For the past nine years, Creed Bratton has played a rather strange version of himself on the NBC comedy The Office. Bratton’s dealt with the series coming to an end May 16 by focusing on the musical career that first gave him fame.
The former member of the ’60s rock group the Grass Roots has released the first part of Tell Me About It, a solo work described as “an audio biography about LSD, unemployment and third acts.” It will be followed by the second part May 7 and the third on May 21.
Bratton, 70, whose real name is William Schneider, was with the 13th Floor when he and others were invited in 1966 to become part of the third incarnation of the Grass Roots. Hits included Let’s Live for Today and Where Were You When I Needed You.
Bratton stayed with the group until 1969, but he eventually went back to acting and began to roll up credits on TV shows (Quincy M.E., Eight Is Enough) and in films (Mask, Heart Like a Wheel). His work on The Bernie Mac Show opened the door to The Office.
“Ken Kwapis was directing one of the episodes and he was a huge Grass Roots fan. He sent his assistant out to get him all the Grass Roots albums that could be found,” says Bratton. “Later, when I heard he was going to direct the first episode of the American version of the British show, The Office, I called him and said I want to be on the show.”
Kwapis agreed to use Bratton as one of the background actors. Bratton’s work might have never been noticed if he hadn’t decided to create a detailed history for the character. Producers loved the ideas, and a few days later he found himself in a long scene with main star Steve Carell.
Bratton’s character was in charge of “quality assurance” at the paper company, but never spent much time doing that job.
It took 10 days — working 12 hours each day — to shoot the finale. Brattton’s cautious about talking about it, but he does reveal that the finale wraps up what happens to all of the characters.
“It was very emotional. I think, in some small way, I’m still kind of in denial. I keep thinking that we are just on hiatus and I have to be ready when we go back to work.”