Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Rob Ahlers at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
The fictional version of himself that he played for eight years on the American version of "The Office," is like no version of himself that Creed Bratton would ever seem to be, if all you listened to were the former Grass Roots member's solo recordings. The Creed Bratton that worked for the Dunder Mifflin paper company is all kinds of panty-dreaming inappropriate. As a songwriter, he's sage-like. He likes to explore the trouble that comes to people when they get themselves stuck. He brings us into places like the scene in his song "Heart of Darkness," where there's no telling if it's sunny outside or if we're into the middle of the longest stretch of nighttime that we've ever been a part of. The people there are each in their own versions of purgatory. They are dangling in a dimension that they might not be able to solve quickly. They've got the sense that they're nothing but minor players, pawns in a world that's set out to smother them. They are pawns being manipulated against their will and it makes them look for the smallest niceties, those people whom they can commiserate with - those folks who can understand where they're coming from, people who can sit down beside them, let out a cavernous sigh, pat a leg and understand the long face. Bratton pulls us into these stories that are roughened up by the people they were gifted to. There's the boxer looking for and needing his booze. It's a stereotype of a man, but one that's been around for the longest time for a reason. The boxer is being paid to make sure that the fix is in, but he justifies it by having God on his side. His is just one more in a line of tales that are only going to improve slightly. These are broken down people, doing what they can to survive in the most respectable ways that they can find.