For Creed Bratton, music is something that he knew he was meant to do.
While many know him as the quirky quality assurance director at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in “The Office,” Bratton has made a name for himself as a musician. Born in Los Angeles, Calfornia, Bratton was surrounded by music growing up. In addition to his parents both being musicians, Bratton’s grandparents were in a band called The Happy Timers.
Bratton played the trumpet from a young age and started learning guitar from his grandfather when he was 13 years old. Bratton found himself immersed in music and later fell in love with artists like Little Richard, The Everly Brothers and Ray Charles, to name a few.
“I guess you can say it was ingrained in my DNA,” said Bratton. “When I was growing up, I thought everyone knew how to play music. It didn’t occur to me that this wasn’t what everyone else did.”
Bratton began to play guitar professionally when he was a teenager and went to pursue music after graduating from college. Bratton found himself traveling around Europe, Africa and the Middle East playing music. After a couple of months of travel, he became a part of a band called The Young Californians and played at a music festival in Israel.
“It was at that festival where I met Warren Entner, and he told me ‘If you’re ever in LA, call me’,” said Bratton. “When I got back out to LA for the first time since I had left, I called him up and we created The 13th Floor.”
Bratton and Entner recruited the remaining musicians for the band and recorded a demo for Dunhill, which was owned by Lou Adler, which ultimately landed them a record deal. The band changed its name to the Grass Roots, which Bratton would record and tour with from 1965 through 1969.
With Bratton playing lead guitar, the Grass Roots went on to record four albums, selling millions of copies worldwide. Around 1969, Bratton and the band butted heads over Dunhill’s refusal to allow the Grass Roots to write their own songs and play their instruments on the recordings. Bratton ultimately ended up leaving the band and went out on his own.
“All through the years I wrote and wrote, but a lot didn’t come together then,” said Bratton. “I had so many songs and albums written. I recorded a few albums, but some things few through. I don’t think I had the confidence then. It was really when ‘The Office’ came on that I had the money to start to compile my work.”
Bratton’s ninth solo album “Slightly Altered” is set to be released on July 17. This new album contains ten songs, including a re-imagined recording of the Grass Roots hit “Temptation Eyes.” The album took over a year for Bratton to record, and while he is responsible for the songs on the album, he gives a lot of credit to Dave Way and Dillon O’Brian, who produced the album.
“I met these guys years ago,” said Bratton. “We hit it off right away. I wrote the songs, but they are the reason why the album sounds the way that it does.”
“Slightly Altered” is Bratton’s most personal album to date. On June 12, Bratton released the first single off of the album, “Chan Chu Toad,” which plays into the traditional Chinese chan chu toad feng shui item, a three-legged toad with red eyes, a coin locked in its mouth and a big dipper down its back. On July 12, Bratton dropped the second single, “The Ride,” which Bratton describes as a “cruise down the highway summer song.”
“I’ve performed these songs live before they were on the album. With ‘The Ride,’ when I played it in front of an audience I knew it was working. When I sang the second ‘Side by side’ (a lyric from ‘The Ride’) and the audience sang with it, it already felt like a hit,” said Bratton.
The song on “Slightly Altered” that resonates with Bratton the most is the last song on the album, “Right Where I Belong,” an easy-paced reflection on contentment.
“There’s a line the song that goes: ”Cuz all that matters is that life goes on.’ When I wrote that line, I teared up,” said Bratton. “I remember singing and playing the song and when I got to that line, I felt myself get misted up. It hit a deep, deep part of my soul.”
For Bratton, music is a healing force. If someone can walk away after listening to “Slightly Altered” and feel entertained and soothed in these troubled times, that’s enough for Bratton.
“If people listen to the songs and they feel good, then I’ll have done my job,” said Bratton.
“Slightly Altered” is available for where digital downloads are sold. To stay updated on Bratton’s music and news, visit creedbratton.com.