Ex-Cars guitarist Elliot Easton denies going mercenary for Fogerty-less CCR




By Steve Newton

When a band calling itself Creedence Clearwater Revisited comes to the Pacific Coliseum on Friday (May 3), former Creedence Clearwater Revival leader John Fogerty will not be along for the ride. The lifeblood of the original CCR had been drained during a vicious court battle in which Fogerty lost custody of the great tunes he wrote, sang, and played lead guitar on during the band’s late-’60s/early-’70s heyday.

But this “Revisited” version does have an intriguing guest in tow: erstwhile Cars guitarist Elliot Easton. So is Easton only on the tour for mercenary reasons?

“I don’t feel like that in the slightest,” the 42-year-old picker says, on the phone from his California home. “I feel like an innocent, basically. I had nothing to do with whatever brought the fellows to the point where they’re not working with John. Somebody was going to be playing the guitar stuff, and Stu and Doug [CCR bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford] are two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in the business. So the word mercenary wouldn’t really come up at all, man; it’s not like that. We’re just havin’ a good time playin’ music.”

The Long Island native met Cook after moving to California three years ago, and since both were fans of each other’s previous groups, Easton got first dibs on the guitar spot when Cook decided to revisit Creedence.

“I played the stuff a lot in my high-school band,” Easton says of the CCR tunes. “I have always been a genuine fan of Creedence—which might be surprising, considering the Cars were sort of an English-influenced, modern-pop band. But comin’ up I was a huge fan of Creedence and The Band and Taj Mahal and Mike Bloomfield. Just good blues and kinda funky, rootsy American music.

“We certainly expect a certain degree of skepticism when we go into a place,” he adds, “but if you’re a fan of the music and you want to give it a chance, I feel very confident that you’d walk away very happy after seeing the show. I think we more than do justice to the music.”

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