Popular Culture

The Low-Tax Pete-Seegerism of John Fogerty

The Creedence creed explained


Celebrities talking about politics.
John Pasche

There are four sorts of celebrities-talking-about-politics stories. In the first, and rarest, the celeb has a detailed political philosophy that she has clearly spent a lot of time thinking through. In the second—superficially similar to the first, but not as interesting—he has a detailed political philosophy that he has not spent a lot of time thinking through but instead picked up prepackaged from talk radio, the Hollywood party circuit, or some other source. The third, which is even less interesting, features a famous person "adopting" a "cause" for PR purposes and memorizing talking points.

And then there's my favorite: the people who think for themselves too much to simply adopt a party line, but who aren't so focused on politics that they've bothered to formulate a firm philosophy. So they give you a mixed-and-matched hodgepodge of opinions held together by personality as much as anything else. You know: like normal people do.

John Fogerty comes from category four. Back in 2013, the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman said he'd "still loosely call myself a Democrat, but you know, I realize I'm probably a lot more like some kind of libertarian or something." It wasn't entirely clear what he meant by that, and now, two and a half years later, someone has gotten around to following up. Submitted without further comment, here is Andrew Kirell talking with Fogerty in The Daily Beast:

I really hoped Obama would be the one to stop the rain.

Q: A few years ago, you told Marc Maron, "I realize I'm kind of a lot more like some kind of libertarian or something." Do you still feel that way?

A: Well, I don't entirely know their philosophy. I just feel that I'm pretty liberal in the Pete Seeger tradition. I still feel that way. It isn't that I've gotten old and, oh, now I want to protect myself or my pocketbook. I'm always surprised, though. I'll be riding in a car and I'll think, "You know, John, economically you're more in a place where all those Republicans are." And I go, "Oh, well, yeah, but that doesn't matter. I don't like the Republican point of view."

But I do try to keep an open mind to what people are saying. I definitely can understand how some folks think that Democrats only raise taxes. And it certainly looks that way a lot of the time. I think the thing I'm more tempered with is that our system, our government, our politics is so complicated. For instance, let's use Mr. Obama as a good example. Boy, there was so much euphoria when he was first making those wonderful speeches and drawing big crowds in 2008. It all sounded like the new Jesus or something, and then he gets elected and us liberals are waiting for this cool stuff to happen. And then the first thing that happened was that he got very quiet about the stuff he said when he was getting elected. We've certainly seen a lot less of him.

The other thing is that as you get older, you start to realize, hmm, the candidates on both sides start to look more and more similar than when you were maybe 22 years old. The stuff they end up doing after they get elected starts to look more like each other than the difference that you once thought existed.

I look back to 2008 and Tim Geithner was the guy Obama selected for his cabinet and it turned out he was a big Wall Street guy who hadn't paid his taxes for many years. Oh, that should tell you something. It's exactly like what the other side of the aisle does. Maybe that's symbolic.

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  1. Which category is Neil Peart?

    1. I see Neil as a Bill Maher Libertarian – likes to smoke pot, realizes that the Lightworker is probably a lying douche, but still can’t stomach the thought of EEEVUUUULLL Republicans so predictably pulls the lever for Team Blue.

    2. I think he’s probably always been in the same category as Fogarty. From what I’ve heard in interviews, Rush was never really seriously Objectivist or anything. He just liked the individualist message of Rand’s books. Apparently they were completely surprised when people got mad at them for dedicating 2112 to Ayn Rand.

      1. It’s worth noting that Rolling Stone never did a feature on Rush until this year. Part of it was rock critic hate for prog rock not based in blues, but I’m certain their politics played a part as well.

        1. I’m sure it was about politics first, and everything else was made up to justify Rolling Stone’s political bias.

          1. When has RS ever published something that attempted to justify a preconceived bias?

            1. *ping*

              Great. Now I need a new sarcometer.

              1. I like to think, around here, they swing to max so comically that it breaks the glass.

              2. Mine is calibrated in log(). Saves on breakage.

  2. pretty liberal in the Pete Seeger tradition

    So he’s a big fan of Jughashvili

    1. I was almost going to add “And Stalin” but then figured I ought to at least know who Jughashvili was.

  3. OT: My local election had the choices of ex-governor’s daughter or Goodspaceguy. Yes, I pulled the trigger and voted for Goodspaceguy. God, I hate politics.

    1. I’ve got four questions on my ballot. One will increase “Clean Election” funding, as in welfare for politicians, and the other three are bond issues. I plan to vote against them all, and anticipate them all passing.

