Creed Bratton, The Office
Fans of NBC's The Office
are slowly learning about Creed, the old guy who spends most of his time with is feet on his desk at Dunder-Mifflin. A deleted scene from one of last season's episodes revealed he was a member of the once-superhot '60s pop band the Grassroots
. (Their hits "Midnight Confessions" and "Let's Live for Today" are still oldies-radio staples.) The actor Creed Bratton did
play lead guitar in the band for a few of its glory years, and wandered the globe in search of musical stardom. The Biz caught up with Bratton at the TCA Press Tour in Pasadena and talked about the long, strange trip he's blended into his on-screen character.
TVGuide.com: How did you go from being in a pop band to acting?
Creed Bratton: Well, I was a drama major in college, but I made my extra money to get through college by playing in a band. I started playing guitar at 13, and at 17 I started to play professionally. After college I went to Europe with a folk trio.
TVGuide.com: What was the name of it?
Bratton: The Young Californians. I know... please. We went all over Europe, North Africa, the Middle East. And in Israel I was doing a folk festival and [founding Grassroots member] Warren Entner came up to me. He had just graduated from UCLA. I called him when I returned to L.A., where I returned to be an actor. One thing led to another, and the Grassroots started. We started as the Thirteenth Floor and then became the Grassroots with "Let's Live for Today."
TVGuide.com: A lot '60s bands didn't actually play their instruments on their own records. Studio musicians were used.
Bratton: Warren and I would play guitar. I did get to play guitar.
TVGuide.com: Did you play on all the records?
Bratton: Well, no. Sometimes we'd get back from the road, and some of the stuff would already be done. No one would be on it. [Lead singer] Rob Brill would do his vocal. That's the time — I think it was about the fourth album — that I was getting a little disenchanted. I said, "Why don't we do it, you know?"
TVGuide.com: Do you remember what it was like when you first heard your record on the radio?
Bratton: I was driving in my new Porsche down Sunset Blvd. I hit the radio-station button, and there was "Let's Live for Today." I hit another station, "Live for Today." I pulled over. My heart was pumping. I said, "Wow, this is cool." Not that I made any money out of it, but it was great. I was 24 years old. Amazing.
TVGuide.com: Why did you quit the band?
Bratton: I quit because I was asked to leave. I became the problem. I had an attitude.
TVGuide.com: Kind of like Creed on The Office?
Bratton: Pretty much like that. That's why it's working so well for me now. The character being burnt out and all this stuff is pretty well on.
TVGuide.com: So you've built the Grassroots into the backstory of your character?
Bratton: It's mixed. It's layered with truth and fiction.
TVGuide.com: So what did you do after you left the band?
Bratton: I went back to study acting for four years. I went back to Europe in 1972 with my wife and daughter and played folk music. Stayed over there for a year and a half. I came back and played with all these different bands. Never really got it going. It always got to the point of something happening, and it would fall apart. Mostly drummers and drugs were our problems.
TVGuide.com: How did you end up on The Office?
Bratton: I was doing some acting bits on Bernie Mac. [Office producer and director] Ken Kwapis was on that show. Great guy. He was a Grassroots fan. He had already cast The Office by the time I heard about it, but he said he would see if he could work me into the mix. I watched it for a few weeks and wrote out a whole monologue with all these jokes. I made a DVD and presented it to all the producers, and they liked it. In the second season, executive producer Greg Daniels wrote me into the Halloween episode. Now I'm a regular.
TVGuide.com: What does Creed do?
Bratton: He's in quality assurance. People call me up and say, "We just want to know if this paper is of good quality," and I assure them that it is. It's a pretty easy job.