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WHO'LL-STOP-THE-RAIN-BOX : John Fogerty on His Bandmates: Why 'We Are Not Friends'

February 07, 1993|Creedence Clearwater Revival leader John Fogerty submitted this open letter to readers in response to last week's Pop Eye, in which former bandmates Doug Clifford and Stu Cook criticized him for refusing to let them join him in performing Creedence songs when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Jan. 12.

The Times recently published an article in which former members of Creedence criticized me for not performing with them at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies. The article also attributed several inaccurate statements to me and I would like to set the record straight.

First of all, I never said to the guys, "I hate you." I felt it was enough to say, "We are not friends." This is why.

In 1988, I was forced to endure a very costly and mean-spirited trial at which Fantasy Records contended that I had plagiarized myself. Of course, I never received a word of support from my old bandmates. During the trial, Saul Zaentz, the head of Fantasy, took the stand and testified that he had gotten the whole idea for his lawsuit from Doug Clifford of CCR. He stated, under oath, that Doug had come to his office with a copy of my "Centerfield" album, played a few selections and proclaimed that "John Fogerty is ripping off Creedence." When I expressed my outrage to Doug about this, he told me that "Saul is lying." Now, I have no way of knowing the real truth, given the history of both of these people, but the story does reflect sentiments which all three of the other members of CCR have expressed in the press. Doug was afforded the opportunity to come to the trial and tell the truth about the situation but he refused. This is exactly the kind of wishy-washy morality and unreliability that makes it impossible for us to be friends.

In 1989, I discovered that the other three members of CCR had sold their use-approval rights to Fantasy Records. For a few weeks, they all denied what had occurred. I was not consulted; nor was I offered any compensation for a "deal" that certainly affects me, as Fantasy now contends that it has a majority vote on anything it wants to do with Creedence music. CCR had very little control over the use of our records, but one right we did maintain was the right to approve or disapprove compilations. A compilation is any album which combines the music of several artists. Well, it is probably illegal to sell the rights of our partnership to an outsider, but the fact remains that they took money for an agreement with the tasteless company that has lent our music to beer commercials, paint thinner commercials and oil company promotions. These are all uses which I have bitterly opposed. These guys do not care about the music, only the money. Doug and Stu have euphemistically described their relationship with Fantasy Records as "keeping the lines of communication open. . . ." I don't think so. I would call it greedy, devious and cowardly. As you can see, this is not some old grievance from the dim past. It is current. I have asked them to rectify this situation and for more than three years the ball has been in their court. They know where to find me.

Creedence was recently honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I believe one of the reasons we were chosen is that our records placed such a high value on musical integrity and moral conviction. Especially in that situation, I refused to perform my songs with people who have shown such little regard for me and my music. It just seemed like a fake situation. I hope you all will understand.

* UP AROUND THE BEND: Readers also had some things to say about the CCR commotion. Page 87

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