    2. Bevins or Drew Curtis (fark) are my choices tonight.

    3. I voted for him for the same reason. Had someone tapped me on the shoulder 10 years ago and told me I’d vote for him because he’s the best candidate in an election, I’d have laughed in their face and bet a year’s salary they were wrong.

      Goodspaceguy has at least a tenuous grasp on sanity – he wants to abolish the minimum wage altogether. Not $15. Not $7. Minimum wage is whatever someone deems acceptable for the labor they’re willing to provide. He used the homeless population as an example. Who’s going to hire a homeless junkie in Seattle for $15 per hour? Goodspaceguy wants to let someone work at whatever wage they’re willing to accept. God forbid they experience Income Inequality ™!

      God I hate politics.

  4. Listen, entertainers are incapable of any sort of interesting or analytical ratiocination.

    If they want people to listen to them, they should become phiolosophers.

    1. We all wish we could have the influence that philosophers enjoy, with their chart-topping philosophy albums and sold-out stadium philosophy lectures. But Fogerty, like the rest of us, will just have to settle for a dimmer spotlight than the philosophers that people read and obsess over every day.

  5. or philosophers.

  6. He doesn’t sound too bright.

  7. Why do we keep having to talk about bands that were popular before I was born?

    1. What bands would you like to discuss, Mrs. Meade? I’ve been listening to the new Ceremony album alot lately. And Martin Courtney from Real Estate just released a solo album last week that is very good. I’m working through it again today.

      1. I’ve been listening to Caro Emerald lately.

        Which led me to Caravan Palace:

    2. Why do we keep taking our screen names from books that were written before I was born?

    3. It’s your fault for not being older.

  8. the celeb has a detailed political philosophy that she

    Fogarty isn’t female – who knew?

    So how come the lack of Reason articles celebrating Europe’s wonderfully increasing diversity?

    1. Doesn’t fit The Narrative.

  9. Whatever Fogerty’s focused or unfocused philosophies, he stands as a prime example of markets, values, and rewards.

    There was a point, in CCR, where the rest of the band was tired of Fogerty (John not Tom) running too much of the show – he wrote the songs, arranged, helped produce etc. They wanted a greater share of making the calls. So Fogerty said “fine, we’ll divvy up a quarter of the (next) album each”. The results was a quarter of a good album and the rest was a disaster. In short, they wanted equal sharing from the efforts of by far the best of the lot. Other than a crisp drum part by Clifford, the rest of the band was replaceable with monkeys (or guys who recorded for the Monkees). And what did the other guys learn? Nothing. They wanted John to do all the work and share the glory etc equally.

    1. I think it is interesting how in the aftermath of CCR, in the mid 70s record companies started marketing individuals over bands in come cases. Before they were signed, it was the E Street Band and the Heart breakers. It was the record companies that said “no if you want a contract you are going to be Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band or Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers.” I have to wonder if the implosion of CCR and its brand didn’t have something to do with that.

      I totally understand why Fogerty hates the other members of the band and wouldn’t play with them at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. He was the talent and they were effectively side men. Instead of being happy they got to be associated with someone of his talent, they let the success go to their head and ruined the band and thanks to them, Fogerty can no longer tour under the brand that he effectively created.

      I saw Fogerty a couple of years ago at DAR Constitution Hall. He gave a fantastic show. But he was stuck playing a second rate venue. If he could still play under the name CCR, he would have been playing basketball arenas. Worse still, the two surviving members of the band formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited and are out making money off the CCR brand and playing his songs.

      Most bands are one or two really talented people and two or three sidemen. The only way they last is if the side men understand their limitations.

      1. Actually before they were Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers they were Tom Petty and Nitro. I still have a promotional poster from the ’70s when they were still working under that name.

        1. Before they were Tom Petty and Nitro, they were known as Jerry Jerblowski and the Polkanauts. They toured the South, playing a special blend od Southern Fried Polka.

        2. I didn’t know that. But they were a band. It is just that Tom Petty became the brand. That way when various people left, no one noticed. The side men were always seen as such.

          1. How do you explain Jethro Tull? He left the band decades ago.

            1. Which one’s Pink?

      2. Then there is Alice Cooper, which started out as just the band name, but then became the stage name of the frontman.

      3. “Most bands are one or two really talented people and two or three sidemen”

        Maybe, but they are formed mostly as partnerships and pride comes into play when it eventually comes to pass that the partnership was not equal.

    2. And yet afterwards, Fogarety’s solo stuff was nowhere as good as his CCR stuff. At best, his good songs were complete ripoffs of his CCR songs.

      I think if anything, they are the ones that had the last laugh.

