John Fogerty has clarified the meaning behind one of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s biggest hits: “Run Through the Jungle” was a statement about gun control. In a new interview with Dan Rather airing Tuesday on the newmsan’s AXS show The Big Interview, the singer cleared up the myth that the “jungle” in question in the 1970 song was Vietnam.
“The thing I wanted to talk about was gun control and the proliferation of guns,” Fogerty said. “I think my first experience as a kid was hearing about the fellow that climbed up in the Texas tower and was able to kill several people on the campus.” Rather clarified that former Marine Charles Whitman had ascended a tower at the University of Texas and killed 16 people and wounded 32 others in 1966. “On through the years, of course, we’ve seen more and more of this sort of event,” the singer continued. “One is just as wacky or crazy as the other. When we sometimes think we have a handle on why this person did something, then another one comes along that’s a complete departure.”
Fogerty also revealed the statistic that, years after that event, inspired some of the song’s lyrics. “I remember reading around that time that there was one gun for every man, woman and child in America, which I found staggering,” he said. “We’re talking about privately held guns. So somewhere in the song, I think I said, ‘200 million guns are loaded.’ Not that anyone else has the answer, [but] I did not have the answer to the question. I just had the question. I just thought it was disturbing that it was such a jungle for our citizens just to walk around in our own country at least having to be aware that there are so many private guns owned by some responsible and maybe many irresponsible people.”
He added that he’s become more concerned about who owns guns in the years that followed. It bothered him how people would use the Second Amendment to claim that they should own machine guns. “You don’t take a machine gun to go deer hunting,” he said. “There’s got to be some sort of lid on this thing.”
Fogerty also wrote about the song in his 2015 autobiography, Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, echoing much of what he told Rather and saying he was a hunter that favored gun control. That said, he had a unique take.
“Since 9/11 (or perhaps because of it), our government has passed a lot of legislation that further diminishes our rights as ordinary citizens,” he wrote. “With the revelations of Edward Snowden, we see the specter of parts of our government spying on its own citizens. Therefore, I think it is important that our citizenry is armed. I believe this acts as a deterrent – whoa! Deterrent? Against what? Let’s just say that the fact that there are millions of armed people ready to defend their homes probably acts as a huge roadblock against those who would try to seize the country for their own ends.”
Rather’s full hour-long interview with Fogerty airs Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST on AXS TV.