John Fogerty FAQ
All the info and the answers to your questions . . .
All the answers in this FAQ originated from Fogerty's Swamp.
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More facts will be added as time goes by, so come back here often.
[ CCR ERA | SOLO CAREER | SONGWRITING | DISCOGRAPHY | TOURING | EQUIPMENT | MISC ]
Q How exactly you came up with the name, CCR?
A Tom Fogerty: "I had a friend at work who had a friend whose name was, believe it or not, Creedence Nuball. John took the Clearwater part from a beer ad I think it was, and Revival, we'd been together for like ten years or so, and it looked like we were finally gonna get that shot, you know." (in radio interview 1975)
Q Where was the photo of the album cover Cosmo's Factory taken? Where did the name Cosmo's Factory come from? And is that building still in existience?
A It's the Wally Heider (sp) recording studio. Yes, it's still existing. See the Finnish CCR documentary.
Q What or where is Lodi?
A A town in Northern California.
Q What was CCR's first producer's name?
A Officially Saul Zaentz. It was in fact John Fogerty himself.
Q What is John's view about the breakup of CCR?
A John: "For me Creedence was like sitting on a time bomb. We'd had decent successes with our cover of Suzie Q and with the first album, when we went into the studio to cut Proud Mary. It was the first time we were in a real Hollywood studio, RCA's Los Angeles studio, and the problems started immediately. The other guys in the band insisted on writing songs for the new album, they had opinions on the arrangements, they wanted to sing. They went as far as adding background vocals to Proud Mary, and it sounded awful. They used tambourines, and it sounded no better.
That's when I understood I had a choice to make. At that point in time we were just a one hit wonder, and Suzie Q hadn't really been that big a hit. Either this (the new album) would be a success, something really big, or we might as well start working at the car wash again. There was a big row. We went to an Italian restaurant and I remember that I very clearly told the others that I for one didn't want to go back to the car wash again. Now we had to make the best possible album and it wasn't important who did what, as long as the result was the very best we could achieve. And of course I was the one who should do it.
I don't think the others really understood what I meant, but at least I could manage the situation the way I wanted. The result was eight million- selling double-sided singles in a row and six albums, that all went platinum. And Melody Maker had us as the best band in the world. That was after the Beatles split, but still... And I was the one who had created all this. Despite that, I don't think they understood what I was talking about. They were obsessed with the idea of more control and more influence. So finally the bomb exploded and we never worked together again."
Q Is there no way at all you'd consider re-recording some of the songs from HOODOO?
A Some years later, while being asked if he would ever release 'Hoodoo', be it as a mid-priced compilation or as bonus tracks on future CD's, John said: "Perhaps some day I will re-write and re-record some of those songs. The old 'Hoodoo' album really wasn't very good.'' See also http://ccr-tribute.sverige.net/ and click on 'Hoodoo' in the 'articles' section.
Q The net told me that you made the "Hoodoo-Album", I guess it was about 1977. Why didn't you release this album? Is there a chance to get the singles out of this never released album?
A The story is that John and Joe Smith (the head of the record label) together decided the album was not up to the high John Fogerty standard. This may have been hard for John to take and admit, and this is what John said: ''It was a mutual decision between Joe Smith and myself. This was a confusing and very painful time in my life. I still feel the decision not to release it was the correct one. I feel that the songs and the music started out with inspiration, but were left unfinished and unresolved. If I had been stronger at the time, I would have worked harder to bring things up to the level that I demand.'' See also http://ccr-tribute.sverige.net and click on 'Hoodoo' in the 'articles' section.
There was one single released: 'You got the magic/Evil thing'. It still can be found on record fairs.
Q Is it possible to get a copy of the 'Showtime AllStars Special' you did in the eighties after releasing Centerfield?
A No, at least not through official channels. There are home made video tapes of it in circulation.
Q Who play 'My Toot Toot' in the 1985 'Showtime AllStars Special' ?
