John Cameron Fogerty is an American musician, songwriter, and guitarist, early in his career best known as the lead singer and lead guitarist for the band Creedence Clearwater Revival and later as a successful solo recording artist. Fogerty was listed on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists and the list of 100 Greatest Singers.
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Hey folks, John Fogerty here. You probably know some of my songs from over the years, such as "Fortunate Son," "Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou,” and “Centerfield.” But you may not know the stories behind those songs or the story of my life. My autobiography tells my life story the way I see it. It’s the story of a kid from El Cerrito with a musical dream. I'm excited to talk to you all and answer any questions you may have.
To get the full story, though, you’ll have to read my book FORTUNATE SON. Available on [Amazon] (http://www.amazon.com/Fortunate-Son-My-Life-Music/dp/0316244570/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444840298&sr=8-1&keywords=fortunate+son+john+fogerty)
Proof it's me? [Twitter] (https://twitter.com/John_Fogerty/status/654340478578495488)
We're going to get started at 10 AM PST/ 1 PM EST, so start preparing your questions, and I'll stick around for an hour to get through as much as I can. Here's your chance. Ask me anything.
Edit: John has left the building! Thank you all so much for participating. He had a great time answering your questions!
My mom and dad went to a show of yours 4 or 5 years ago and my dad came home telling me that it was the best show he had seen in his 50 years. My fathers health took a turn for the worst, but you announced a show in the city I was currently living in. In the hospital dad, not asking, told me to get tickets for the entire family. We did. Unfortunately my father passed before the show. However your show was one of the first family gatherings we had as a family after his funeral. That show brought a lot of tears and joy for us. You came through again this passed year in Canada, again we got tickets and went as a family. Your music has and will continue to mean a lot to me personally.
For a question, Your son is touring with you. Was it your or his idea to come on the road with you?
Hi there, I'm very sorry to hear about your dad. I have loved music my whole life and have been amazed at the healing power of music. I want to thank your family including your father for listening to my music. I would say that it was my idea to have my son play with me on the road. Shane is an amazing guitar player!
As a Northern California band that sounded like they were from the swamps of New Orleans, did you feel out of touch with your local contemporaries like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane?
It was quite the opposite. I was a kid growing up in the bay area in the 1960s and felt very much a part of my surroundings. Even though my music tended to be more "blue collar" and less "spacey", my beliefs and personal philosophy was very much like the other bands from the Bay. My earliest inspiration was Stephen Foster, but I also learned a lot about how the world should be from the wonderful Pete Seeger, who influenced all of us. Pete taught us to care about the other guy.
I learned to play guitar and bass by listening to CCR back in the late 70's. THANK YOU! You and the band inspired me to do something I have loved for my whole life.
My Question: Back when CCR was touring heavily, shows seemed to have a much wider variety of music on the bill. Which bands did you love to tour with, and tell me about one band that really surprised you when you met them in person, or saw them play on stage.
Hi, I was blessed to have toured with many wonderful artists back in the day. I must say that Booker T. and the MGs were a great band to tour with and I still love them to this day. I can still remember standing in the wings while they played and hearing their wonderful music float around and through the entire arena. Each one of those guys in the band was my favorite player on their chose instrument.
Your last AMA was one of the greatest. Are you planning on releasing this book as an audio book too?
The audio book is out and I enjoyed narrating the entire book myself!
You mentioned last night you were drafted into the Vietnam war. Did you have to see combat? Fortunate Son is the best song ever written.
Hi there, I was drafted in early 1966. But I was fortunate enough to get into an army reserve unit and lucky enough to stay home in the United States. Fortunate Son was certainly inspired by the events of those times and also the age old conundrum where the rich declare the war and the poor have to fight it.
Hello Mr. Fogerty - I wanted to ask you a quick question about your time in El Cerrito. Specifically, my Dad, Steve, lived down the street from you - and was close friends with your brother Danny. They both went to the same elementary school, in fact. He recalls one day - after the Giants had won, I believe the 1962 Pennant, he and Danny were out front, when you came running out shouting "The Giants won the pennant!" - do you have any recollection of that? Was the Giants loss to the Yankees in the World Series - the impetus for the phrase "coon skin caps and yankee bats" in "I Saw it on TV" related to that series by any chance?
As an aside - your music has been incredibly important to me and my family for a long time. We've seen you live a couple of times - and hope to do so again!
