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Lifestyle

April 22, 2013

'Office' actor returns to his musical (grass) roots

For the past nine years, former Fresno resident 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 gave him his first fame and fortune.

The former member of the ‘60s rock group The Grass Roots on Tuesday released the first part of “Tell Me About It,” his 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.

“My show is a combination of me singing my original songs and telling stories about what it was like to be a member of The Grass Roots, and being on ‘The Office,’” says Bratton, whose real name is William Schneider, about his current tour.

The 70-year-old actor and singer was born in Los Angeles but moved to the Yosemite area to be near family after his father — a former forest ranger — was killed during World War II. He now lives in Southern California. But his sister, Trinda, still lives here.

Although Bratton always wanted to be an actor — performing in productions at Sierra Joint Union High School and majoring in drama at Sacramento State — music always has been part of his life. He was with L.A. band The 13th Floor when he and other members of the group were invited in 1966 to become part of the third incarnation of The Grass Roots. This version had hits with “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). It was his work on “The Bernie Mac Show” that opened the door for his long run on “The Office.”

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