A Rockin' Sidney was present as was his band, and these were the players:
Rockin' Sidney on accordeon, Mark Miller on bass, Warren Storm on drums, Willy T. on Saxophone and Kip Bacque on guitar.
I heard John promised Rockin' Sidney not to release his version, until Sidney's was out of the charts, because it was the most asked for tune at KFOG radio in the Bay Area at that time. A little later John put it on the B-side of "Change in the weather".
Q On the 'Blue Moon Swamp' cover: Does John really sit with the guitar in the water or is the photo retouched?
A John Fogerty: "Oh yes, it is a real photo. I bought a new Fender Stratocaster just for this occasion. After the shooting we dried every part of the guitar. Maybe I should put it on show now".
Q How many singles did John record for Fantasy after the Blue Ridge Rangers LP?
A John recorded "Back in the Hills", "You Don't Owe Me", "Ricochet", and "Coming Down the Road". They weren't widely distributed.
Q You refused to play any of your older songs for years. What made you change your mind?
A John: "Really what happened was I took several trips to Mississippi and I shouldn't give Robert (Robert Johnson) all the credit actually because I had begun to sing the songs again back in 1987 when I sang for the Veterans back in Washington D.C. on the fourth of July. But I think what really helped make it clearly the right decision --let's say it that way-- was that I was standing at the burial place of Robert Johnson and there is a great big tree there. Legend had led me to this place because there is no gravestone, no marker. And I am looking at the tree and I am thinking about Robert who is a very mythical character, for we know almost nothing about his life and really all we have are his songs. Then I thought about with, like, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, we know, you know, the flesh, we know what the man was, where he lived, how he lived, all the people that he knew or still knows. John Lee is still here, of course, and I thought in Robert's case, wow, it's just so minimal in his case as to what we know, except for his music. Then I thought, I don't even know who owns those songs.
This is what went into my mind. I was looking at the tree, and I thought the songs could be owned by some guy sitting in some building in Manhattan, you know that's where so much publishing is done, in New York. Probably some crook! I figured that might be, but I just don't know. I really don't know about all the legal and financial arrangements, and who cares? I just know the songs, and I know them very well. That's what's important. And I thought about how all that was left of Robert Johnson was his music. Obviously, there was a similarity here and I thought someday someone will be looking at my tree. I would much rather that they knew that I went out there and sang those songs rather than that they have nothing to compare to, nothing specific or of substance to relate to John Fogerty, because God knows they're going to be owned by some crook in a big building and not me! And that was really the conscious decision.
I realized that Robert's songs are Robert's and mine are mine, so all those other things aside, the important thing is that I sing my songs."
Q Who is Gossimer Wump and why is the Centerfield album dedicated to him?
A John Fogerty: When I was a young kid, my brothers had a record called "The Adventures of Gossimer Wump." Gossimer Wump is a little kid who saw a big parade comin' down the road and thinks "Hey, this is what I want, I want to be a musician." Gossimer goes through all the instruments comin' by and does not know how to decide what instrument he wants to play. Then, at the end of the parade he sees the triangle and thinks, "Yes, that's what I want to play." Determined to learn how to play the triangle, Gossimer takes his belongings and 26 peanut butter sandwiches and leaves for the big city. On his way he sings "jingle, jongle, jangle, ah'm goin' to the big city to learn to play the triangle."
In the city, Gossimer starts taking lessons and very soon he plays "tingle." After ten years of courage, determination, and hard work Gossimer plays "tingle." No difference? At first sight, no, but Gossimer, he can hear the difference.
This is what I like about this story. After ten years in my garage, I played alone. They maybe don't hear the difference, but I do.
Gossimer stuck to his dream, and that's why I dedicated this album to Gossimer Wump."
Q Why does John's voice sound so different from his Creedence days?
