On Deciding to Do a Vegas Residency: “Back when I was a young rock ’n’ roller and full of fire, Vegas was sort of a place for my mom’s music and that sort of thing. Naturally, I didn’t think that was a place I’d be going, but that was 45 years ago, and a lot has changed since then. I do have to say, though, my old, old, old memory of Vegas popped up when we first got in contact with the Venetian, but then I thought about it and realized, ‘Wow, that sounds like fun!’ My first date is actually Elvis’s birthday, so that should be interesting. I’m a huge Elvis fan, so I’m sure there’ll be some reverence paid to him; he was a big influence on me.”
On Making It Big with Creedence Clearwater Revival: “Recently, I’ve been calling my tour 1969. That was the year, of course, that me and my band Creedence put out three albums in one year. It’s pretty unusual, especially looking back now, but at the time, it was something I was doing. I certainly was the driving force behind that, because I wrote all the original songs and arranged them and produced the albums. I felt it was necessary because I was really trying to push my band as high as we could go. We didn’t have the usual trappings of a young band with stars in their eyes—we didn’t have a manager, or a publisher, or an agent, and we were on a very tiny record label that was actually a jazz label, without a clue about rock ’n’ roll. We’d had one little hit, ‘Suzie Q,’ and I was deathly afraid of ending up a one-hit wonder, so I got very, very busy. When you’re young, you have very focused vision on what you want. Or at least I sure did. I told myself, ‘John, you’ve been waiting your whole life for this. It’s now or never—you’ve got to do it now.’ ”
On Writing His Memoir, Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music: “It probably took about three years of my involvement. It started at a slower pace—just thinking that I’d be interviewed on tape and video, too—and then eventually my collaborator, Jimmy McDonough, would transcribe all that stuff onto paper. He was very soulful about it; he loves music and rock ’n’ roll, and he happened to be a fan of me. He was very particular and would ask a certain set of questions of me each day. We’d get together for five-day interview sessions from 9 in the morning till 5 at night, and then he’d go away for a few weeks and come back with some more questions. What I didn’t know was that my wife was also meeting with him each morning and kind of handing him questions to ask me. My wife, Julie, really plays a big part in my life, and also this book. It was much of her energy helping to get the thing done. After I would read my transcriptions on the page, I’d have to take those ideas and rewrite them into a new style. We speak much differently than we write; we tend, when we’re speaking, to go off on tangents. I have to admit that reading parts of it kind of reminded me of the Winchester Mystery House, with passageways and doors that were dead-ends or walls. I spent a lot of time editing myself—a couple of years, anyway.”
On His Favorite Contemporary Musicians: “I think there’s a lot of great music happening right now. I’m a big fan of Taylor Swift. I think she’s amazingly talented and gifted, certainly a great songwriter and record maker, which is something I really do respect. She goes about things in a way I understand. She gets help; she’ll write songs and collaborate with other people, but as far as the actual making of those songs, she’ll find producers or musical people she respects and loves to work with. That’s a very good example for everyone—a way to work that gets results. I love the Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran—I think he writes and sings great, and makes really wonderful records, too. Some of the bands I know now I actually found out about through my kids; there’s one called Tame Impala, from Australia. It starts out with a single guy who plays all the parts on the records, but then has a lot of live-musician friends he tours with to recreate that sound.”
On Making Music with a Message: “Our world now is so media-driven—there are a million radio stations and the Internet, of course, and so many different TV channels. There’s so much information out there that I’d say it’s about impossible for any one person to keep up with all of it. I think it’s inspiring but also challenging to get your message heard through all that chatter.”
John Fogerty brings his Fortunate Son in Concert residency to the Venetian Theatre from January 8-23. For tickets, click here.