Creedence drummer’s happy beat


As open air gigs go, the Queenstown Events Centre show on Sunday might not rank as the most memorable of Doug ‘Cosmo’ Clifford’s career. 

But then he did play Woodstock. 

The Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer brings more than 40 years’ rock ‘n’ roll history with him to town this weekend. 

CCR were the first to sign a contract for the generation-defining festival on farmland in Upper State New York in 1969. They split just a few years later. But in 1995, the rhythm section reformed as Creedence Clearwater Revisited and hit the road again. 

Clifford, 66, says: “They had to take us in to Woodstock by helicopter – all the roads were blocked with cars 10 miles back. 

“As we came over the hill, I said ‘Look, this is a patchwork quilt of humanity’ – that’s what it looked like, just people everywhere. It went up the mountain, it was unreal. 

“It was just unbelievable. We’d seen 150,000 at the festivals but there were probably 400,000 there. 

“Then it rained and we had problems with the electronics and everything. But people shared what they had with complete strangers and just decided to have a good time. You could feel that energy, you could actually feel it; it was like electric in that sense. 

“We got on way later than we thought we would and played and then we had to get out, which was another challenge. We found a farm boy with snow tyres and he drove us literally off the roads. 

“It was a magic time. It will never happen again and it was great to be part of it.” 

Clifford and bassist Stu Cook are the only ones left from the Revival. 

Their relationship with original singer-songwriter frontman John Fogerty ended in much-publicised bitter lawsuits. 

Fogerty hinted in a recent interview that time had healed old wounds and he would consider a reunion. 

But Clifford says: “I read the article, but you know he never talked to us about it. 

“If he was serious he would have gotten a hold of us and said something so maybe he’s trying to look better in the eyes of the fans. 

“What I will say is that it’s nice to open up an article that John has done and not having him bash us, you know. 

“I’m sure if there ever was a reunion there would be huge money involved but I choose happiness over money. I’m basically very happy with the band I’m in now. I like the way we play the songs, I like everybody.” 

And while songs such as Bad Moon Rising, Born on the Bayou and Proud Mary may reveal the band’s age, their performance should not. 

“We play twice as long as we did back in the day,” says Clifford. 

“I practise a lot at home to stay in shape. You just enjoy things more as you get older. 

“You see young kids out there that weren’t even born, singing the words, I mean singing the words, and I just shake my head and say this is a great gift.” 

Catch Creedence Clearwater Revival play The Oval, Queenstown Events Centre on Sunday, February 5, from 5-8pm. Tickets are $89 and available online