A First, everyone's voice gets lower as they age. The vocal chords are actually ligaments, and like all other ligaments and connective tissue in the body, they get less "elastic" with age. Like the strings of a guitar, the vocal chords produce sounds by vibrating. Higher tones require more vibrations than lower tones. As the vocal chords become less able to vibrate at higher frequencies, the voice drops. Singers often find that they have difficulty hitting the high notes they used to be able to hit with ease. But it's noticeable for anybody, not just singers. If you have a recording of your voice from 10 or 15 years ago, and you compare it with a recording made now, you'll see the difference. It's a universal occurrence, and no one can escape it. It's just that it happens so gradually that we don't generally notice. In John's case, of course, he has recordings that document his voice from 30 years ago, and so it's more noticeable.
There's another post-CCR factor enhancing the aging effect. That factor is his smoking -- or rather, his cessation of smoking. He smoked during the CCR days. Nicotine has certain neurological effects that sometimes make it useful in treating euromuscular diseases. It also acts to lower the voice, for reasons that aren't generally understood but are thought to relate to its muscle-relaxing properties. Sometime around 1980, John had to stop smoking because he got an ulcer. (Smoking in the presence of an ulcer can be fatal.) So he no longer has the nicotine-induced effects evident in his voice. I think you can hear some change in his voice on the Centerfield album, but there's no question that the combined effects of smoking cessation and the natural aging process have mellowed his voice. The voice is an instrument, just like a guitar, and John has worked on it and learned how to use it, and he's developed it. I don't think he could have sung "Joy of My Life" when he was with CCR, for example. He's learned how to use inflection better.
Q What are the histories of the members of John's touring band?
A Bob Glaub has played with David Lindley, Jackson Browne and Emmylou Harris.
Kenny Aronoff has played with Tony Joe White, Joe Cocker and John Cougar Mellencamp.
Johnny Lee Schell has played with Joe Cocker and Bonny Raitt.
Michael Canipe ??? [more info needed]
Michael Cartellone [the new drummer] formerly with Damn Yankees.
Q From what album is the 'Coming down the road/Richochet single? Were they intended for the "John Fogerty" album?
A "Comin' Down the Road" and "Ricochet" had nothing to do with the 1975 "John Fogerty" album. These were recorded in 1973 for Fantasy records. Earlier, John had planned a second "Blue Ridge Rangers" album which would include his own compositions. "You Don't Owe Me" and "Back in the Hills" were the first tunes he cut for this album. My understanding is that the idea for the album was scrapped when that single - as cool as it was - didn't light up the charts. Working under the pressure of his contract with Fantasy, John agreed to release his next record under his own name, which carried more "weight" than the Rangers name and also was identified more with rock and roll than country music. This was CDTR.
Again it was intended to be an advance single from a forthcoming Fantasy album which was never completed. If I interpreted Jake Rohrer's comments correctly, the aural distortion of the record was intentional because John wanted to make a record which had a rougher sound than the slickly produced records by Elton John and other artists of the day. The sound may also have been reflective of John's growing concern over his relationship with Fantasy and his financial investments. At any rate, things blew up shortly after the release of CDTR, leading to John's eventual deal with David Geffen's Asylum label. That deal was inked in late 1974 or early 1975. After this John began a whole new series of recordings which became his 1975 self titled album. "Rockin' All Over the World" is seen by some as a reworking of CDTR, but I believe that they are two great rock and roll tunes, each with their own distinct merits.
Q To whom is John Fogerty giving special thanks in the back cover of his 2nd solo album in 1975: Special thanks to D.G and S.B?
A David Geffen (record mogul) and Seymour Bricker (entertainment lawyer).
Q On Tom Fogerty's solo album "Zephyr National" John plays guitar, but on what songs??
A Tom Fogerty: Yes, right. John played first guitar on the album: "Mystic Isle Avalon", "Goin' Back To Okeefenokee" and "Hot Buttered Rum". Russ Gary asked John to play the middle part of the last mentioned song. Also the song "Heartbeat" has a little "touch" of my brother.
Q I've got a copy of Centerfield on vinyl, but this one's got Zanz on it. Is it very rare, as I've never seen it?
