Back in May I had a conversation with Creedence Clearwater drummer Doug Clifford about his new album release, Magic Window. The album was created from tapes Doug made back in 1985, but they had gotten tucked away when life made other plans for him.
If Doug wasn’t such a friendly, down-to-earth and open guy ready to talk, I could have fit all we talked about into one article. But he is, and I couldn’t, so here’s the rest of our conversation.
The last time I saw and photographed Creedence live was in March of 2019. I asked Doug if he remembered saving me from the clutches of The Nugget’s security team that night, and he did.
Briefly what happened was, just prior to the show I was walking around all geared up for my photography assignment when I saw them (the band) hanging out behind some curtains to the side of the stage. I stuck my head through the curtain waved and said hi! Security instantly started calling for backup on his radio until Doug came over and put his arm around my shoulders and told the guy that I was alright. After that I had a nice conversation with him for a couple minutes, but I almost had to spend the night in the Nugget Jail!
This brought up a story from Doug about Johnny Cash saving his ass back in 1969. Creedence was playing on The Johnny Cash Show which was filmed in Nashville. During their lunch break Doug asked Johnny where he could go buy one of those nice Nashville shirts he was seeing around. Johnny directed him to a store close by, so Doug headed up the street to score a shirt.
All the sudden he hears a ruckus behind him and gets grabbed by 4 or 5 guys. At this time Doug had long hair and a long beard, and just didn’t look like he was from Nashville at all. These guys had him by the hair and beard and pushed him up again the wall, and one of them says, “I don’t know if I should shoot it or fuck it!” Then comes the deep voice of Johnny Cash from behind them saying, “Hey you boys. What are you doing? You let that man go.”
They responded, “We got us a hippie here Johnny!”
He said, “No you don’t. You got Creedence Clearwater’s drummer there. If you’re gonna fuck with him, you gotta fuck with me.”
Doug said they let him go immediately, and he never got his shirt. He didn’t want it anymore.
He continued his story telling me about a guy that Johnny Cash wanted them all to meet. He described him as a kind of a street person who was a little rough around the edges, but he thought he would be somebody one day. They made plans to all meet up for lunch the next day and the guy didn’t show. He stiffed Johnny Cash.
Johnny reached out to the guy again and they made another plan to meet up for dinner the next night. This time he made it, but late, keeping everybody waiting. He was wearing an old dirty army jacket, smelling of alcohol, and like he hadn’t bathed for a while. Johnny greeted him, turned to us and said, “Gentlemen. I would like you to meet Kris Kristofferson.”
Never judge a book by it’s cover, because you won’t know what you’ve got without taking a look or a listen. Good thing Kris showed up for the second invite.
If you’re interested in checking out Doug’s record, follow the link and take a listen.
- Magic Window
- Born On The South Side
- Don’t Leave Me Alone
- Somebody Love Me Tonight
- Hungry For Your Love
- Just Another Girl
- Love Mode
- Fallin’ For You
- Don’t Let Go
- You Mean So Much To Me
Magic Window is available at: https://songwhip.com/doug-cosmo-clifford/magic-window
Produced by Doug Clifford and Russell DaShiell
Recorded at Cosmo’s Lake Tahoe Studio in Incline Village, Nevada
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.