Again I must ruefully and regretfully ask, "What's this shit?!" CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVISITED?!? Why, I awta . . . slowly I turned . . . step by step . . . inch by inch . . . the horror, the horror . . . exterminate all brutes!
No wonder John Fogerty's been such an unrepentant douche bag to his former band mates. The very idea of a touring "Creedence" without Fogerty is so outrageous it's something like . . . well, it's like a touring Creedence without Mistah Fogerty. I can't think of a worse rip-off analogy because, of course, Creedence was Fogerty, and I'm belaboring the obvious in stating that. He wrote all the songs and sang them, too (unless you count the regrettable Mardi Gras album, a failed attempt at democracy and spotlight-sharing). He—not his late brother Tom—played all them nice, swampy guitar parts, too. So now you have bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford—a perfectly competent rhythm section, by which I mean there are three dozen bar bands in any burg that are their equal or better—carrying on the "legacy." Plus a couple of guys I never heard of and some dork from the Cars named Elliot Easton who is not Rick Ocasek, and anyway, the Cars' lame-assed, prefab new wave had about as much in common with Creedence as Britney Spears has with Koko Taylor. To top it off, they have the unmitigated motherfucking gall to charge almost 50 bucks per ticket for this touring lie, this cynical thievery, this partial-birth abortion?!?
I don't know who to feel sorrier for: Fogerty, for suffering yet another horrendous indignity, as if the whole Saul Zaentz fiasco weren't bad enough; Cook and Clifford for stooping to depths so pathetic that they'll surely burn in rock & roll hell for this apostasy; or the glazy-eyed members of a gullible public who will gleefully suckle at any teat proffered in the blind quest for comforting nostalgia. Taste the milk and burn in hell at the Sun Theatre on Thursday, April 27.
If comforting nostalgia is your thang but you're too embarrassed to support a bogus Creedence, hike on over to the Coach House on Friday night and check out THE CHANTAYS and THE SURFARIS. Both OC-bred bands are surf-rock royalty (they hit with "Pipeline" and "Wipeout," respectively, in the early '60s), and amazingly, most original members have been together more or less consistently since their glory days. I fess up to being no authority on surf rock, but I know I've always liked those stinging, reverb-drenched Telecaster licks and tight-popping snare hits. Reliable sources who do know their surf rock tell me that geezerhood has in no way affected these guys' twangy bitchenness, either. Plus, the ticket price is a very reasonable and realistic 15 bones. Sweet, dude!
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Is TOMMY CASTRO the next Fogerty? He's just about as righteously greasy a fellow, with a voice that at its best recalls soul men like Wilson Pickett and James Brown, some nasty-ass but tasty guitar work la Alberts Collins and King, and a growing catalog of original songs such as "Like an Angel," "Don't Turn Your Heater Down" and "Just a Man" that are getting closer all the time to approaching Fogerty's level of distinction. Then there's Castro's brand-new Live at the Fillmore album, wherein the band play every bit as tight 'n' funky as they have in the studio, plus come close to doing justice to Brown's groovecake masterwork, "Sex Machine"—no small accomplishment for a group of white boys from NoCal. The main difference between Castro and Fogerty, I suppose, aside from style, is that Castro's backup band kicks ass all over Fogerty's backup band, plus somehow I doubt that in 30 years they'll be touring sans the boss man as "Tommy Castro Revisited." Visit Tommy and his band Friday night at the Blue Cafe. The cover is a measly 10 bucks—the "oysuchadeal" of the week.
Is there such a thing as ROY CLARK nostalgia? Will he ever tour without Buck Owens as "Hee Haw Revisited"? I wouldn't put it past Mr. Applecheeks. Clark was so shameless as to actually, proudly release an album titled Best of—Live From Branson in 1995. And those awful gospel albums he keeps putting out every other year or so will surely consign him to an eternity in hell rather than their intended effect of scoring brownie points with Jesus. Although for all I know—and I may well know more than you'd ever imagine—a nice, hot turd fest might actually be Roy's idea of heaven. I say this, though, and I say it without hesitation: that feces-felchin' fatboy plays the holy beejeeziz out of a guitar. He even recorded an unlikely duo album with none other than Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown in 1979 that still makes my head spin around on my shoulders with glee when I hear it. Also—leave us forget—the man's name is Roy, and no finer name has been bestowed on a male child on these shores, ever, amen. Roy will be pickin' and grinnin' that shit-eatin' grin of his at the Crazy Horse on Wednesday night.
Want to hear some staggeringly fine acoustic blues that recalls the glory days of the Leroy Carr/Scrapper Blackwell duets—with Charley Patton, Bukka White, Jimmy Rushing, Professor Longhair and Ray Charles sitting in? Pick up the new COREY HARRIS & HENRY BUTLER CD, V D Menz, on Alligator Records. Guitarist Harris and pianist Butler are more than just two of the finest contemporary bluesmen on the scene; their gifts transcend the present day and place them in good company with anyone in blues history. Tackling a set of mostly original blues, rags and gospel, these guys restore faith in a too-often stale, clichd and lackluster genre by having not only the chops but also the sheer idiosyncratic personality to raise gooseflesh like the old-timers used to do. Butler's stride work is unparalleled in modern piano, and Harris' chilling bottleneck riffs are transplanted directly from 1930 to the present day. Both men sing with uncompromising grit and soul. This is a true meeting of modern giants and a sure bet to net blues-album-of-the-year honors from any number of quarters. Including the OC Weekly. But if Corey Harris tours alone down the line as "Corey Harris & Henry Butler Revisited," please shoot me. Better yet, shoot him.
Creedence Clearwater Revisited play at the Sun Theatre, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 712-2700. Thurs., April 27, 8:30 p.m. $35-$45; the Chantays and the Surfaris perform at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930. Fri., 8 p.m. $15; Tommy Castro plays at the Blue Cafe, 210 The Promenade, Long Beach, (562) 983-7111. Fri., 10 p.m. $10; Roy Clark performs at the Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon, 71 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (949) 585-9000. Wed., 8 p.m. $45-$55.