Exclusive Interview with Creed Bratton
Creed Bratton, not to be confused with the fictional version of himself on The Office, recently announced an upcoming comedy tour. Bratton really has done it all, from being a member of popular rock group, The Grass Roots, followed by a release of six solo albums after splitting from the band in the 1970, to working in front of the camera in television and film, to working behind-the-scenes as well.
Read our interview with Creed below.
So tell us about this tour you’re about to embark on?
“Well I’m going off to California. I’m going to Sacramento, Napa, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and then on the 26th of August I’ll be at the Comedy Store in L. A.. In September I’m off to Billings, Montana, then Spokane, British Columbia, back to Bellingham, back up to British Columbia and Vancouver, down to Portland and we end up in Seattle. I’ve done a couple movies in Seattle! It’s such a cool town. They’re all cool towns, but Seattle I love. I’ll probably stay there for a few days, just chill out after. Run around, check it out again.”
Do you have any CD’s coming out in the near future?
“Well during the last couple of years I had this album come out called “Tell Me About It,” Faded Spats which is the single, is free for anyone to download. It’s a cool song, and it’s a great summer song.”
So music or acting, what can we expect more of from you this year?
“It’s always going to be a little of both because I grew up playing music and then in high school I did a play and it got some notice. In junior college and then throughout college, people responded to what I was doing, and I kind of realized that I had a knack for that also.
Back in the day, I’d split time between The Grass Roots and The Office. I’d go a couple years and I just perform at little small places around and I’d play with different people. Then I’d go off and I’d do TV and movies and stuff. I’ve always bounced back, I can’t really say I’m gonna do one or the other.
Right now I’m doing this, but I still have auditions for independent films. I’ve been still working. I just did Comedy Bang Bang a while ago. I’m on Grace and Frankie that Jane Fonda, Lilly Tomlin show. It’s a small part. I do have one movie that came out really well. It was a small part too, but it was called Band of Robbers. It’s an independent film by the Nee brothers. I was like, wow, this is really a fun movie, I’m glad I’m in it.”
I saw on twitter that you were doing a movie with Angela Kinsey? Can you tell us more about that?
“Yeah, Angela Kinsey from The Office. We’re doing a short film called Black Out. I’m going over there, in a couple of days to watch a cut and get together with the cast and crew. I love Angela, she’s just so much fun. I was glad to do the thing with her. We do a bike scene together (laughs). The directors sent me an email the other day, they said “the bike scene is amazing!”
So there I am a 70 year old action star, look out Claude Van Damme, here I come. I think not though, because if I make one little mistake, I jam up my fingers and that would mean no guitar. I don’t think guitar players and martial arts mix … Look what happened to Elvis once he got into karate! He couldn’t play guitar anymore, he just jammed his fingers up so much.”
Do you keep up with anybody else from the cast of The Office?
“Well I still play music on occasion with Ed, of course he’s so busy now, I just hardly ever get a chance to see him. I’m hoping to get together with him. I still talk to Ray, I’m supposed to go up and see him this next week. He’s a good guy, I like hanging with him. I saw Oscar once.
The reality is everyone is working … My gosh this cast of The Office, everybody took off and did all this stuff. I don’t know if there’s been a cast where everybody on the show just took off and continued working at such a rate! It’s pretty amazing. I think it shows how lucky we were with who we had on the show.”
Well it was such an awesome show, that doesn’t surprise me at all.
“We’re in the bubble scene. When you’re involved in the bubble it’s a job you do everyday and in retrospect you start seeing the effect the show had. At the time, we were just going at it everyday, just trying to get through the hours, you know? That’s what the thing is.”
How’d you end up with having the same name in real life and the same name on the show?
“I was working on a show doing background stuff, just literally staying alive, trying to stay alive. Still studying acting still working out with this group. The Sarah Fulton Group. I haven’t worked with them for a while, but I used to work with them all the time.
I was doing little bits now and they found out I was funny, I made people laugh off camera. They started giving me little bits and all of a sudden you can look at old shows, old Bernie Mac stuff and you’ll see me popping up, doing bits as all these different characters. People started commenting, “Who’s this guy that’s in the back of there, the white guy in the back!” (laughs). He keeps popping up in all these scenes, that was me.
