John Fogerty, front man of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Creedence Clearwater Revival and writer of the classic hit song, "Lodi," has probably never been in our little town.
And apparently Fogerty doesn't have a bit of interest in Lodi even though it helped make him famous.
I had always heard that "Lodi" was based on a true story from Fogerty's early days when he lived in Berkeley and was an up-and-coming rocker.
Now I suspect that, contrary to the lyrics in "Lodi," Fogerty has never been here.
At least substantial evidence points in that direction.
Fogerty's classic, which reached No. 2 on the charts in 1969, has always held a special place in Lodians' hearts.
For those of you who don't have "Lodi" memorized, a sampling of lyrics will help you better understand my disillusionment:
"Just about a year ago, I set out on the road,
Seekin' my fame and fortune, lookin' for a pot of gold.
Things got bad, and things got worse, I guess you will know the tune.
Oh ! Lord, stuck in Lodi again. …
"If I only had a dollar, for ev'ry song I've sung.
And ev'ry time I've had to play while people sat there drunk.
You know, I'd catch the next train back to where I live.
Oh! Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.
Oh! Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again."
My story begins a year ago when Fogerty and his estranged recording label, Fantasy Records, mended ways after a 30-year legal dispute over the performing rights to his 1969-1972 song catalog.
After Concord Records acquired Fantasy, it immediately announced a series of new Fogerty projects the first of which would be a compilation CD titled "The Long Road Home." The new release would chronicle Fogerty's entire career from CCR to his solo achievements.
Realizing that this was my opportunity to verify the story behind "Lodi," I contacted Fantasy and Fogerty's publicist, Shore Fire Media and outlined my idea for an exclusive Lodi News-Sentinel column.
"Great," everyone agreed. And, I was promised, just as soon as the Christmas season ended, an interview with Fogerty would be arranged.
But after Christmas, I was asked to wait until Fogerty returned from touring in Australia. Then, I was encouraged to be patient … he was in the studio.
Sensing that an interview was not forthcoming, I e-mailed a series of questions to Fogerty's publicist.
Among them were: "Did Fogerty really take a Greyhound to Lodi?" "Does Fogerty remember the name of the tavern he sang at?" "Was the 'magazine' referred to in the song 'Rolling Stone?" "Has Fogerty returned to Lodi recently and if so, what is his opinion of it now that it has grown up?"
I never got a reply. Finally, after pressing the publicist, she confirmed what I had anticipated: "John is not available to do an interview."
The only reason a rock 'n' roll icon with a new album to promote wouldn't speak with a Lodi News-Sentinel columnist and self-described fan is because he didn't want to admit he hadn't been here.
Why pass up an opportunity to sell some records?
In the grand scheme of things, whether Fogerty has performed in Lodi is not very important. "Lodi" is still a great song.
But the snub was disappointing. And, I'll admit it: I took "Lodi" off my iPod.
Joe Guzzardi works for the Lodi Unified School District and has been writing a weekly Op-ed column for more than 15 years. His column has appeared in the Lodi News-Sentinel since 2000. E-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published: Saturday, September 23, 2006