Creed Bratton has some interesting theories.
"I've always thought, if aliens came to Earth, I wouldn't want to ask them anything. I'd want to know what their chicken tastes like," the actor and musician tells HuffPost Canada Music when asked about the inspiration behind the cover for his new "audiobiography," "Tell Me About It." "Because people always say that everything tastes like chicken."
This doesn't really explain why the man who found musical success as a member of Nuggets-era band The Grass Roots ("Let's Live For Today," "Midnight Confessions") and found acting fame as a fictionalized version of himself on "The Office" decided to represent this musical take on his life story with a trippy portrait of himself being interviewed by a terrifying space chicken.
And what's really going on with that space chicken, anyway? Is he planning to eat it after the interview is over? Is it aware of this potentially nefarious plot?
"Well, the legs actually look a bit like ostrich eggs," Bratton muses instead of answering. Then he starts telling a rather elaborate story about the time he found a broken egg on his friend's ostrich farm, took it back to his place and cooked it up. The egg, he insists, ended up feeding 13 people. "But I'm getting off topic," he concludes.
Creed Bratton, the human being and the artist, isn't exactly like Creed Bratton, the character that he's played on "The Office" for the past nine seasons. In real life, he gave up alcohol and drugs long ago, which makes him a lot more lucid and less lecherous than his onscreen counterpart. He's just as eccentric and occasionally bizarre on record, though, and "Tell Me About It," which is being released in three acts over the course of the next month, is a fascinating, thoughtful and hilarious look into the man's mind as he takes listeners through the highs and lows of a life that he believes was saved by rock 'n' roll.
Unsurprisingly, interviewing Creed Bratton can, every once in a while, feel a bit like being on the other side of "The Office's" mockumentary cameras.
Here are some of our favourite highlights from our recent chat with him about "Tell Me About It," jamming with his Office castmates, and his recent exposure to that other musical act called Creed.
Creed on "Emmy Awards," the Tell Me About It track featuring his Office castmate Rainn Wilson
We have so much fun on "The Office" set all the time. [Rainn] will come on set and walk over with a shawl, put it on me. "Are you warm enough, old man? Can we get some booties?" Anyway, we had the Emmy parties where everyone's trying to get me to a party. And I say "No, I've got to go home." They're always trying to get me to go out and party, and I don't. I don't party. I'm 70-years-old and I work. I have already partied enough, everybody! Thank you very much. I did my share and your share and his share. So the perfect person to break my balls would be Rainn Wilson. And you laughed, right? It's really funny. He's so good.
Creed on Ed Helms as a banjo player
It used to be we'd play more, but this last season we hardly played at all. We only played the last day or so. But we're so busy with the final season. But yeah, on "Bounce Back," the album I did with The Rubber Men before "Tell Me About It," he came on and played on "Rubber Tree" and "Drivin' The Drags." And he's a really good banjo player. People don't know this, but he's right up there.
Creed on filming the series finale of "The Office"
Oh, lord. It was long 12 hour days. We shot some Saturdays and some Sundays, but it didn't matter because that was the last of it. And you had to suck it up. It was emotional. These kids... some of them are not kids, but I'm the oldest one, I'm sure. I did watch the young ones grow up on the show and I felt very paternal. It was emotional. It truly was. And, as an actor, it gave me such a chance after 30 years of really rough times. People really worried that it was never going to happen for me. I kept staying in class. I kept plugging away. I kept writing the songs and finally it worked. Hard work pays off, everybody. If you stick with it, it will work. If you've got something to offer, of course. It's predicated off of that.
Creed on how his rock 'n' roll past helped him get on "The Office"
I was working on "Bernie Mac," they were giving me little bits of stuff and I started getting a few lines here and there, and Ken Kwapis came on "Bernie Mac" to direct this episode. He was a big Grass Roots fan. He got some records brought back by his assistant, which I signed and we talked. Then when I found out he was doing "The Office."
I phoned him up, because he gave me his number, and he said, "We've cast it but I'm going to put you in the background." He liked me. And he said, "I think you've got something." So I wrote my own character. I wrote what would happen to Creed if he had stayed abusing drugs and alcohol and was addled. Basically the premise was he almost ODed on a bus and he ends up in Scranton in a dumpster and they find him and bring him into Dunder Mifflin in a truck and try to make him a salesmen but he's not able to do it. So they put him at a desk and no one approaches him. He just comes out there and says, off the top of his head, this madness and walks back. Greg [Daniels, "The Office" creator] just really liked it and gave me a shot and the rest is history, as they say.
Creed on the current incarnation of the Grass Roots, which features no original members
I don't know. There's nobody from the Grass Roots left. Just Warren [Entner] and I, and unfortunately there's bands out there playing that stuff and I don't know who they are and I wouldn't know them if I met them. But that's all right. If I was not doing "The Office," then I might have an agenda with it. I might want to go out there and say "I should be doing this." But I don't have to, so it's a moot point.
Creed on whether he prefers acting or music
I do like to keep a balance because I've done music all my life and I've also acted since college. I was a drama major. That was always the plan, to be an actor. Music was something I just knew how to do and all of my relatives and my family did. It's in my DNA, basically.
Creed on "Creed on Creed," his recent exposure to the grunge rock act
I liked the last song! And that was really unfair. I don't know these guys and I don't know anything about them. So that's the point: have nothing against anybody.
They said "So, what do you think: Creed on Creed?" and I thought it was a rap group. "No, no they're huge. They're huge number one stuff."
And as soon as I heard it I heard this voice and it was sounding so hard to wring this emotion out it was just [makes gurgling sounds]. Gargle like glass and I'll stick to that. That's what it sounds like to me. Someone's trying so hard to emote that it's pretentious, I felt. And I'm being very honest. And the guitar, that horrible, crunchy guitar.
Creed on "Tell Me About It's" ability to give listeners acid flashbacks
Did it give you anything at all? Did it touch anything at all? Look down at your hands. Put your hands out and see if you feel like taffy coming back and forth between your palms. Then you'll know it's starting to come on. OK?