Creed Bratton from the Office Was a Rock Star in a Previous Life


The actor Creed Bratton is best known as…well, Creed Bratton, a character from the hit NBC series The Office (2005-2013)Creed is best known to modern audiences for playing a homeless, mung-bean eating miscreant opposite series stars Steve Carell and John Krasinski. But the real Creed Bratton was actually a rock star and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer to boot.

Some 15 years before John Krasinski was born, Creed Bratton was a member of a ‘60s hit machine called The Grass Roots.  

Creed Lives on the Streets…For Real

Creed first came into contact with his future bandmate Warren Entner while working as a globetrotting musician whose elective homelessness may have been an inspiration for his future character on The Office. Entner and Bratton met at a folk festival in Israel and, in 1965, returned to the U.S. under the name the 13th Floor (not to be confused with the 13th Floor Elevators.)

They rounded out the band with two additional members. It was then that they were discovered by the songwriting duo of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. Sloan and Barri had already attempted success with two prior Grass Roots lineups, but couldn’t seem to concoct the right formula.

When they received a demo from the 13th Floor, they saw a perfect fit. The band elected to take on the Grass Roots moniker, quickly signed to the prior lineup’s contract with Dunhill, and found immediate success.

The Grass Roots Get High…On the Charts

As a singer and guitarist for The Grass Roots, Creed (born William Schneider) served during the band’s most profitable period. Drawing heavily on the sounds of the British Invasion with a touch of Chicago brass and West Coast bubblegum, the Grass Roots rose to visibility on the strength of their Summer of Love anthem, “Let’s Live for Today.”  The 1967 hit featured prominently in their performance at the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival which preceded Monterey Pop Festival by mere days and therefore deserves its title as the template-setting rock and roll festival.  

One year later, “Midnight Confessions” reached #5 on the charts and gave the Grass Roots their biggest hit yet.  

Creed Goes Solo…Possibly Not By Choice

This would also mark the end of Creed Bratton’s trip with the band. The guitarist found himself increasingly frustrated with the level of songwriting and production control being imposed upon the band (a familiar story via The Monkees and countless other studio-prop bands). Thus, when he performed “slightly inebriated” during a ‘disastrous’ 1969 performance at The Fillmore East, Sloan and Barri were all too happy to dismiss him from the band. 

The Theater Calls

It was at this point that Creed began to pursue work as an actor.

The next several decades were marked by minor roles in film and television. During the intervening time, the Grass Roots disbanding (1975), ultimately leaving behind 21 charting hits and more than $20 million in album sales.

It was more than 35 years after his departure from the Grass Roots that Creed score the role for which he is best recognized today.

Creed Plays Creed

As Creed Bratton, he played a fictionalized version of himself who, by his own recollection, had been both member and head of various cults, had stolen LSD from the U.S. military and was more than likely responsible for at least one murder. After a 9 year run on the show, the character was led away in handcuffs, ultimately made to pay for his various crimes against humanity.

The real Creed Bratton tours and records as a solo performer today.