Hi there, I do remember that day. At the end of that baseball season there was a one game playoff because the dreaded Dodgers and the Giants were tied. Danny Kay even made a record of that rivalry in 1962. I was very interested and listened to that game and when the Giants won, sending them to the World Series, I was very happy. The phrase "coon skin caps and yankee bats" is actually inspired by the Yankees late 40s early 50s World Series victories and Davy Crockett.
Is there any modern rock bands that you listen to at the moment or are you more in to the old stuff?
I grew up in a household that loved CCR and my dad was always bummed that you guys broke up. Have you ever wished that you acted differently in some of the more "crucial" moments regarding CCR?... Would you have done it differently today if you had the chance?
By the way, please do a song with Weezer.
Thx for your time.
Hi, I love the Foo Fighters. Is it okay to say I also really like Ed Sheeran? He makes great records. I also can be more "eclectic" with artists like Tinariwen and Bombino... It's funny, early on I was quite the taskmaster or drill sergeant. Then after listening to the groups demands, I gave in to their "requests for democracy" in the interest of saving the band. Then the band broke up. Don't know how I could have done it any differently today. Would love to do a song with Weezer I love "Pork and Beans" and "Beverly Hills"
Do you have a favorite cover version of someone performing one of your songs ?
There have been several. Of course I loved Tina Turner's version of "Proud Mary" and Solomon Burke did a great version of that song too. Also Al Wilson's version of "Lodi" and Dropkick Murphys doing "Fortunate Son". I really enjoyed Dawes doing "Someday Never Comes" on my most recent album. I've been very lucky to have some great artists doing my songs.
I've always been fascinated with the story of how you visited a grave and rediscovered your own music. Can you tell us about that?
It was a hot, muggy July afternoon in Mississippi. I was almost knee-deep in flood water at the fabled site of Robert Johnson's grave. A box-set of his music was currently a big hit. My mind drifted to the thought of his songs and who might own them after all this time. Suddenly, I got the picture of some shady lawyer in a tall building with a big cigar. I was disgusted with that thought. "It doesn't matter Robert" I said that out loud, "Those are your songs, the whole world knows they are your songs". In an instant I realized that that was my story, too. The parallel was inescapable. And suddenly I said to myself, "John you've got to start playing your songs before you're laying in the ground there like Robert Johnson".
My question is about "Ramble Tamble". Was the decision to start performing that song in concert in the past ten years or so due to fan requests or was it always a song you felt like revisiting again?
The right answer is a little of both. I'm not sure that I ever actually played that song live with Creedence.
If you could reccomend one album for everyone here to listen to, from start to finish, which would it be and why?
Good question! Listen to Ray Charles, In Person. Simply the greatest live album ever made. I could say more but you'll know it when you hear it.
You're a legend, Mr. Fogerty.
In your musical career, what is the one thing you hope to do before you call it quits?
As in, if you were playing your last tour, what is the one thing that would be the absolute capstone to your live performance career?
Hi there, in my dreams I would become an incredible guitar player. Since this is my dream, my last tour would feature a different guitar hero of mine each night. One night, me and Chet (Atkins)...next night me and Django (Rheinhardt)...next night Don Rich...Somewhere along the way Jerry Douglas, Brad Paisley, Eric Johnson and I think you get the idea. Jimmy, Jeff, Eric, Jimi, BB, John Lee, Duane, Link, Scotty... Man this is going to be a great tour!
Hi Mr. Fogerty. Would you be able to comment on the meaning of the song "Sinister Putpose" from Green River (eg who is the character who speaks the lyrics)?
Hi, the answer is, none other than the devil.
Thanks for the great music over the years John. How did you approach the songwriting process for those classic CCR albums? Did you start with a subject matter and lyrics or a riff first?
They were all a little bit different. Proud Mary was a burst of emotion from having just found my honorable discharge from the army. Bad Moon Rising was inspired from the late 60s interest in astrology and my memories of an old movie called "The Devil and Daniel Webster" I believe. Green River came straight outta that opening riff and the lyrics came from my childhood at Putah Creek (Crick!). Up Around the Bend came from riding my motorcycle and that riff.
Hi John, your music has been a major common bond between me (32) and my father (58) for almost 20 years now. From road trips together with cassette tapes of CCR to getting to watch you together when I bought tickets to your show in Kelowna together, we've got a LOT of memories that coincide with your music. I just wanted to thank you for that.
