Monday, February 7, 2011

Creed Bratton, potato-eating badass

11 Celebrities Who Were Secretly Total Badasses

Among the many reasons to love The Office is the character Creed Bratton, who is named after the real person, Creed Bratton, who is also the actor playing the character. If you've never watched the show, Bratton is both shady and malevolent, and every time he opens his mouth, something horrible and shocking comes out.

He doesn't always have to open his mouth.
The character is intentionally mysterious, but viewers do know that this upper-end-of-middle-aged man dabbles in drugs, may or may not be homeless and has had multiple affiliations with cults.
The Badass:
Bratton was once a guitarist for 1960s folk band The Grass Roots. Check out "Stripes" at 1:48:

So when someone over at The Office had the brilliant idea of basing Creed Bratton, the character, on Creed Bratton, the unreformed hippie badass, they weren't just whistlin' Dixie.
The character is a fictionalized version of a life hard-lived, one in which the real Bratton hitchhiked across America and sailed to Europe with just $25 in his pocket, then spent years traveling through the Middle East and Africa.

And maybe miming?
And don't forget that The Grass Roots weren't just some rinky-dink little folk band singing for funsies and shroom hits in the Village. The Grass Roots were HUGE, like, bigger-than-The-Lovin'-Spoonful-but-not-quite-as-big-as-The-Byrds huge. They toured with Janis Joplin, for crap's sake. Finding out Bratton was once in a band so big is like finding out Steve Carell is really Bob Dylan.
Bratton's story gets better when you find out he wasn't born Creed Bratton at all. He was actually born William Charles Schneider and changed his name after waking up from a night of drinking ouzo and finding a scrap of paper with the name "Creed Bratton" on it. And several other names scratched-off. For all we know, the scratched off names were the previous night's murder victims. But Bratton's best rock star story comes when he describes taking acid for the first time:
My hands started melting, and I heard someone, a disembodied bass voice, saying "Play, play." And I saw notes, like cartoon notes, drifting from staff paper through the air until they fell to the floor and broke into pieces.
Rock on, Creed Bratton. Rock on.

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