Hearty Har- A New Generation of Fogerty Brothers

Author :  Margie Estberg.

While you may recognize the last name, don’t assume that these two brothers are simply attempting to follow in their father’s footsteps. And while they love making music with John, as well as their sister Kelsey, who is currently in college and equally talented but more shy (check out their Fogerty’s Factory YouTube videos), their father has never attempted to push them in any direction. They are passionate and extremely individualistic, following their personal paths into producing their own music, which is self-styled and somewhat reminiscent of another era. While “psychedelic” is often used to describe their music, don’t let that dissuade you. Their music will draw the attention of all ages, and their enthusiasm makes you want to hear more.

Tyler and Shane Fogerty, ages 29 and 30 respectively, are the sons of Creedence Clearwater Revival leader John Fogerty, as well as nephews of John’s late brother, and fellow CCR member, Tom Fogerty. One might expect the same sounds and the raspy vocals of their father, but other than sharing that well-known last name, these two men are veering out on their own with a very unique and varied musical vision. I imagined their sound to that of a supergroup including Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and the Beatles- ironically all British bands, but with a very innovative sound due to their stylings and the extraordinary number of instruments they implement into their music. They started playing music at a young age, first taking piano lessons in their early teens, which then led to their interest in guitars. They took the moniker Hearty Har to describe the aura and genuinely joyful feeling they experience while producing their music. I spoke with them in Las Vegas where they were currently on tour with their father. Shane, with his long bushy hair, appeared to be the more gregarious brother, and Tyler more reserved and insightful- the differences in their personalities lead to a well-rounded vision of the type of music they want to produce. But it should be noted that the “reserved” Tyler becomes a madman on stage, a definite shock after speaking with him.

Most of us know you from playing in your dad‘s band, but when did the two of you first start making music together?

Shane: “The first time we started playing, we joined this John Mizenko-run program, Join the Band, on Van Nuys Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. He was also one of our first guitar teachers. Tyler, our friend Hayden, and I played drums for our first try. We played “Down on the Corner” and “Wild Thing.”

Did your dad teach you how to play guitar?

Tyler: “No, he didn’t want to be our guitar teacher as he didn’t think that that would be the right move. So we would ask him questions, and he would fill us in. He wanted us to develop our own sensibility.”

After honing their musical skills as teenagers, they would later travel to London to play with their father.

I heard you played Royal Albert Hall as teenagers. That must’ve been amazing!

Shane: “Yes! That was! We were young teenagers. We were getting into rock music and skateboarding. I had heard about Royal Albert Hall through the Beatles and the Cream documentary- I think that had come out about that time. I remember being so nervous. I had to play the riff to “Up Around the Bend.” I was like, ‘I can’t mess this up!’ That was a pretty cool moment.”

You guys are so close in age. Were you close growing up?

Shane: “Yeah, we had joint birthday parties, and our friends were the same. We tried to get along and always have. We’re a little different. I think we complement each other.”

Before you signed the deal with BMG (the recording, publishing, and streaming label), were you self-publishing and producing?

Shane: “Yes, we’ve still been known to sell our CDs at concerts! (Laughter) They (BMG) helped at the beginning, but because of Covid… We’re a small fish in a big pond. It’s a hard thing. We had the record done in 2019 (Radio Astro), and we were trying to shop it around.”

Their cd covers, as with their music, have a slightly retro feel to them and are very artistic and multidimensional.

So,Tyler, I understand you do the artwork? Did you have art classes?

Tyler: “In high school, I did, but I’m still into photography and always have liked doing art stuff. But I’m a terrible drawer. I can draw stick figures (laughter). Way back, I developed this process of making a collage. You find images, and you scan them, and piece them together and erase the edges.”

When you did Jam in the Van (a mobile recording and streaming vehicle), where were you?

Shane: “We were in Culver City at their headquarters. They have a little building there.”

How did it come about?

Tyler: “The first time, the owner saw us at the Bootleg (club in Los Angeles) and invited us. And then he invited us back about four years later. We’ll be there doing another show on November 5. We’re playing a show at a new venue. I think it’s next door.” (Laughter when I asked if it was in the next parking space over.)

Do they provide most of the equipment?

Tyler: “Yes, but we brought in our own amps because we’re sticklers for the sound- so it sounds like it did when we rehearsed.”

I mentioned that I had to Google some of the many instruments they play (charango and clavioline to name a couple), as I was not familiar with them. They appear to have an affinity for South American instruments, and they often will alter instruments and morph them into one. One might imagine their homes are filled with instruments, and if you offered them a Bentley or the instrument of their choice, there would most likely be a vacant spot in their garages. These guys are serious about their music, rather than fame and fortune, which would separate them from a lot of musicians these days. Even their favorite albums (often 70’s music) are not the well-known albums of popular artists but the more esoteric and lesser-known albums.

On an unpleasant note, knowing the battles your dad and (brother and fellow CCR member)Tom went through, have you thought about how to deal with any issues that might come up?

Tyler: “I think for that, it’s funny- that “Tom-ness” (sic) has manifested itself in some other people we’ve worked with in the past. For us, it’s all good and groovy, and we feel good about the work we’re doing, and sometimes, someone else has a problem. That’s fine, but I’m not going to create that with Shane. It’s pure and easy and good.”

They mentioned they take turns writing songs with the composer often being the one who will handle the vocals on that song.

Shane: “We collaborate pretty heavily when we’re recording, and we write and record at the same time. We’ll each bring in an idea, and we let each other see out the idea before we stomp on it. (Laughter) ‘Well, that’s not going to work!’”

You’ve had the opportunity to play a lot of places already, but if you could play anywhere, where would it be?

Tyler: “That’s a good question. Japan? It seems like such a beautiful and mysterious place.”

If you had the opportunity to collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

Tyler: “I don’t want to say the wrong one and hurt anyone’s feelings. I guess I would’ve liked to have been a part of the Brazilian Music of the 60’s- the Tropicalia. I would’ve loved to have met them. I like the less pop and more experimental music.” (He would also go on to mention Paul Simon later.)

Shane: “For me, Jeff Lynne. (We discussed how he’s able to reproduce his music live so it sounds as clear as the recordings.) I would love to hang out with him in the studio.” Interviewer’s note: I agree and would love to be in the studio with those three guys and listen in what direction their music might go.

Before we go, congratulations on your recent wedding, Shane (the wedding was five days prior to the interview). How long have you known each other?

Shane: “Thank you! 12 years.”

What took you so long?!

Shane: (laughter) “We met in a club in our late teens and decided it was more important to save to buy a house rather than a big wedding. We got married at our parents’ ranch in Arizona. I’m still coming down from it!”

Lastly, have you each ever thought of doing your own stuff?

Tyler: “Not really. I don’t like playing music solo. I like being involved with people and collaborations, and in the past, I’ve played with friends’ bands. But it’s a serious thing, and I’d much rather do it in a group. A few people could pull that off like Paul Simon.”

At this point, their uncle called them away to get ready for the start of the show. I left the interview with a great respect for not only their burgeoning talent but also the immense passion these guys have for their music. They are both incredibly artistic and intelligent, something that is not easily found. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Hearty Har.