Gary James' Interview With Rick Horvath Of
The Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute Group
Rick "Noodles" Horvath is John Fogerty in Green River, a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band. Green River isn't just any Creedence tribute band, they are billed as "The Ultimate CCR Tribute Show".
Q - Rick, you're a disc jockey for a Surf music radio show?
A - Yeah. I do that for a local station in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I started that last summer. It's basically a lot of talk, but it started to require some music, so I said let me come up with something. And that's what I came up with.
Q - There would be interest in Surf music in Scranton, Pennsylvania?
A - (laughs)
Q - It seems like that would be a West Coast thing.
A - It's actually a nation wide thing after doing some research. There's bands all over the country. I've actually interviewed bands from Germany, Australia. It's very alive and well.
Q - You're talking about bands other than Beach Boys tribute acts?
A - Oh, yeah. I'm talking about bands that record their own Surf music. They send me stuff all the time. I actually created my own CD of Surf music as well, just to get it out there. I do a show every Thursday.
Q - This is a 'live' show or do you tape it?
A - Oh, I pre-record it.
Q - Why do they call you "Noodles" anyway?
A - (laughs) I have a different story, depending on who's asking. I kind of embellish it, but it's kind of a boring story. One of my buddies in high school gave me the nickname.
Q - It doesn't seem to fit a guy who plays John Fogerty in a Creedence tribute act.
A - (laughs) Well, I've used that name professionally since I started performing way back in the day.
Q - So, what does it mean? Did you like noodles?
A - Yeah, I do. I love pasta.
Q - There you go. So, that's it?
A - That could be it, yeah. (laughs)
Q - We'll leave it at that then. Let's talk Creedence. Your version of Creedence in a four piece band, not the three piece band I saw in concert in 1972. What's the advantage of a four piece band? And could you perform as a three piece band?
A - Well, we could. Creedence originally was a four piece band. We try to just copy their arrangement. I guess we could do it as a three piece, but I'd rather not. Our other guitar player, Michael Louis, is phenomenal. The two of us together really compliment each other. It works really well, what we have right now. It's one of the best bands I've ever worked with.
Q - Where did you get this idea to put together a tribute act?
A - Well, I'd been working for years with several Elvis tribute artists, Rick Virgo back on Long Island, Steve Mitchell, Jay Allen in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There's so many Elvis tribute acts, so many Beatles tribute acts. I've always loved Creedence music since I was a kid. So, I decided to put the group together. We started back in 2010. So, it's coming along pretty well.
Q - If you Google "Creedence tribute acts", there's maybe five or six acts that come up. So, you're saying that in the last two years the competition has doubled or tripled?
A - Well, I'm just talking about the United States. I think there was one up in Canada.
Q - I'm just talking about the U.S. too.
A - I'm not aware of any other bands.
Q - I'm talking bands like Blue Moon Swamp, Creedence Again, Hey Tonight. Have you heard of them?
A - I've heard of Blue Moon Swamp, yeah. I'm not sure if they're working so much. That's the other thing, I would always check to see how busy they were, how successful they were at getting work, 'cause it is tough to get work as a tribute band.
Q - As a tribute band or as Creedence tribute band? The consensus of opinion is with so many of the original groups off the road, or no longer together, there is a lot of interest. The tribute band business appears to be growing.
A - Makes sense.
Q - How important is it to have guys in the band who look like Doug Clifford and Stu Cook?
A - I don't think it really matters. This was something we were discussing at the very beginning. Should we wear wigs and typical clothing? I put on flannel. I dress as closely as I can to John Fogerty back in the day. I don't look like him. I don't even know if I sound like him. People say I do. It's more of just the energy that we put out is really the appeal of the band. We're pretty authentic to the arrangements of the songs. Some of the songs like "Heard It Through The Grapevine", we'll actually jam it out 'live' like Creedence used to do. We could do a ten minute version of "Susie Q". People just love that whole thing.
Q - I take it you never did see the original Creedence in concert.
A - No. I never did, unfortunately.
Q - You've probably seen John Fogerty in concert.
A - You know, I've never seen him yet. I've been wanting to. I've been too busy. Every time he's playing, I'm playing. (laughs)
Q - You think Fogerty knows about your act?
A - Oh, I would love it if he did. I would love to have his blessing. I know Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the original members, I know they're in touch with some tribute bands, but I would prefer to have John Fogerty give us his blessing on this. We're trying to keep it very true to the original.
Q - Your group is billed as "The Ultimate CCR Tribute Show". What are you doing in Green River that no other CCR tribute group is doing?
A - Well, we stay authentic to the arrangements. I think the musicianship in the band is phenomenal, which is something I think that sets us apart. Plus the jam aspect. The band itself, we've all been doing this for quite a long time. We know how to interact with an audience, get them involved. It's more about the fun aspect too of the show. Getting the crowd involved. Having them sing along. Last week we were in Delaware Park and we had people dancing the whole night to the show. It was really a lot of fun. I think that sets us apart.
Q - What were you doing before Green River?
A - I've been playing professionally for many years. I've had other projects, solo projects, local bands. Some of the Elvis tribute artists I've backed. Writing and recording my own material. I keep busy.
Q - What type of venues does Green River perform in?
A - Normally it's like outdoor concerts, concert series that we'll do, casinos, private functions.
Q - How often do you work?
A - Well, we just started working with an agency, so we hope to get two or three shows a month. That's kind of what we're looking to get. That would be really nice. The word is getting out. The agents are becoming aware of us. We want to work as much as we can. These guys love to do this show and so do I. It's a lot of fun.
Q - As you look out into the audience, what is the age group of the people coming to see you?
A - That's funny that you ask. I classify it as anything from college age to the Geritol generation. (laughs) And it's true.
Q - That's the appeal of Creedence's music.
A - Yeah. I think it's an advantage we do have over other tribute acts that only appeal to maybe one age group or one generation. We can definitely get the college kids involved and that's great, and even the older folks.