A I read that 700,000 vinyl lps were sold in the US with "Zanz" before the "Vanz" versions replaced them - not too rare. However, I read the US CD count was only 5,000 with "Zanz" before being replaced by "Vanz". That was around the time of the emergence of CDs; the CD version was not even available for a month or so after the lp's release.
Q What was the first song you wrote ?
A John recorded a song, I believe it was in 1959 under the name "Johnny Fogerty". The song was called "In My Memories" and a copyright number of the song excists. I heard that it should excist on acetate, but the song was never actually released.
Q "Flyin' Away," that hook, that guitar hook really sounds like a Doobie Brothers' song.
A John: Right. I know which one you're talking about. I had to have a little conversation with myself to see if I would actually use that one or not. And I asked the guys around the studio, "Does that sound like the Doobies?" "Yeah, it does, sort of." So I had to listen to the record to see how close it was. The trouble is, as a musician, I know that it's not the same riff at all. Even the timing's different. The first time I ever heard "Listen to the Music," my mouth dropped and I went "Wow! That sounds like the follow-up to 'Hey Tonight' or something." Really, it just was right there, the whole thing. It's a really great record. I really like that one, I'm not jiving you a bit.
Q What is the problem for you not to release a boxed-set of CCR, J. Fogerty, T. Fogerty, D. Clifford and Don Harrison band music on CD?
A In an interview John said that he had wanted to have a box set for Creedence, but unfortunately he can't make a decision about where his songs will appear. John said, "To me this is very important. I don't want to see my songs in some stupid movie. I think Creedence was special. I thought that if we avoided that, one day there would be a special occasion to gather our songs in a compilation box, like the Beatles did last year. You saw how they made it to number 1 in the world. That'll never happen with Creedence because they've allowed our music to be used on TV and in movies and for everything else."
Q Is the VH1 special available on video?
A No, the VH1 special is not available on video
Q Will you be putting out a live record of your latest tour?
A The Live CD 'Premonition' was recorded December 1997 and is out since May 1998.
Q Is it possible to buy any CD's with music from the "Blue velvet years" ?
A Only vinyl singles were made and there are no plans to re-release these singles.
Q Where can I get sheet music or printed lyrics for your 60's 70's songs?
A There are books with tablature/lyrics from the Creedence songs. The ISBN numbers are:
GUITAR ANTHOLOGY SERIES of CCR ISBN-No. 0-89898-671-0 19.95 $US
EASY TAB DELUXE ISBN-No. 0-89724-707-8 12.95 $US
Check out this web site for tabs: http://www.harmony-central.com/guitar. Then you pick "C" , Creedence...
Q Does John have a favorite CD or album that he considers his best? His favorite?
A Yes. For years it was 'Green River' but now -unsurprisingly- it is 'Blue Moon Swamp'.
Q How many solo albums have you actually made?
A John has released six solo albums: Blue Ridge Rangers, John Fogerty, Centerfield, Eye of the Zombie, Blue Moon Swamp, and Premonition. Another album, Hoodoo, was never released.
Q How many gold or platinum albums with John Fogerty music have been sold?
A The following CCR albums have been certified Gold by the RIAA:
Mardi Gras, More Creedence Gold, Hot Stuff, Rollin' On The River.
The following albums have been certified platinum:
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pendulum, The Concert.
The following albums have been certified double platinum:
Bayou Country, Willy & The Poor Boys, Creedence Gold.
The following albums have been certified triple platinum:
The following albums have been certified quadruple platinum:
Cosmo's Factory, Chronicle.
The following albums have not been certified at all:
The Golliwogs, Live In Europe, Creedence Country, Chooglin', The Movie Album, and Chronicle II.
The following John Fogerty solo albums have been certified Gold by the RIAA:
Eye of the Zombie, Blue Moon Swamp.
Centerfield has been certified double platinum, the Blue Ridge Rangers and the self-titled John Fogerty album have not attained gold record status.
