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June 29, 2017

Should bands play on after the loss of their frontman?

Some bands come back without their most prominent member, like Journey has done successfully; and CCR keeps on chugging without John Fogerty

Losing a frontman was once regarded as akin to living without a head. 

Kurt Cobain didn’t just kill himself, but also Nirvana when he committed suicide in 1994. The same could be said for Joy Division when Ian Curtis offed himself a generation ago. It’s been 30 years since Morrissey sang with Johnny Marr as a member of the Smiths. Marr never considered replacing the Moz.

Robert Plant absolutely refuses to take part in a Led Zeppelin reunion. There have been rumors that Jimmy Page is willing to tour with another vocalist, such as Whitesnake’s David Coverdale, but there isn’t an ounce of truth to those rumblings.

But certain bands move on, and a number quite successfully without their singer. Journey is selling out shows and may be more popular than ever even though their longtime vocalist Steve “The Voice” Perry hasn’t been with the band for 20 years. The Dead & Company is extraordinarily popular 22 years after the death of Jerry Garcia. New addition John Mayer has reenergized the band. Hundreds of fans were looking for tickets last weekend when Dead & Company sold out the BB&T Pavilion.

And then there is Creedence Clearwater Revisited, who will perform Friday at SugarHouse Casino. Vocalist-guitarist-icon John Fogerty hasn’t sung with his former CCR bandmates since the days of the Nixon administration. But Creedence Clearwater Revisited continues to chug along without Fogerty.

“You have to move on,” former Creedence Clearwater Revival/Creedence Clearwater Revisited drummer Doug Clifford said.

“At least that’s how we feel in this band. We love the music and the fans do too. They still come out to see, and so we still play live.”

Fogerty, who wrote all of the classic Creedence Clearwater Revival songs, has stated that he will not get back with his former bandmates.

“It all starts with John,” Clifford said. “He doesn’t like me or [CCR bassist] Stu [Cook]. Life is too short to be that way.”

Fogerty isn’t crazy about the fact that Clifford and Cook can tour under a CCR moniker.

“We can do that because of the people who own the trademark,” Clifford explained. 

There are other bands in the same situation as us. The original singer is gone, but a band goes out anyway, and we’re happy.”

“Each person in the band owned a quarter of the trademark. Stu and I are 50 percent of the band. John has stated that we’re trying to fool the public, but that’s inaccurate. We have always been upfront about the fact that John is not in our band. No one that has ever attended one of our shows has asked for their money back or walked out asking where John Fogerty is. I think everyone knows that we’ve been apart for many, many years. That’s the way it goes.”

When Creedence Clearwater Revisited appears Friday at SugarHouse Casino, while fronted by Dan McGuinness, expect one hit after another.

“People never get tired of the CCR songs,” Clifford said. 

“If they want to hear the songs, why shouldn’t we play them? There are other bands in the same situation as us. The original singer is gone, but a band goes out anyway, and we’re happy.”

Creedence Clearwater Revisited appears Friday, June 30 at SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Ave., Philadelphia. Tickets are $49 and $69. Show time is 9 p.m. Call 877-477-3715 for more information or click here