Of course, I said yes.
When the phone rang, Bob Fogerty asked if I were ready for an interview with John Fogerty that nobody had told me would happen.
This was the opposite of when a publicist promises an interview and it doesn’t happen. This was about Forgerty’s mid-1980s comeback, the “Centerfield” album comeback when he had played everything on the record himself but hired Hollywood killers to go on tour.
It’s happening again, by the way. On Sunday, Fogerty comes back again — to the Times Union Center.
I wish I could remember more of what we said in that surprise phone call before he played at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. But I hadn’t had time to prepare questions at all and just had to wing it.
One thing stands out, though, as I recall that ambush interview. Fogerty was open, relaxed; so I told him how I first heard his music when I was stationed by the Navy on the Black Sea coast of Turkey in 1968.
My friend Bob “Alligator” Feleppa periodically got packages of albums from his then-girlfriend, a lifeline to the culture we’d left behind and could otherwise hear only dimly from British or Czech radio stations, crackling far away through the night.
One day, Alligator got a Creedence Clearwater Revival album, and we were all totally taken in by Fogerty and rest of those Northern California kids who claimed they were “Born on the Bayou” and made everybody believe it.
Other music came to us that way — bless Alligator’s girlfriend, whoever and wherever she is — and fine music, mostly. But I didn’t know this until I said it to Fogerty and realized how true it was; that no music I knew meant America to me more than his.
The comeback that brings Fogerty to the Times Union Center on Sunday features some of those same songs — classics undented radio abuse, but freshly redone on his album “Wrote a Song for Everyone.” Most of those strong songs are duets on the album, and guest stars have been popping up on tour, including Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top last month in L.A.
“Everyone” is right: Fogerty has sold more than 100 million albums. Eighteen of his releases sold gold and 10 sold platinum; and he’s in every hall of fame possible. Even the Baseball Hall of Fame honored him for “Centerfield” at its 2010 inductions, and if there were a Flannel Shirt Hall of Fame, he’d be in there, too.
His band has shifted some since last year’s tour with drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, and Smashing Pumpkins), keyboardist Bob Malone and guitarist Shane Fogerty returning, plus new guys bassist James Lomenzo and guitarist Devon Pangle.
Fogerty is reportedly playing all of the Creedence Clearwater Revival albums “Cosmo’s Factory” and “Bayou Country” on this tour, plus selections from other Creedence albums and his own eight solo albums since Creedence disbanded in 1972.
Fogerty works really hard on stage, as if he has to, in order to put the songs across. He played nearly two hours at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 2006, with Willie Nelson opening.
More Fogerty SPAC trivia: When Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played there, rain fell during sound check. So Springsteen led them into the Fogerty/Creedence classic “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” The rain stopped: It had no choice.
So, of course I said yes to going to see Fogerty and his band on Sunday at the Times Union Center (51 S. Pearl St., Albany). Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $68, $52.50 and $29.50. 800-745-3000 www.ticketmaster.com.
Two top jazz quartets play here this week — unfortunately, both tonight.
Saxophonist Joshua Redman leads his quartet into The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) tonight at 8. Last seen here with pianist Brad Mehldau at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, Redman tonight fronts his regular crew (or, one of them; he also performs with Elastic, the SFJAZZ Collective and James Farm): pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Admission is $34.50. 473-1845 www.theegg.org.
Starting at just the same time, the super-group Omaha Diner plays Club Helsinki (405 Columbia St., Hudson). Jammers who have all played here plenty, mostly at Red Square, Omaha Diner is guitarist/bassist Charlie Hunter, trumpeter Steve Bernstein, saxophonist Skerik and drummer Bobby Previte.
Their deal is that they play only No. 1 pop hits. So their gigs are name-that-tune surprise deconstructions of chart-toppers by Beyonce, Adele, Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, the O’Jays, Prince, Three Dog Night and too many more to name-check here. Admission is $20. 828-4800 www.helsinkihudson.com.
Lena’s wall to wall
The Stony Creek Band plays at 3 p.m. Sunday, near the end of a wall-to-wall weekend of top Caffe Lena shows.
On Friday, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, a highly original and spunky string band, headline and Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers opens at 8 p.m. Admission is $20 advance; $22 at the door.
On Saturday, the Kennedys — Pete and Maura, a hip, two-person Byrds-y folk/power-pop duo — headline and 14-year-old Sawyer Fredericks opens at 8 p.m. Admission is $15 advance; $17 at the door. This Kennedys’ show is all requests.
On Sunday, the WIYOS headline, playing revved string-band rips; and Red Tail Ring, a duo, opens at 7 p.m. Admission is $18, advance; $20 at the door.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at firstname.lastname@example.org.