Of all your songs, which one of them sticks out the most as being tied to a fun memory with your son?
Keep on rocking, Mr Fogerty! We're going to be fans for life!
Hi, there are three that remind me of my boys. "Lodi" of course because we made a new version of that song together. And every night I get to have a guitar duel with Shane in the song "The Old Man Down the Road". When the boys were little my wife and I always referred to them as the rambunctious boys. Eventually, they inspired me to write that song (Rambunctious Boy). Rock on!
Hey John, huge fan here. Saw you in Dallas several years ago and was amazed at your awesome performance. At age 54 I don't think I have a fraction of your energy-- what's your secret?
Hi, I am a very happy man. That is my secret. I am so lucky to have Julie (that's my beautiful wife) in my life. The love we have shared together and with the family we have raised is the best tonic in the world. P.S. I run six miles a day :)
How did all the legal wrangling affect you personally? How did you feel when it was finally over?
As a child I didn't wish to grow up and be a lawyer. I wanted to be a musician. It was frustrating and even embarrassing to be part of such a non-musical three ring circus. I am very happy now and hardly ever think about that stuff but as Yogi (Berra) said "It ain't over, til it's over"
So glad to see you on reddit. I love your music. I am from Elkhart, IN, and I saw you on Letterman many years ago when you said that you married a girl from Elkhart. I was half asleep, and it made me sit up and wonder if I had dreamed it or actually heard you say it.
Is that true? Do you live in the area or ever visit Elkhart?
Hi there, I married my dream girl from Elkhart, Indiana. Midwestern girls rule. We live now in California but we love to visit friends and family in that area. Notre Dame and Bonnie Doon, blue moon ice cream, can't beat that!
John, I was lucky enough to see you play the Gentlemen of the Road tour in St Augustine, FL a couple years back. I have to say, seeing you play with Mumford and Sons was one of the coolest things I have witnessed at a concert. How did you like playing with the headliners and are you glad you made the last minute appearance?
That was really a lot of fun. Sometimes you get an opportunity that's just too cool to turn down, no matter how difficult or inconvenient it might be. Heard about the show Friday afternoon, got on a plane and flew all night. Couple hours sleep and then we got up to rehearse with Mumford and Sons and also the Vaccines. Then we went right onto the stage and jammed. That was cool and rockin'. Love those guys!
Would you rather fight one horse sized Adam Levine, or 100 duck sized Adam Levine's?
I'm not a fighter, I'm a lover.
Hey Mr.Fogerty thanks for doing this! You have so many memorable songs but which is your favourite song to play live? Your show was my first concert and it's still the best one I've seen.
To be honest, it is always changing. I certainly love when the audience sings along with me on favorites like Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Cotton Fields and Proud Mary and I also enjoy performing some of the deep tracks.
Mr. Fogerty, how much did Pops Staples' guitar playing influence your playing? Did you ever get a chance to meet him?
Hi Adam, Pops' guitar playing was a big influence on me. He had mastered the art of playing "unstructured", memorable musical phrases. Almost like conversation. I got to meet him in Mississippi in 1990 where they were naming a park in his honor. I think it's actually called Pop Staples Park in Drew, Mississippi.
Hello! Did you name your first guitar? If so what did you name it?
Hi! I changed the name of one of my early Rickenbacker guitars to "ACME". I had done some modifications like putting in a Les Paul hum-bucking pickup and a Bigsby vibrato. ACME of course came from Bugs Bunny and friends.
John Fogerty everyone!
What is your favorite sandwich?
When I'm hungry, the one in front of me!
What inspired the two melencoly songs "It's Just a Thought" and "Hideaway" from the Pendulum album?
Hi! The band was in trouble, it seemed like no matter what I did I couldn't help it or save it. I thought we had achieved our dream and yet everyone was angry at me. Kind of like rain falling on an otherwise perfect day. To express those feelings I wrote Have You Ever Seen the Rain and Hideaway. "It's Just a Thought" was less specifically about the band, more about my general mood during that time.
John, I really enjoyed your interview on Sirius radio recently. The tone of the your guitar playing is so amazing and distinctive. One example that always comes to mind is the solo to "Lookin' Out My Back Door". What kind of guitar were you playing for that recording?
That guitar was my black 68' Les Paul custom. Love that guitar. Still have it :)
Can you describe your songwriting process? What inspires you to write a song?
