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Hanging with Steve Gunner and Tommy Mack at a Creedence Clearwater Revisited Gig


On Tuesday, July 28 I had the absolute pleasure of hanging out with MEAs Steve Gunner and Tommy Mack while they did their thing at a Creedence Clearwater Revisited gig at Ontario's Casino Rama.

Steve sings and plays keys, acoustic guitar, harmonica and percussion for platinum selling CCR.

Tommy is CCR's guitar tech and the guitar player, singer and songwriter behind Austin's The Lifters and The Waymors.  Tommy is currently working on his first solo album due for release in early 2010.

The day started just prior to sound check where I found Tommy working on a guitar back stage - surrounded by a group of stage hands listening to a funny road story.  Hang around with Tommy for more than a few minutes and you'll hear lots of those!

Witnessing sound check from back stage (side stage actually) was very cool.  The band was very casual as to be expected, but incredibly tight as they jammed a bit and ran through some tunes.

At the end of sound check I was introduced to CCR's lead guitarist Tal Morris who immediately said "Let's get your amps on stage, I want to try them out!".

With that the Heatseeker HS-18 and HS-36 and Skyraider SR-30 heads along with the two 1x12 CB cabs I had brought with me were set up on stage beside Tal's customary Marshall half stacks.

Tal then spent about 10 minutes playing through the SR-30 and a

Tal Morris | Creedence Clearwater Revisited
few minutes through the 18 after which he proclaimed "I like the blue one (SR-30) the best.  You've done a great job."

Nice to hear!

With the amps still on the stage, CCR's lighting director Ryan Krebs (a songwriter out of Austin, TX currently collaborating on two albums), set up a very cool lit background and tweaked the on stage lighting in preparation for a photo shoot.

Steve and Tommy struck some poses with the Mack amps on stage and jammed a bit too as I snapped pictures. 

Steve Gunner | Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Tommy Mack | The Lifters

About 30 minutes before the gig was to begin I took my seat - beside Tommy's work bench - to watch the gig.  Right on the dot of 8 PM the band took the stage and launched into the first song.

It's always a pleasure to watch consummate professionals ply their trade.  It was particularly interesting to watch CCR up close with a running commentary from Tommy as to what was going on on stage from an insider's perspective.

Each song was played to perfection and sounded excellent.  These players are very polished and precise yet the music sounds bluesy and soulful - just like CCR songs should!

Of course, the crowd loved the music, the banter from the stage - the band has a genuinely good time with their faithful audience - and the comedy 'bit' Tommy does with lead singer John Tristao - Tommy spent a few minutes polishing John's bald head with a towel!

Aftre three (!) encores the band finished off signing album covers and autographs from the stage and the crowd reluctantly filed out of the concert hall.

But, the night wasn't over!

After the gig the band, the crew and yours truly spent a few hours in the Casino Rama bar hanging out.

This is when I met Stu Cook and Doug Clifford (Cosmo), CCR's original and iconic bass player and drummer.  Stu and Doug are genuinely nice guys.  Both of them spent lots of time with their fans chatting and signing autographs.  They were both tireless!

I had a very interesting conversation with Stu regarding bass amps.  He's very knowledgeable and I came away with some good ideas about what touring bass players need in a bass amp - stay tuned!

Of course, Steve and Tommy and I spent a lot of time sharing stories and views on music, guitar and gear.

These two guys have a great sense of humor and are really very nice people.  We had a great time hanging together and I look forward to the next time CCR has a nearby gig!

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