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Many people may recognize Creed Bratton for his hilarious eponymous character on NBC's hit show "The Office," but it may not be widely known that this is the same Creed Bratton of the original Grass Roots band. TheCelebrityCafe's Ellen Stodola spoke with Creed about his television role, his new CD titled "Bounce Back," and what's up next for him in the future.
TCC: So this is your first album in a while. Why now?
CB: Well, about a year ago, I did an album in Nashville, and I still had a couple of songs that I was working on that didn't make it to that CD. I write songs all the time in my trailer on the set of "The Office" and jam with Ed Helms. Then about a year ago, my daughter asked me to perform at a corporate party in San Diego. I got together with Dan Schwartz who I'd met at the 35th Anniversary of the Whiskey A Go Go. We hit it off then, so I asked him to do this party with me.
I liked doing the party, and really liked some of the new stuff that we were coming up with. We joined with Bob Thiele, Dillon O'Brien, Val McCallum, and Brian MacLeod and then got with Dave Wade at his studio, Way Station. I told him that if he liked our music and thought we could do a good album, we would do it. He ended up really liking the songs.
I really like this album because the way that it's put together, it runs so there's an analog sound. It's warm and old fashioned sounding, and the instruments are not all crushed together.
TCC: Do you prefer the singing/songwriting or the acting/comic role, or is it the ability to do both that's most appealing?
CB: Well, I'm always going to write songs. It seems like I've already proved myself in that category and it's amazing to be able to say that because not many people are able to get that far. What I really want to do now is to explore different characters. A lot of people think that I am the Creed character which is totally not true, so I want to keep doing character parts. I'm working on some movies now as well.
TCC: I really enjoyed the songs on "Bounce Back." They were both catchy and about topics that I could relate to. How do you decide what to write about? Or do you just let the ideas come to you?
CB: I always just let things come to me. I don't sit down and make myself write a song. Sometimes I'll wake up when something comes to me, and I'll charge over to my desk and write it down. I don't have a specific style either because my music is a mix of hipster, country, rock, and blues.
TCC: I was really impressed with your singing. Obviously you have a very musical background with your family. What really got you started on the road to being a musician?
CB: I played trumpet in grade school. And I was first chair trumpet as a freshman, and the seniors didn't like that at all. I actually got complaints. But we did competitions where we'd go behind a barrier and people would play different parts and vote who did the best, so when I won continually people really couldn't complain. I played trumpet all the way through high school, and when I was 13 I started playing guitar as well. By 17 I was playing professionally to make some money.
TCC: How did you and Warren Entner really get the band going?
CB: Well, in college I was a Drama major. I had a swim scholarship and played water polo, and I also played in different bands to make money. I almost graduated as drama major, but I had to follow my heart. I went off to Europe with a friend from the swim team. I hitchhiked from California to New Orleans, and then took a Swiss freighter to Europe. When I got there, I had all of $25 in my pocket. I stayed for two years and traveled around to places like Scandinavia, North Africa, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Beirut, England, Scotland and Ireland. When I came back, I called Warren whom I'd met over there. We recorded "Beating Around the Bush" and formed the band The 13th Floor. When the Dunhill record company got on board, we changed our name to The Grass Roots.
TCC: I can't not ask about Creed on "The Office." You're the only one whose character doesn't have a different name. Is that for a specific reason?
CB: You'd have to ask Greg Daniels about that. I think during second season on the "Booze Cruise" episode it helps to explain it a bit. On the deleted scenes, my character plays guitar talks about when he was in The Grass Roots, and that just basically suggested as having the character as an extension of my self.
TCC: What's next for you?
CB: I've been doing some concerts in California with the band, but I don't think I'll be going on a huge national tour or anything unless I was touring for something really special.
Right now I'm filming a movie called "The Ghastly Love of Johnny X." It's about aliens from another planet, and I play a rock star who's trying to have a comeback concert. It's a bit of a musical meets 1950s noir meets "Ed Wood." Personally, I'm lobbying for it to be a cult classic.
I also recently completed filming for "Melvin Smarty."
To hear more from Creed, visit www.creedbrattonbounceback.com.