It's different almost every time. One thing that seems to be constant is having a guitar in my hands and coming up with a guitar riff. There are at least two very different ingredients in a good song. If you happen to come up with a good melody, you're on your way. But you still need to have great lyrics to go along with that melody. I still use my song title book from 1967 for inspiration, Proud Mary was the very first title in that book. I get the most inspired when my feelings and emotions come into play. For instance, how I felt about the Vietnam War or how I feel about my family.
I've long enjoyed your work, and I want to thank you for all the wonderful things you've created in your life. My personal favorite is Lookin' Out My Backdoor. How'd you come to write it, and what other similar songs do you enjoy?
A second question, do you like metal? Because you should look into european power metal. I think you'd like Falconer (especially the Mindtraveller and Black Moon Rising albums).
Hi, I wanted to write a kid's song for my son Josh who was three years old at the time. There was a book I loved when I was a child called, "And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street" (A Dr. Seuss book). This story filled me with wonderment and I wanted to write a song that felt the same way.
And yes I do like metal! I'll be sure to check out that band you mentioned.
What made flannel your "go to" choice of fabric and style?
I love flannel and I love plaid. It's a personal preference but I really never knew any other way.
If you didn't have the ability to sing or write music, what would you be doing?
I can't imagine that because music is all I've ever wanted to do.
Hi John! I've been a huge fan of CCR all my life, and I was fortunate enough to get to see you live at the Jelling Music Festival in 2008, it was great! I heard, from some of the promoters at the festival, that your wife runs a pretty tight ship, regarding management and tours and stuff. Why is that? Did something bad happen in the past?
And, if it's not too much to ask, of all the concerts you've played, both solo and with CCR, at which one did the crowd impress and delight you the most?
Hi! It is really hard to pick one concert from so many. I love my fans and I am humbled by all the joy I get to be a part of at these shows. I am smiling just thinking about it.
John Fogerty! You are my favorite musician ever. Your music means so much to me. I can speak for all of us rural kids in California when I say that you are an icon, and your music has set the tone for many of the most memorable moments in our lives (you can't go to a bonfire or a barbeque up here without listening to CCR).
A couple years ago the radio station I listened to at the time played a live performance of yours from some coffee shop. I've heard of other people seeing you perform in likewise unassuming locations. Your tour page, however, doesn't list any smaller shows coming up. So my question is, are you planning on playing any small venues in the near future? God, seeing you at some cafe or bar would make my century.
Also, are you excited for the upcoming Los Vegas leg of your tour? What do you plan on doing while you're in Vegas?
Hi there, I just performed at the Troubadour in Los Angeles a couple nights ago, that was a lot of fun. Enjoyed it very much.
Really looking forward to playing Las Vegas. I'm bringing my 1969 show to the Venetian. For a traveling musician, it's like heaven to stay in one place for several shows. And the rockin' vibes will be great because the first show is January 8th, Elvis Presley's birthday!
Hi, John! Aside from playing music, what do you like to do for fun?
Aside from playing music, I love being with with my family. Simple things like a romantic escape with my wife Julie. Having my kids with me on tour we get to do fun things like visiting the Del Vecchio Showroom in Sao Paolo, Brazil or taking my daughter Kelsy to the American Girl Doll store and driving her to her track meets (she loves to run). Of course I have taken all of them fishing. I get the most joy in life from being with my family.
Your music was the soundtrack to my childhood - tons of kickass memories of me and my mom rolling around in her 1995 Dodge minivan. Your music was a main influence on my love for it, so thank you for that.
What's your music inspiration? Who do you listen to when you're alone? Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Any music that sounds good to me is an inspiration. When I'm alone I listen to lots of shred guitar, heavy metal stuff. Truth time: I have to reveal that I sing and whistle "Jingle Bells" everywhere I go, every day of the year. That is a happy song!
One more question, John! Like me, I know you are a big Rick Nelson fan and have covered his songs. Have you ever thought about covering "Glory Train"? I think you could really tear that one up, and I would love to hear it!!
Hi there, I am a huge fan of Rick Nelson and his music. His style influenced me greatly. Some songs that I've considered covering are "Stood Up", "It's Late", "You Tear Me Up" and "Believe What You Say" most from his album "Ricky Sings Again" I believe. That record had an incredible sound. I gotta go listen "Glory Train" not sure I remember that one.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Blue moon ice cream from Bonnie Doon in Indiana.