John Fogerty Talks Reuniting With Creedence Guitar After 44 Years

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by David P. Hill, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. David P. Hill

    David P. Hill Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Irving, Tx
    1969 Rickenbacker used in studio and at Woodstock presumed lost for decades before finding its way home
    Lee Cherry
    John Fogerty was still in his pajamas on Christmas morning when he noticed that the last remaining present under the tree was unusually large and covered
    up in one of his trademark plaid shirts. On his wife's urging, he removed the shirt and began peeling back the wrapping paper, revealing a Rickenbacker guitar case. Tears began welling up as he realized what he was about to see. "I was immediately struck dumb," Fogerty says. "I turned to my wife and said, 'Am I about to get overwhelmed here?'" He opened the guitar case and began sobbing uncontrollably.

    Inside was a 1969 Rickenbacker 325 Sunburst guitar with the word "ACME" written on the head in yellow paint. The guitar was Fogerty's main instrument during the peak of his Creedence Clearwater Revival days and the one he played onstage at Woodstock, The Ed Sullivan Show and countless concerts all over the world. Many of his most famous tunes were written and recorded on it, including "Green River," "Travelin' Band" and "Up Around The Bend," but it had been out of his hands for 43 years. "I never imagined I'd see it again," he tells Rolling Stone. "Eventually these things, like works of art, end up getting bought by some billionaire and go into some secret closet so nobody can know about it." Now, Fogerty has been reunited with the long-lost instrument.

    Fogerty first got a Rickenbacker in 1967 when he was still on active duty in the Army. His brother Tom traded in a couple of Fenders and a Supro for a black 325 Rickenbacker, which was loosely known as the John Lennon Model. Fogerty played it on "Suzie Q," "I Put A Spell On You" and nearly every other song on CCR's 1968 debut LP, but he quickly grew frustrated with the whammy bar. During a show at New York's Fillmore East, he saw a 12-year-old boy hanging around backstage. He called him onstage, played a final song on the guitar and then handed it to him.

    When he got back to Los Angeles, he headed to the Rickenbacker showroom, carefully examined seven or eight new 325 guitars and selected a Sunburst that he customized with a Bigsby whammy bar and Gibson Humbucker pickup. Feeling that he'd altered it to the point that it needed a new name, he took it to the backyard, got some yellow paint and scrawled "ACME" on top of it, inspired by the omnipresent fictional corporation in the Warner Bros. cartoons he loved as a child. For the next few years it was his main axe, used whenever he recorded a song in regular tuning on every Creedence album from 1969's Bayou Country through their final LP in 1972.

    But sometime in 1973 or 1974 – Fogerty can't quite recall – he was at the band's San Francisco rehearsal space. The group had just dissolved and Fogerty faced a very uncertain future, especially when he learned that Fantasy Records owned all of his publishing. Two 12-year-olds named Rick and Louie were hanging around and Fogerty wound up giving Louie the guitar. (He recalls handing it over for free, but others remember $200 trading hands.) "I was just detached and numb at that point," says Fogerty. "I think I gave it away to sort of end that chapter of my life."

    Twenty years later, John was beginning to put back the pieces of his life and get his career back on track when he stumbled across Norm's Rare Guitars in Tarzana, California. He and his wife Julie were taking their two young boys to a video game arcade and the guitar store was nearby. Norm told them he had one of John's guitars in the back and out came the ACME Rickenbocker 325. "He quoted a price to my wife that I think was something like $40,000," says Fogerty. "I just looked at him and the guitar, shook my head and said, 'I'm not doing that.' Again, I was in some sort of denial and numb about that whole period of my life. I had to develope a callus after going through that episode with Fantasy Records."

    Not long afterwards, he began playing CCR songs in concert and coming to terms with his past, letting go of the seemingly bottomless well of anger he felt towards Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz and his surviving bandmates. But it wasn't until last year that he casually mentioned to his wife that he'd like the ACME guitar back. Without telling him, she launched an extensive search to track it down that ultimately led to Gary's Classic Guitars in Loveland, Ohio. Proprietor Gary Dick had acquired it about 10 years ago, though it seems like Julie Fogerty masked her identity when buying it. "She made herself anonymous," says Fogerty. "How's that?"

    When he got over the shock of seeing it under his Christmas tree a couple of months ago, Fogerty plugged it in and played it for the first time in over four decades. "I started playing the solo in 'Green River' and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck," he says. "It was exactly that sound, 100 percent. I dare say I haven't heard that sound since those days when I had the guitar."

    The guitar will make its reappearance onstage when Fogerty resumes his John Fogerty: Fortunate Son In Concert residency at the Wynn Las Vegas on March 3rd. He hasn't released an album of original material since 2007's Revival, but he plans to begin writing new songs on the Rickenbacker. "It's crying out for me to make some new music on it," he says. "This guitar has had a journey with me and that will close the circle."