NOTE: All questions about 'where / when will you play' are disregarded, because there is no place for that in this FAQ.
Q What is the reason, that the german tourdates in October and November 1997 had all be cancelled?
A This is a statement from Julie Fogerty concerning the cancellation of the european dates:
The whole blame is to put on the European tour agent in England. He gave out the list with tourdates to the organisation in several countries without having the okay for it from John's US management. To make that clear, there NEVER was John's okay for the tour beside the concerts in Scandinavia that have been organized by a different organisation.
The reason why the 3 German tourdates in Berlin, Offenbach and Munich were cancelled later then the others, was because John tried to arrange a deal with WB Germany to meet half way in the costs for the concerts that would have been into largely negative figures. But it didn't work out.
Julie also wanted us to know that they do care about the fans and that they definately will come to tour Germany again in the near future. As nothing has been planned for next year, she ofcourse couldn't say or promise any dates, but she surely hoped for summer 1998.
Q Do you always start your concerts with "Born on the Bayou" like you did at Karlskoga?
A Yes. John sees BotB as the perfect opener.
Q Who made the Baseball-bat guitar you play on 'Centerfield'?
A The Bat-guitar was made by Geoff Richardson and Phil Kubicki for the Zombie Tour. At that time, Fogerty was using several custom guitars made by Kubicki along with other guitars modified by Hideo Kamimoto, a great luthier. You can hear the Kubickis on the CENTERFIELD and ZOMBIE releases.
The Bat-guitar has no peg head, the string tuning is done at the bridge, just like Steinberger guitars. Bat-guitar has 3 Seyour Duncan pickups and a shortened neck, I'm not sure of the scale but it is missing quite a few high end frets.
This information came from Geoff Richardson personally
Q What guitars are you playing now, and why?
A John uses a combination of Fenders, Rickenbackers and Gibsons on stage, changing guitars whenever a specific sound is needed.
Fogerty uses the Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster when he plays the country sounding songs and uses the Les Pauls for the more heavy rock and roll. Now the hollow body Rickenbacker he used for songs like "I Put A Spell On You," gives him a heavy rock and roll sound plus he can get feedback easy from it because it's a hollowbody, or semi-hollowbody.
Now the black Les Paul he used is tuned down a step, meaning that a guitar that has a standard tuning has the strings tuned to E A D G B E, which it looked like most of the guitars were tuned that way, from the heaviest to lightest string. His Les Paul is tuned D G C F A D, once again giving him that certain sound and also allows him to bend the strings easier.
The dobro and electric lap steel he used are tuned to an open chord, usually the same key the song is in. In this case they were both probably tuned to the key of "G". This way you have no chords to "finger". When you strike the strings, you play a "G" chord. When you use the metal slide (bar) at the fifth fret, you play a "C" chord, at he seventh fret you play a "D" chord, so there you have the chords for a basic chord pattern.
For "Midnight Special" he sings the song in the key of "D". Everyone plays in the key of "D" except Fogerty fingers an "E" chord but it "sounds" like a "D" because his guitar is tuned on a step lower.
Q What guitars does John play on 'Blue Moon Swamp'?
A Blue Moon Swamp crackles with classic Fender guitars and amps. "I became a Leo Fender fan in my 40s," says Fogerty. "It took me that long to appreciate his genius. The '62 Custom Telecaster is absolutely my favorite guitar on earth right now." Fogerty also played three different Strats -- a '62, a '63, and a '67 -- plus a '56 Gretsch and a reissue '54 Gibson Les Paul goldtop. His main amps were a '58 tweed [Fender] deluxe and a '59 Bassman. "That tweed is absolutely perfect," Fogerty enthuses. "It saturates just right, without getting too fuzztoney. It just gives you that awesome rock and roll sound."
Q I was wondering where the rest of CCR are at this time? Are they alive? Performing?
A Tom Fogerty passed away in September, 1990. Stu and Doug are currently performing under the name 'Creedence Clearwater Revisited'.
