He’s accustomed to microphones being placed near his drums, but positioning one in front of his face — well, that’s not really Doug Clifford’s thing.
“I had no intention of ever singing on a record ever again after my first solo album in ’72,” Clifford recalls.
He is referring to Cosmo, which arrived not long after Clifford, John Fogerty and Stu Cook pulled the plug on Creedence Clearwater Revival. About a dozen years after Cosmo, he still felt the same way about not singing, even after co-writing a batch of tunes with bassist Steve Wright.
“Steve and I had a good rhythm section between the two of us,” Clifford says. “We had visions of somebody who could do some rock ’n’ roll the way we wanted it to be done, and one of the engineers who’s a friend of mine and Steve’s, he brought Keith [England] to the audition.”
Clifford remembers their engineer friend saying to them, “I think you’ll probably have a winner right here.” They played a couple of songs — material that England “could sing along to comfortably,” according to Clifford — and afterward he and Wright arrived at the same thought: This is what we’re looking for.
Two other singers were there to audition, but Clifford says he “didn’t think they were half as smart as Keith was,” so he sent them on their way without hearing them sing.
Adds Clifford, “Keith had an uncanny sense to find the essence of each song, and that made a big difference for me because I was the lyricist for all of the songs.”
England would handle lead vocals on the songs that appear on the resulting Clifford/Wright album, For All the Money in the World, which remained unreleased until summer 2021, when it became the second Clifford title in his Cosmo’s Vault series (following 2020’s Magic Window).
Jimmy Lyon, best known for his work with Eddie Money, played guitar on For All the Money in the World. A lesser-known guitarist at the time also left his mark on the album: Joe Satriani.
“I asked him if he wanted to join the band,” Clifford says, “and he told me he was going to do an instrumental record.” (Satriani did as planned, and the result was the platinum-certified, Grammy-nominated Surfing With the Alien.)
Clifford already has his next Cosmo’s Vault release in mind; he says it will most likely arrive by the end of 2022.
— By Chris M. Junior