you. I get you."

Similar question, but why do you think Creedence songs still capture the imagination of music fans 50 years after they were created?
As I type this, I can hear a CCR song coming from the film my kids are watching. Like smell, music is a useful tool for nostalgia. So you could say a large part of it is the desire for some to return to the past.

Without getting political, it may be due to the fact that the attitudes and aesthetic of the time are still relevant. To go on from the previous question, CCR did really well to amalgamate what already existed as Americana and turn it into their own mammoth contribution to Americana.

Their lyrical content speaks of simpler times, the human condition, working hard and playing hard. Themes which have been part of the American spirit since colonial times. They then proceeded to set these themes to a country-cajun soundtrack and the rest is history.

What can the audience expect from this two-hour show from Proud Mary? Do you focus on particular albums?
Because Proud Mary focus generally on all their hits, it means that every album gets a mention as their hits expand across their whole catalogue of seven albums.

Do you have to be a Creedence fan to enjoy the show, or is a love for live music enough?
If you enjoy a party you'll enjoy the show. It's party music.

For diehard Creedence fans, anything extra special you'll be delivering; maybe performing a couple of their lesser known hits or rarities?
Oh for sure, we will definitely satisfy the palates of the diehard.

As a tribute act, how important is it to master Creedence's music first (as opposed to onstage antics, outfits) and provide that hit of genuine nostalgia for audiences?
It is absolutely crucial to maintain the integrity of that sound. Well, as close as we can get to it because that sound is what drew the listener in in the first place.

In saying that, there are four different musicians playing the songs so we tend to give it our slight flavour. That's probably the magic of Proud Mary and why it's become so popular.

Have you been told, heard about any crazy CCR stories or urban myths you wish to share?
There are a lot of stories out there, but John himself speaks openly in a lot of interviews on YouTube about the demise of CCR. Sad really how it all fell apart, especially having his brother Tom in the band. Tom died in 1990 having never really reconciled with John.

Which CCR song has been the hardest to learn?
None of the songs are terribly technical, but 'Ramble Tamble' was a tricky arrangement. The hardest part has been reworking some of CCR's longer arrangements into a version that works in a live show.

And which CCR song always gets the biggest reception/ response from the crowd?
Sing-along songs like 'Midnight Special' and 'Cotton Fields', radio staples like 'Bad Moon Rising', 'Heard it Through The Grapevine'.

Away from CCR covers, does Proud Mary have any original material you incorporate into the show?
Yes. We have tracks/ ideas pencilled down. When we collectively feel the time is right we will have a stab at releasing our own material.

Creedence Clearwater Inspired featuring Proud Mary takes place at QPAC's Concert Hall (Brisbane) 18 June.



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