THE (50 YEAR) TRIP THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
— By Stacey Gualandi
A half-century ago, John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival stepped onstage at Woodstock and secured their sacred space in the pantheon of rock and roll history.
It was an iconic moment for the legendary hit-making machine (CCR had 19 top 10 songs!), and no one has embraced the big 5-0 more than the Hall of Fame songwriter himself.
“It just went by really quick, way too fast actually,” says the 74-year-old Fogerty. “I think we all say that as we head into the later years of life.”
But five decades in, the big wheel keeps on turnin’ for Fogerty, the man behind classic hits like “Proud Mary,” “Fortunate Son,” and “Bad Moon Rising”—songs that became the soundtrack of a generation. He marked this year’s milestone with a new worldwide tour and residency at Wynn Las Vegas called “My 50 Year Trip,” a full-on tribute to the setlist that started it all. And earlier this year, Fogerty recorded an album and concert film at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, aptly titled 50 Year Trip: Live at Red Rocks.
“I hope [the audience] like it,” says a humble Fogerty. “They seem to stand up and yell and all that stuff and, more importantly, to kind of ‘party on.’”
“I really do love my residency in Las Vegas,” he continues. “When I was younger, Vegas to a rocker was not something that was high on their radar. I’m pretty rock and roll and that’s what people want to see. I’ve really learned to enjoy this.”
If you were a fortunate one—like myself—to experience his “trip,” you learn quickly there is no quit in the self-described recovering hippie. The lifelong runner circles the stage for over 2 hours, and I was told by his band he would keep going longer if he were allowed. Fogerty thrives on giving his fans what they want, and he’s done so for years with little regret.
“Happily, I do feel I got to do the things that are important to me,” says Fogerty. “I got to spend as much time as I could with my children… and with Julie [his wife of almost 30 years] as well. We’ve kind of turned the career and real life into one thing, therefore, we’re constantly together.”
That family bond was on full display last November on Veteran’s Day. In keeping with the Woodstock spirit of “peace, love and giving,” Fogerty and his son Shane (who slays guitar with dad on tour) performed during a special Veterans Village event in Las Vegas.
He and Julie then donated the “Proud Mary” Fogerty Container Home, an eponymously repurposed shipping container—designed by Julie (with Fogerty’s greatest hits piped in)—which was the first of many homes to provide affordable housing for Las Vegas veterans in need.
A veteran himself, the former Army Reservist says he was disturbed by how our veterans were treated coming back from Vietnam, and many of his songs at the time reflected that. Then, he realized he could get help for vets, vis-a-vis his voice. (Just watch any Vietnam movie, and you’ll hear CCR’s music.)
“I slowly started playing benefits for veterans…and I realized I could do something,” he says. “It’s one of those things where you didn’t think you had any aptitude for it, but it’s pretty easy. All you gotta do is show up.”
Fogerty has never stopped showing up, and his undisclosed donation for more container homes is a perfect example. Veterans Village CEO and founder Arnold Stalk couldn’t be happier. He says the only way to end homelessness for veterans is to build housing, so having Fogerty’s backing was a dream come true.
“I just threw it out there: ‘I hope one day we can have a rockstar who will promote one of our ideas.’ And now his name is on this,” says Stalk of Fogerty’s donation.
Fogerty knows it’s going to take a lot to help the homeless. “I live in LA and it seems like [officials are] not facing…the problem and really dealing with it…and that makes me sad,” laments Fogerty. “The best thing I can say about is that here at Veteran’s Village, Arnold has shown this model. If enough people get involved to help, I think we can turn it around.”
Until then, the rocker says he’ll keep rollin’ along. After all, for Fogerty—and his faithful fans—the trip never gets old.