Creed Bratton made a living as a musician for decades before he ended up playing a fictional version of himself — probably the strangest and most mysterious of the Dunder Mifflin crew on The Office.
He'll be part of the celebrity lineup at this weekend's Tampa Bay Comic Convention at the Tampa Convention Center, signing autographs and posing for photos. And he has a Q&A session at 2 p.m. Sunday. We caught up with him by phone before he gets to Tampa.
I saw a recent Instagram post where you're standing in front of a picture of an alien. Are you saying you believe there's something at Area 51?
That's actually my great-uncle in that photo. That's my heritage, but we don't need to go into that. Area 51? I know there's something there. I went down in there with my guitar to entertain the reptile people. They all went "pffft pfftt pffft." They loved it.
Six years have passed since the finale. What do you imagine Creed from The Office would be doing now?
He never stayed in jail long. He got out pretty out fast. Remember on that Making a Murderer show, the really well-heeled defense attorney that was helping (Steven Avery)? I think she would have seen my case and taken pity. Then I'd scam her, take all her money. Then I'd be living somewhere doing the things Creed does. Mostly stealing. He's a sweet crook.
Because your character is Creed and that's your real name, do people think you're really that guy?
They think that a lot. I wrote that character, and I lobbied to get on the show, because I loved the Ricky Gervais version. I made him a hyped-up version of myself, like what would have happened had I stayed using drugs and alcohol and basically acting like a rock star into late age. Obviously I'm not that guy, because I'd be in jail, but we sold it. I stayed in character for every interview I did for the first few years. They gave me the name Creed because they were going to incorporate my past with the Grass Roots (the popular rock band Bratton played with in real life until 1975), but they never mentioned it until nine seasons later in the finale. We never got into the rock connection as much as we could have. ... Of anyone, though, John Krasinski is probably closest in real life to his character. Just a great guy. Steve Carell is nothing like Michael Scott.
I'm guessing people who know you from The Office have also discovered your music. It's very earnest and emotional. Are they surprised?
I think they're relieved! Maybe some are disappointed, but mostly relief. But yeah, my music is very introspective and not funny at all. Of course, I've been making music since age 17. ... I'm at work on my ninth studio album now.
I saw a photo of you hanging out with Office superfan Billie Eilish. How did that happen?
My producer Dave Way, the Grammy winner, whose daughter is very talented, is a huge Billie Eilish fan. Her mother said we're going to her concert, and would you come along, because if you do, they'd love to see you. I said sure, because Dave is a dear friend and I knew it would make Riley happy to meet her. I like to make people happy. So we went, and it was a pleasant surprise, because it was a great show. Me and Billie chatted for a while. She looked at me like, what are you doing here?, so I looked at her with the same reaction. What are you doing here?
This is a comic con. Who's the best superhero?
I don't watch any of that stuff. I read stoic philosophy and listen to classical music.
So what are you a geek about?
Guitars. And I just got a new Magnatone amp. The sound is so incredible. I got my '57 Gibson Country Western, and I just can't stop playing it. If I met William Gibson, I'd be a big geek for him. I love sci-fi too. Anything with predictions of the future.
People geek out over The Office now.
They know every thing I've ever said, stuff I don't even remember. And I hear from people how healing it is, after traumas, or loss or dysfunction. The family gets together and they watch The Office and heal.
Contact Christopher Spata at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @SpataTimes.
IF YOU GO
Tampa Bay Comic Convention
$30 to $60 (kids 12 and under are free). Noon to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. tampabaycomicconvention.com.