Ken Kwapis comes on the show, the director, and he’s a big grass roots fan so we started chatting and hit it off. And then I found out through my buddy Joe Horn, who was the AD on Bernie, that he was directing the first season of the Office, the Ricky Gervais show that started in England. I was a big fan and immediately I called him up and said, “hey, it’s Creed Bratton”. “Hi” he said. (laughs). I said, “I just love that show, is there any way you could get me in for an audition”. I did an audition for Bernie and other stuff. I was always auditioning for stuff. He said, “We’ve already cast it.” But he said, “Hmm, but you are such an interesting character.”
He talks to Greg and gets permission and it’s kind of like Ken was running it then. He calls back and says “I’m gonna try to work you in the mix. I know you’re starting to get bits on Bernie, but you’ll have to go right back to being the background”. I went, “ugh”. I’m thinking maybe I’m starting to get some leverage here for that big speaking part. Which the irony of, is once I got The Office, I came and did a speaking part on Bernie (laughs).
There I am, on the set, sitting in the background, and I’m having a good time. I’m joking around with all the kids and stuff and they were Grass Root fans and so I’m accepted because I’m a rock star. You always carry that little cache in your back pocket. It’s a good thing to have, actually.
I realize these kids are really, really talented and there’s really good actors there, I’ve seen it. Because I’ve been on the backgrounds of all different kinds of shows. I’ve worked as a boom man, art department, a stand-in, I worked with Beau Bridges for years. I’ve seen a lot of acting on the set and these guys were really good.
So, I went and I wrote a talking head, based upon Creed Bratton, myself. What would’ve happened if he stayed doing drugs, doing his rock n’ roll star lifestyle. He had a rough idea where he had a blackout period. He falls off a Greyhound bus ends up in Scranton in a dumpster and they give him a job as a salesman. But I wasn’t very good at it. So they put me into acquisitions. By the way, you can go online now, on BuzzFeed, just came out with my original audition tape, which I thought was lost.”
“The missing Creed audition tape. I was moving and I found that audition tape. I went off on a little tangent there. I write this whole story out, and I go in. Basically, I got a rough idea of what I want to do with this bit so I start ad lib-bing, and I was shooting for about an hour. We cut it down to five minutes, which I think is the pithiness of it and my friend Joe Morgan is helping me out and so we cut it back, take it in and hand it to Ken. He shows it to Greg.
We only did six episodes in the first season, that was it. I thought we turned it around the fourth or fifth. Second season starts up. I’d heard from them about a week after I gave it to them. They came back and said “Creed, this is really funny stuff. I mean really funny.” I said “thank you.” I’m thinking, well, we’ll see what happens. Second season, like the first or second week, it wasn’t long into it, the line producer walks up to me and he drops a script on my desk and says, “okay, here you go.” A six and a half page scene with Steve Carell, the Halloween episode. That was it.
For some reason, Greg Daniels liked the character. He gave me my own name. He had me keep my own name because he wanted to utilize the Creed Bratton name from The Grass Roots. During the booze cruise episode there’s a deleted scene where I’m playing guitar and they show a montage of pictures in The Grass Roots. You can go online and find that too.
If that had come out, that would have probably been a whole different game-changer. But, it was just way too long and the writers and everyone said “we’re sorry, this is a great bit, we love it, but it’s just too long for the scene. We’ve got too many other things.” I understood.
If you’ve seen the booze cruise episode, it would’ve taken up way too much time. But it was very cool. That’s why, even though Angela is really Angela, and Oscar is really Oscar, Phyllis is really Phyllis, I was the only one that kept my last name because of the rock and roll. That’s a long story, but I hope that answers your question!”
Well, that’s awesome. I’m glad you stuck around in the show, because I loved your character.
“Thank you very much.”
I saw you recently got verified on Twitter. How does that feel?
“That’s great! I had to do that on Facebook too, or on Facebook are you already are verified? I don’t know how that works. My kids and my tour guy right now who is putting together my shows knows that stuff. He’s been helping me out with all that stuff.
I’m not cybernaut, this stuff’s so foreign to me. (laughs). When I first went on it, I found there were five or six Creed Bratton sites. It was all over the place. I had to compete with other people saying they were me. It was nuts, so this is nice that people know that if they’re gonna send something to me, I’m gonna be with my weird little mind looking at what they have to say. And what they’re seeing is actually me.”
Follow Creed on Twitter.
Creed’s official website.