Q What was the first "song" you started to practice with your first guitar ?
A 'Endless Sleep' by Jody Reynolds was one of the first songs John really tried to play. It can now be found on the 'Walking in a hurricane' cd-single. In a recent interview John described how he was howling along with an acoustic guitar when suddenly his mother walked into the room. He quickly stopped, but she encouraged him to go on.
Q In the Jay Leno Show, did you say the words when you performed Bad Moon Rising "There´s a Bathroom on the right" instead of "There´s a Bad Moon On The Rise", and why?
A Yes, he did. Many people actually think the line says "there's a bathroom on the right". So John was just having fun on stage. It's one of those "misheard lyrics" situations. In 'Looking out my back door', he sang "tangerines and elephants" rather than "tambourines and elephants" in some of his concerts this year.
Q How much do I have to pay to get John Fogerty to play at our garageparty?
A During the early days of CCR, they promised to play in 4H events for a couple of beers. The problem is that the deal is only for CCR, not John Fogerty as a solo performer. :)
Q What does chooglin' mean ?
A Follow this link: http://www.jyu.fi/~petkasi/trivia.htm.
Q Who were the people that influenced your music and your decision to take up music as a profession?
A "I would just imagine John Lee Hooker or Lefty Frizzell or Hank Williams or somebody, certainly Elvis," Fogerty says. As a youngster, he aspired to the technical ability of Chet Atkins and the legendary James Burton, who, after starting with Ricky Nelson, was for many years the lead guitarist in Presley's band. Both had impressive technique, although "one was very rock & roll and one was very country." And yes, Duane Eddy was also an early influence.
Q How does John keep so fit?
A Lisa Taylor: John has a very healthy lifestyle, including his diet. He eats very healthy. However, he has a weakness for M&M's....can eat an entire bag in one evening! Also, I noticed, down in N'Awlins, he loved those beignets!! So much so that he had the limo stop at Cafe du Monde on our way to the airport... I heard later that President Clinton did the same thing. He seemed to be in culinary heaven down in N'Awlins...what with the crawfish etouffe, jambalaya, red beans and rice....who wouldn't be?!
Q What does John do in his spare time?
A Lisa Taylor: When he does have time, he usually spends it playing with his young children... taking them to Disneyland, Universal Studios, etc. He likes to attend baseball games, fishing, hunting, flying (he has his pilots license and instruments rating), running, practicing his guitar, travelling (Hawaii and Arizona), fine dining, and entertaining with friends and family. But he especially likes time with his wife and family and they do a lot of fun things together.
Q Which is John's attitude towards publicity?
A In short, Fogerty has always emphasized craft more than image. "I always felt the music was more important than how I was personally," says Fogerty. "In the same way, I figure the stuff Elvis did on record was more important than the stuff he did on the side. There are entertainers who spend a lot of time posing for pictures and giving interviews, but that's turning everything upside down. You should spend more time on the art itself, and the rest will kind of handle itself."
Q How many kids does John have?
A John has two sons, Josh and Sean, and a daughter, Laurie, from his first marriage. Julie had an infant daughter, Lyndsay, when John met her, and John has since formally adopted Lyndsay, if I'm not mistaken. He and Julie have two sons, Shane and Tyler. So the answer to the question is: six.
Q What does John's side of the family look like?
A John's mother, Lucile, died in December 1988. His father died in the 1970s. (His father's name is Gayland [or Galen] Robert -- I've seen it spelled two different ways.) Siblings (other than Tom) include older brother Jim and younger brothers Dan and Bob.
Contributors to this FAQ (in no particular order): Petri Silmala, Wiebo de Wit, Lisa Taylor, Peter Koers, Adam Bryant, Stephanie Hanus, Graham Niven, Bob Iverson, Helmut Arnold, K Wills Sterling, Dana Doak, Bruce A Cook.
Thanks to everyone for the Q's and to everyone for the answers :)