LIFE AFTER CREEDENCE
Of his partners in CCR he doesn't want to hear their names. John feels nothing but
bitterness when he talks about what's left (and shouldn't be left) of the group. Now he
swims by himself in the quiets waters of his new records Blue Moon Swamp to leave that
Fogerty has a bad skin condition on his face and dresses like a cowboy, but he doesn't
look mean. On the contrary. He seems to be a nice man, somewhat shy. If you run upon him
on the street it would be hard to say that this man, approaching 52 and who moves with
inner insecurity, is the creator of the most identifying musical repertoire of the America
of the highways, the America of the plains and the America that wears boots, jeans and ten
gallon hats. Whomever has seen him any day performing full of energy andbeing intensely
applauded, and next finds himself in front of him, is struck by the doubt if it is really
the same person.
He has a simple manner more befitting a condescending grandfather than a rock star. All
his affability and smiles change their goal the moment he sees, arriving to the hotel
suite in N.Y., his wife Julie whom he married in 1991 and with whom he has two children.
He gives her a kiss, he caresses her hair and listens obeyingly what she explains to his
ear without ever ceasing to smile. The reason that moved him to write her a love song -
the first ever - called Joy of My Life from the BMS, the recently issued album, is on
"- She is sweet to me. And I feel the luckiest man in the world. Did I tell you
you are the joy of my life?" says John in the heartfelt song.
Blue Moon Swamp is the first record by the singer in 11 years, the first, in the
unanimous opinion of the critics, where it's worth listening to his voice since he broke
with the mythic CCR in 1972.
The name of the band, much to his sorrow, isn't part of his past yet. His incapacity to
produce a consistent solo album up to date had led him to unavoidable defeat as soon as
some kind of comparison was established. And then, there were his unending legal battles,
which roadblocked his creative processes. First against the band's old record company,
next, against the group members, who have reunited without their leader to do a tour and
play the old hits under a different name: Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
He doesn't talk to them, nor does he want them to talk to him, and it's better not to
mention them in his presence. "They sold the rights to my songs to the old record
company. "It may sound like a lie, but I'm not the owner of songs like Proud Mary in
spite of the fact that I wrote them. They belong now to that Company, who sued me in 1988
because they said a song of my previous album was an exact copy of one of my old songs. I
went to trial and I won, but I left a lot of money with the lawyers, maybe more than what
the songs themselves made, to tell you the truth."
The former leader of the band hasn't forgiven the other members of Creedence their
decision without his consent. Therefore all the infighting.
"After the trial I decided this war was ridiculous and tried to fix things with
the Company and with the members of Creedence too. I spent three years trying to reach
some kind of agreement, but they didn't want any. In the end, I decided that I'd never
speak to them again because they are liars, treacherous, can´t be trusted and, above
everything else, very much jealous of me."
The only thing that was missing was for the former members to recur to the name of the
band (slightly retouched with Revisited instead of Revival) to finish lighting up
Fogerty's bad temper. "I don't mind them playing the old hits. Those are my songs and
I'm flattered that they want to sing them. Many bands all over the world play them. What
makes me angry is that they exploit the name of the band. That's wrong, because CCR does
not exist, it broke in 1972. They only try to fool/cheat people. They didn't write nor
sing those songs. So, when people go see them, the only thing they see is the drummer and
a bass player. It's as if the drummer and the bass player of Bruce Springsteen decided to
hire a guitarist and a singer and called themselves Bruce S. Revisited or something like
Fogerty explains that since, in his opinion, his former band mates do not have the
right to use the name Creedence Clearwater Revisited, he took legal action to prevent
them. A judge granted him reason and put upon the historical members of the band a
temporary injunction order. "But they keep on doing it because they are bad
He makes a pause and adds: "And there's something else. In concerts they sell
T-shirts and use in them the name of the four guys that made up the band. I deserve a
fourth of the benefit, no? But they don't give it to me nor will they give it to me."
Fogerty's reasoning and the judge's decision were reversed a while ago by a California
Appeals Court which determined that there's no possible confusion between the historical
name and the current one. The Revisited version, therefore, can keep on functioning.
The singer traces the origin of the problems with his former partners to the time when
the band still held them together. "They were very jealous that I wrote and sang all
the songs. For some reason they have been insistent on proving that they can do what I do,
but it's proved that they are unable to make a presentable album. I'm the only one who
works hard on the music. The only thing they do now is try to get dividends from the
Creedence songs" he says without mercy.
The veteran artist justifies his crispation with the fact that he cannot make a
decision about where his tunes will appear. "To me this is very important. I don't
want to see my songs in any 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 last year. You saw how they made it to number one in all
the world. That'll never happen with Creedence, because they have allowed our music to be
used on TV and in movies and for everything else."
Needless to say, John has never ever considered a reunion with the members of
Creedence. "They have done and said too many things against me. I tried to fix it up,
but what I learned is not to talk again with them. They always want something from me and
each time I turn around they stab me in the back. I'm never going to play with them,
never, because they are not my friends. They are not honest people."
With Blue Moon Swamp (an album he started recording in 1992 and that finally has been
released) Fogerty hopes to erase the weight of the history of Creedence, forget about the
bitter tastes and reconduct his solo career: "I spent too much time not knowing what
I wanted to do. Neither did I find the right musicians. Now I've found myself. I'm sure
this is the best recording I've done solo and, in fact, I think it's better than any of
the albums I did with Creedence", he certifies.
Fogerty admits that his previous recordings did not fill his creative expectations.
"It comes from a very deceiving personal time and, with time, I realized it was too
dark and depressing. It wasn't pleasant to listen." But when he speaks about Blue
Moon Swamp he uses another tone of voice. "I wanted it to be really good. And now
that I have it in my hands, I know what it is" he says, thumping his chest. "I
needed to prove something" he adds. "Since CCR broke, everybody said about me:
John was very good. What became of him?' But I knew that I had nothing so wonderful
and that, because of that, I couldn't go out on tour except as an old glory. Now I can go
out and play Blueboy or Southern Streamline from the last CD, sing Proud Mary and say:
can you see? All this is good too."
The Tour he wanted so much will last a year and a half, he'll travel throughout the
world and will stop in Spain, although the dates and places are not known. "I've
learned, finally, to trust myself. To say to myself: John, listen to your music, do
that kind of songs.' And I feel I'm stronger than ever, that I know what I must be"
he confides. Fogerty did in the U.S.A.before the summer a small tour of nine shows to
introduce the album, a preview of what'll be the big tour. In his concerts he intermingles
Creedence songs with tunes from his solo crop. Let no one expect previously unreleased
rarities. In his opinion, if a tune hasn't been released it's because it's not good
enough and no one ought to listen to it. So he destroys all the sessions and the songs
that doesn't convince him. His pride is that big.
"I save nothing. If it's not good, I'm not going to want to listen to it. I
destroy it. It's an old habit of mine. Look what happened to Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix:
they have released [now] all they could find. Every artist has albums and songs
that are not good. And I don't want that to be heard. Imagine if I hadn't destroyed all my
material when I was with Creedence. Those guys, you can be sure of that, would be selling
it already. They even did it with the material from our beginnings, from when we were