Creed Bratton’s Tell Me About It is more than just a new release. Unfolding over 3 Acts, Tell Me About It tells the story of his life in song form in what Bratton refers to as an “audio-biography”. Produced by Grammy-award winning producer Dave Way, Tell Me About is both funny and touching – just like Bratton himself.
Your producer Dave Way suggested you that make Tell Me About It as a concept album what you refer to as an “audio-biography”. What was your original vision for the album, and what was your reaction to his suggestion?
We worked together on the last album with basically the same band. We were listening to the songs – I wanted to an off -Broadway show and he said, “This is your story.” So I listened back to it and I thought wow this really is my life.”
That’s what I like it. I haven’t seen it this before. The songs really stand on their own. I thought we should start the album “One Guitar”. It sets up the mood. I went out and worked with songwriters I respected. The songwriting has improved a lot with this album. It’s hard for me to imagine writing with someone else other than Dave. I really enjoy working with Dave, it’s not like working, and it’s more fun.
Music has had such a profound effect on your life starting with being a member of the The Grassroots in the 1960s. Why do you think it’s had such a profound effect on you?
I’ve always had music in my DNA. Everybody in my family played music. If I was in a really down period, there’s something exhilarating about music. If music is right, it can really lift your spirit. Nothing else got me stimulated; the thing that was constant was a good song. That’s still true to this day.
Has your songwriting processed changed over the years since you were in the Grassroots?
Songwriting is never the same. I’m not one of these cats, “I’m gonna write about this.” “Unemployment Line”, I did. I was so embarrassed, but that’s very rare. I usually watch sports and play guitar. I can make a mistake and a riff comes out. One chord will lead to another chord. I hear a melody a few days later. And all of a sudden –boom! – Out comes the melody and the song. I have no formula. They’re gonna written somehow. It’s like babies coming into the world.
Tell Me About It will be released as a limited edition vinyl. Are you happy that there’s been resurgence on vinyl in the past few years?
I’ve been planning this for a long time. When I came to Dave, I said “I don’t even to sell CDs.” He and I both agreed that most people don’t even listen to most albums, but I’m really proud of Tell Me About It and it takes you on this ride. Sometimes it’s kind of raw, and vulnerable and let out those truths. I can’t pull back; it’s also going to entertainment and inspires people not to give up. I had really many years of being down. I just kept going. I went out and worked with songwriters I respected. The songwriting has improved a lot with this album. It’s hard for me to imagine writing with someone else other than Dave. I really enjoy working with Dave, it’s not like working, and it’s more fun.
Much of your story is well known: being in The Grassroots, your eventual leaving, years of struggling as an actor and then eventually The Office. Are you hoping that Tell Me About It will help fill in the gaps?
I don’t know if I really care if people know the real guy. Obviously there’s a bunch of stuff you don’t want to tell because of the privacy. I want people to know that even late in life, he achieved his goals and that he didn’t give up. Sometimes, I’m not sure what the songs about. Sometimes I’ll see it later –and realize it was sub-consciousness talking. People bring and read their own meanings into the songs. If they know my intent they might not get something out of it.
I’m having a pretty good life here. People think that I am Creed (from The Office.) People to this day, don’t realize the songwriting and that I do serious roles as well. Tell Me About It was a lot of work. The recoding and writing is fun, but the artwork and promotion is a lot of work. But when people do react, it’s a real compliment.
Tell Me About It - Act One Out now!
(Act 2 on May 7 and Act 3 Ma7 21.)