    Fogerty's guitar. Lee Cherry
    John Fogerty on New Book, 'Big Lebowski,' Trump

    Creedence frontman also admits he's never seen 'The Big Lebowski'

  2. The Hud

    The Hud Seventh Hud of a Seventh Hud

    Glad he got it back.
    longdist01 likes this.
  3. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    Here's hoping that being reunited with, and playing his long lost guitar, John Fogerty will be inspired to write some new classics.
    It sounds like he's very inspired...

    That would indeed "close the circle".
    dee, MikaelaArsenault and GTOJUDGE like this.
  4. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Forum Resident

    Next up:
    Doug Clifford Reuniting With Creedence Drum Sticks After 44 Years

  5. Fullbug

    Fullbug Forum Resident

    Fogerty Sues Rickenbacker: "Prized Axe Won't Stay In Tune, Rocker Claims"
    Mr. D, forthlin, Zeki and 7 others like this.
  6. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    Kind of an oxymoron there, wouldn't you say?
    lightbulb likes this.
  7. driverdrummer

    driverdrummer Forum Resident

    Irmo, SC
    "Tearin Up the Country with a Song"
    arisinwind, Bonddm, wayne66 and 2 others like this.
  8. It was heartwarming until the article stated that he could have had it back 20+ years ago for 40k. People have paid a lot more for a lot less, and John couldn't be bothered. :rolleyes:
    arisinwind likes this.
  9. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Eastern Shore
    That's swell. How about letting it go and reuniting with your friends now?
  10. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    He should have paid $40K for a guitar worth only a fraction of that except for the fact that it once belonged to him?

    Can't blame him for not wanting it THAT badly....
  11. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH
    Cool story. Glad he was reunited with his Rick.
    Never noticed in film and pix that the Rickenbacker logo was not on the nameplate and ACME in yellow was there.
    Now looking back at vintage pix and vids can kinda make it out, certainly the Rick logo isn't there.
    And the Rick sound certainly made those CCR classics distinctive.
    Fullbug, GTOJUDGE and ssmith3046 like this.
  12. probably didn't have $40.000 back then
    Fullbug likes this.
  13. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    Guitar was probably only worth $5K back then, if not for it being Fogerty's. If that.
  14. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Good for John. I like CCR and Fogerty's music.
  15. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    Well by one definition it could be:
    "A work of art of recognized and established value."

    By "new classics", I actually meant "great songs", but then that could be interpreted as a harsh comment about his post CCR work...

    ;) :p :agree:
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
    videoman likes this.
  16. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    I winced, thinking that if it was priced at $40k twenty years ago, how much did it cost in 2016?!?


    :confused: :help: :sigh:
    DmitriKaramazov likes this.
  17. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Forum Resident

    John would sooner start dancing with his favorite pig, Zanz ... ;)
    arisinwind, HarvG and Fullbug like this.
  18. reb

    reb Long Live Rock

    Long Island
    great article, loved reading every word- thanks for posting
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I can't be the only person whose excitement and surprise levels went from 100 to 0 when hitting the word 'guitar' in the title.
  20. milankey

    milankey Forum Resident

    Kent, Ohio, USA
    Cool story. I am listening to CCR at Woodstock right now as I'm browsing the forums...
    longdist01 likes this.
  21. The7thStranger

    The7thStranger Forum Resident

    An der Lahn...
    I love John... but this thread's title cut-off... :sweating:
  22. Well, you have reproduction Ricks going for up to 7k on Ebay. You've got a 1958 Rick Capri like Lennon's, that wasn't even owned by Lennon that went for about 70k in 2012.

    20-years ago, John Fogerty had just released Blue Moon Swamp, winning a Grammy for Best Rock Album. I don't think he was anywhere close to being broke.

    In a world where people pay 200k for Focal speakers, and a car for $500k...well, okay, John didn't want to pay 40k for his own piece of history. Maybe it was on principle. But he sure loves that bizsnatch now, don't he? I bet he and his wife has a joint banking account...or two...or five...

    I mean, I don't have 40k just to flippantly spend, but 40k isn't really that much money to some.
  23. hello people

    hello people Well-Known Member

    Hong Kong
    I can't see it happening

    arisinwind and lightbulb like this.
  24. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    It's his choice. I doubt it was ever about the dollars themselves. It was probably partly principle (how much do you want to pay for your own name? and he cited the Fantasy stuff he was still dealing with at the time where he no doubt felt like everyone else was making money off of his name but him...) and probably partly just an age thing. He's probably a lot more nostalgic about his past and wanting to reconnect with parts of that history like his old guitar at age 70 than he was at 50.

    A regular 1969 325 hollowbody is what....a $10K guitar MAYBE today? Maybe only half that? I'm not a guitar expert, so I don't really know.
    lightbulb likes this.
  25. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    Based on some of the threads I'm reading here, this should have DEvalued the guitar by at least 75%.....
    arisinwind, Fullbug and lightbulb like this.

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