It was painful watching John Fogerty perform a generation ago. When the iconic singer-songwriter re-emerged during the '80s, he refused to play the classics he penned, while leading the seminal Creedence Clearwater Revival.
He was fighting a losing battle with Saul Zaentz, the CEO of his former label, Fantasy. Fogerty wouldn't deliver the old songs if it benefited Zaentz.
However, Fogerty, 68, let it go the following decade for his fans and himself. The vocalist-guitarist, who was born in Northern California but dreamed of life on the bayou, started playing such brilliant cuts as “Almost Saturday Night,” “Lodi” and “Someday Never Comes” once again.
“I had to forget about that situation,” Fogerty said during a call from Tulsa. “I needed to start playing those songs again. I felt better after I did. I really enjoy playing those (CCR) songs.”
That's evident after a spin through “Wrote a Song For Everyone,” Fogerty's latest album, which dropped in May. The disc features Fogerty rendering CCR nuggets with some of his favorite contemporary recording artists. Fogerty and the Foo Fighters offer an incendiary version of “Fortunate Son.”
Kid Rock helps punch up “Born on The Bayou.” The Zac Brown Band helps Fogerty rip through a spirited take on “Bad Moon Rising.”
The eclectic and impressive guest list also includes Keith Urban, Jennifer Hudson and My Morning Jacket, among other luminaries.
“This is one of the most enjoyable experiences I ever had,” Fogerty said. “I owe it all to my wife, Julie. This project was her idea. She said, 'Why don't you get all of the people together that you love and sing your songs?' That sounded like a fun idea.”
Fogerty was open to re-arranging his familiar tunes. “I let the guests dictate the direction of the songs,” Fogerty revealed. “I wanted them to be so comfortable that it felt like I was the guest. I had a fun mindset. When I did 'Hot Rod Heart' with Brad Paisley, I envisioned us as gunfighters, and he was Clint Eastwood and I was dead.”
The laid-back Fogerty, who will perform Sunday at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, has always been humble to a fault. You simply can't outshine Fogerty, especially while jamming with him on CCR tunes. The most buzzed-about event of last spring's South By Southwest was the Sound City Players, an All-Star band assembled by the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, which featured Fogerty.
The highlight of a set, which included appearances by Stevie Nicks, Rick Nielsen and Rick Springfield, was a jam with Fogerty, who thrilled the crowd with CCR and solo songs. It was evident that Grohl was thrilled while rendering Creedence numbers.
“Playing with the Foo Fighters was amazing,” Fogerty said. “That just gives you so much energy.I truly got a kick out of that.”
It's hard to believe that Fogerty is a senior citizen He still looks and sounds like he did back in the '80s. Fogerty continues to write songs and deliver vibrant performances.
“I still love doing this,” Fogerty said. “I think it also helps that I met a wonderful woman.”
Fogerty, who has three children from a previous marriage, has three more kids with his wife. Sons Shane and Tyler are in his band and recorded “Lodi,” for “Wrote a Song for Everyone.” His daughter Kelsy inspired the pretty “I Walk With You.” “That's one of my three favorite songs I've ever written,” Fogerty said. “That's up there with 'Green River' and 'Lookin' Out My Back Door.' I just wish I had time to play all of my songs when I come to town. There's only so much time. I try to play as much as possible when I come in.”
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Straz Center, 1010 MacInnes Place, Tampa
Tickets: $59, $79 and $99; (813) 229-7827 and www.strazcenter.org