  10. Mr. Obama as a good example. Boy, there was so much euphoria when he was first making those wonderful speeches and drawing big crowds in 2008. It all sounded like the new Jesus or something, and then he gets elected and us liberals are waiting for this cool stuff to happen. And then the first thing that happened was that he got very quiet about the stuff he said when he was getting elected. We’ve certainly seen a lot less of him.

    Golly. Next thing you know, he’ll have some sort of eureka! moment about the difference between stated intent and actual effects.

  11. TL;DR: “It took me 50 years to realize that maybe TEAM politics is stupid.”

    1. “… but being a lifelong liberal and not a republican there’s no possible way I won’t continue to vote TEAM!”

  12. Creedence sucks.

    1. I hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man.

      1. Anything is better than the Eagles. Like a fork in the eye for instance.

    2. Creedence was great. Fogerty is living proof that all that stuff about having to grow up around a kind of music is necessary to be able to produce great versions of it. Fogerty was this hippie kid from Berkley and managed to write a song like Born on the Bayou, which had a groove and sound Howlin Wolf would have been proud to have made. That shouldn’t happen but the rules don’t apply to real geniuses.

      1. I can see how you’d like CCR. No flashy drumming.

        1. The best CCR has the same wobble that all really good blues and blues based rock and roll has. The rhythm guitar is just a little bit ahead of the drums which are just a little bit ahead of the base. It gives the music a very unique groove. A song like Green River is a great example of it. It came from the blues of the 40s and 50s. There is a Muddy Waters song called “I feel So Good”. There, the piano is in the lead rather than the rhythm guitar but it has the same effect.

          I love music that swings.

          1. I was being sarcastic. And don’t get me wrong, I like CCR.

      2. I like “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” . Not the Creedence version, but the Minutemen did a good cover version of it.

  13. kinda late with this one…

    David Burge ?@iowahawkblog Nov 2
    Mike Rowe Aggression


    ‘Hello Mr. Rowe! What’s your take on MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry being offended by the phrase “hard worker”? How can such a label possibly be offensive to anyone?”

    Lenny Kostecki

    My take Lenny, for what it’s worth, is that there is no longer a limit to what people can be offended by.

    1. What a great guy. I wish he’d run for office.

      1. Politics isn’t for good people.

        1. This. Good people generally don’t go into politics, and the few that do don’t remain good people for long.

  14. I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the Creedence.

  15. OK. So maybe they are not (yet) bona fide celebrities but these guys do have a cause – which is clearly not just for show – and should be of interest to all libertarians.


    And their music – which they give away for free ? is a lot more interesting than the trite, tired and trivial three-chord children’s songs your featured “artist” has sullied the airwaves with for years.

  16. I don’t put much creedence in the political ramblings of musicians

    1. Where’s swiss? Can I get a *NARROWED GAZE* here?

  17. In the first, and rarest, the celeb has a detailed political philosophy that she has clearly spent a lot of time thinking through. In the second?superficially similar to the first, but not as interesting?he has a detailed political philosophy that he has not spent a lot of time thinking through

    Oh, I see. So in the first example, where the celebutard has thought through their political philosophy it’s a “she” but the celebutard who hasn’t thought through their’s is a “he.” MISANDRIST MUCH!!!!1!!!1111!!!!! I HOPE YOU AT LEAST GOT INVITED TO A NICE COCKTAIL PARTY. /sarc

  18. Here is the best clue that Fogarty is a Libertarian: he sees little to no difference in action between elected Democrats and Republicans.

    1. Jeffrey Foucault, one of the best singer/songwriters alive:

      “So on a political level, the Republicans and Democrats are all the same guys wearing different colour ties. I worry more about things like the weather, not the window dressing that they try to keep us preoccupied with.”

      BTW, his new album, Salt As Wolves, is killer good.

    2. Except one is trying to grab your guns and the other is not.

  19. John Fogerty is actually one of the most-correct but least thought-of answer to the question

    “Name the greatest White Soul-Singers”

    I guess its sort of a trick question because it forces people to wonder what “white soul” even is. It usually means something that draws from both ‘country’ and ‘r&b and gospel’ where needed and maintains its own identity. Its a very subjective thing ultimately. But regardless of how you define it, Fogerty is like a very-strong presence in this category, and tends to make people go, “ahhhhhhhhhhh, yeah….” whenever they run out of names and then drop it on them.

    1. I’d say Eric Clapton is closer to a hybrid of those things than Fogerty

      1. Clapton is a blues guitarist who can’t sing

    2. *Puts one candle in the window*

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