In the late ’60s and early ’70s, [Creedence Clearwater Revival] weren’t the hippest band in the world — just the best,” quoth Bruce Springsteen when he inducted the group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. And he could have added that, hip or not, former Creedence main man John Fogerty’s solo work hasn’t been too shabby either. We caught up with Fogerty, 60, to talk about the release of The Long Road Home: The Ultimate John Fogerty Creedence Collection, the first-ever career-spanning compilation of CCR and Fogerty hits, and found that he has no plans to stop chooglin’ anytime soon.
Is it weird that Long Road is being put out by Fantasy Records — the label you fought such a long, bitter legal battle with over copyright and royalty issues?
It is and it isn’t. It felt surreal at first, but I’ve been working alongside the new Fantasy people since the company was sold. Now that all the old bad people are gone, I have no lingering bitterness or anger.
The Beastie Boys sampled ”Down on the Corner” on their first album. Have you been sampled by other groups that think Creedence was ”def”?
You know, I wasn’t even aware of that one. I assumed that somewhere here and there I’d been sampled, but the old Fantasy Records wasn’t about to call me up and ask my permission [to license a sample].
How did you feel when CCR’s ex-bassist and drummer went out on the road as Creedence Clearwater Revisited a few years back?
If I was misbehaving and wanted to get back at somebody, I might say something like, ”Just think: Every night, they had to play my songs.”
Your 2004 solo album, Deja Vu All Over Again, kind of stiffed. How did you react?
I must say, I thought it would do better. But because I have an ongoing career, I feel that record and those songs will get more discovered as time goes on.
What current music are you digging?
I don’t go to shows the way 18- or 20-year-olds do. I’ve got a 4-year-old daughter who I have to get in bed to get up at 6 a.m. for school, after which I have to get myself in bed. But I still tend to like stuff with a lot of guitar. I really liked that Good Charlotte song. [Sings] ”Girls like cars and money.” Holy mackerel! Something like that I always like. Loud rock & roll is still my main flavor.
You must hear your songs played in stores and elevators all the time. How do you feel when you hear them?
I did walk into a market about 20 years ago and they were playing a live version of ”Fortunate Son.” I didn’t get along with Fantasy in those days, and I thought, Those sons of guns — I didn’t tell them they could put that out! I was getting pretty angry. And then the DJ went, ”That was Bob Seger.” I had thought it was me! I later told Bob it was a wonderful testimonial to his talent.