Apr 282011

One of my long-unfulfilled rock performance dreams is to have a gig in which my band sets up and “performs” in rehearsal mode: that is, facing each other, playing for each other, having the right to stop songs in midstream, adjust part of an arrangement, and criticize each other. We would completely block out the crowd and just do our thing, the way our thing is meant to be done.

Every once in a while I stumble across a video of an artist rehearsing for a gig or studio recording. I LOVE THIS STUFF! As a music lover, I’m as interested in experiencing what goes on behind closed doors as I am listening to or making music myself, also behind closed doors. Don’t get me wrong, the thrill of playing out or seeing a band out in the wild can be tremendous, but there are less opportunities for catching knowing glances, intimate gestures, and tossed-off asides and fills.

Here’s a mellower look at Creedence Clearwater Revival in rehearsal than I would have expected. John Fogerty has some constructive criticism for drummer Doug Clifford, but he doesn’t throw daggers his way. What is it that Clifford says around the 1:21 mark, before he says, “You make my day a lot better!” All the band members freely crack smiles. Later, though, beginning at the 2:28 mark, John shares some brutally candid insights on the possible roots of Fogerty Syndrome. Pride abounds. Enjoy!


  15 Responses to “Practice Makes Perfect: Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Possible Roots of Fogerty Syndrome”

  1. BigSteve

    It sounds like he’s saying “It’s sure nice to know you’re gullible, John.” So I guess we’re coming in at the end of a story.

  2. trigmogigmo

    I think he says “vulnerable” rather than “gullible”.

  3. Rowing to America

    Yeah, definitely.

  4. tonyola

    I’ve always wondered what happened to Creedence in 1971-1972 as the band seemed to slip badly after Cosmo’s Factory. The last CCR album (Mardi Gras) was pretty terrible and that’s largely because Clifford and Cook wrote and sung many of the songs while John Fogerty hung back and did little. What few Fogerty songs were stiff, dull, and uninspired. John always claimed that Clifford and Cook had been demanding a bigger piece of the action, while the others have said that John had been pressuring them to take a bigger role. At any rate, it was no secret that Fogerty was tiring of CCR and being saddled with a competent but ultimately mediocre band. Did Fogerty deliberately sabotage his own group? Was that a smart move considering how big CCR was and John’s very spotty career after the breakup? Maybe he didn’t need the money since he got lots of CCR royalties. Inquiring minds want to know!

  5. I thought he said “gullible” too, but “vulnerable” is just as possible. Nevertheless, these are not qualities I would have associated with Fogerty.

  6. Definitely an unexplored subject, as far as I’ve read. Maybe we could get John in the Hall for a moment of reflection.

  7. Mardi Gras is hilariously terrible, and if I may toot my own tale on it, I offered my thoughts on my spot a while back:


    Yet it’s still slightly amazing ti me that those dudes cranked out all their classic LPs in a really short amount of time.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Gearhead observation: I’ve always been surprised at Fogerty’s choice of the Rickenbacker for his largely rootsy Americana music. A bit weird. He shed it later, of course.

  9. I thought he didn’t get royalties because he’d signed them all away to Saul Zantz. At one point he was sued because The Old Man Down The Road sounded too much like Run Through the Jungle, a song of his that he no longer owned the copyrights to. I thought that’s why he was so bitter. And just in the past few years I think he regained ownership and has begun playing CCR songs again (or maybe he just made his peace with the whole situation).

  10. I saw John last summer. I would like to know what fountain of youth he’s drinking from, because he looks a lot younger than his 65 or so years.

  11. BigSteve

    Cosmetic surgery and hair dye.

  12. Very cool to see this, and hear JF talk about his background a bit, and while I also love seeing this type of rehearsal footage, I’m not so sure I’d want to pay to see a band sit in a circle & rehearse live on stage. I’m more of the Johnny Ramone, “Always face the audience – no playing to your amp”, mindset when it comes to live gigs.

  13. Man, I know you’re right, but of all people… My faith in Fogerty is shaken. What’s next, Bob Seger’s doing P-90X?

  14. tonyola

    Hey, at least Nick Lowe accepts his years and has allowed himself to age with dignity.

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