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826  MELLENCAMP.COM ANNOUNCEMENTS / Ticket & Tour Questions / Re: So, How Is The Movie? on: November 09, 2010, 09:43:28 pm
Click here to see a preview: http://www.rounderartists.com/mellencamptour/
827  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Tour Talk / Re: Kansas City Show - :( on: November 09, 2010, 09:04:27 pm
Someone in the front row said that he was "mad" at Kansas City because the local radio stations were not playing his new music. I can understand being mad at the media, but lets not take it out on the people who pay the ticket prices, who buy the albums, purchase concert items, and who praise him for his accomplishments past and present.

Radio stations in every city fail to play John's new music, so why would he single out Kansas City? I think you've got splinters in the windmills of your mind.
828  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Tour Talk / Re: St. Louis, MO Show -- rocked on: November 08, 2010, 03:58:00 pm
I am a dedicated Mellencamp fan. This show was what its like to love his music, new and old.  Great show!  We sat four rows from the stage and it was the concert of a life time for me.

I have been a fan of John since he was Johnny Cougar!!  Have seen him perform many times, (I have lost count!), he and his band has NEVER disappointed me, we sat in the third row from stage/VIP, and it was the best!!!  My only disappointment was to find that the people sitting in seats next to me were NOT fan club members.  Great show!!!<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

I was in the third row, too. 
829  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Articles / The Story Behind John's Walking Stick on: November 08, 2010, 03:54:01 pm
This is the fifth and final post in a series leading up to John Mellencamp’s Nov. 8 and 11 performances at Clowes Hall and Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University.

Last month, paparazzi website INF Daily published images of John Mellencamp walking in New York City with actress pal Meg Ryan.

Mellencamp carried a walking stick on that outing, and the Hoosier rock star also had the stick when he attended the Dalai Lama’s speech at Conseco Fieldhouse in May (where the Robert Scheer image at left was made).

I asked about the accessory during an Oct. 28 conversation with Mellencamp in Bloomington.

He said he doesn’t carry the stick that dates to 1836 — a gift from his wife, Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp — for medical reasons:

“That stick is a dangerous stick — that’s all I’m going to say about it. If you see me with that stick, you know that John isn’t worried about anyone doing much to him.

“Ah, I basically carry it for a joke.

“All gentlemen are supposed to have a walking stick, and who’s a more deserving gentleman than myself?”

During the heyday of the walking stick (more or less 300 years leading up to the age of the automobile, Mellencamp says), men concealed a variety of things inside — swords, knives, guns, maps, newspapers and umbrellas.

“I won’t tell you what’s in my walking stick,” he said. “But there’s something inside."

http://blogs.indystar.com/sounds/2010/11/08/walk-tall-and-carry-a-dangerous-stick/
830  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / St. Louis, MO / Riverfront Times Review on: November 07, 2010, 02:49:12 pm
The Thrill Isn't Gone for John Mellencamp at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis, Saturday, November 6

By Katie Moulton

Taking up an acoustic guitar for "Save Some Time to Dream," John Mellencamp stood alone onstage and told a story about his father, who regularly asks him if he's "having any fun." The roots-rock veteran did look like he was having fun last night at the Fox Theatre, punching all his marks while remaining heartfelt.

Grainy Super 8 footage rolled on a screen stage-front as the Saturday-night crowd hurried to their seats. The film, It's About You, is Mellencamp's opening act: It's a Kurt Markus-shot documentary about 2009's minor league ballpark tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and the recording of the album No Better Than This. It chronicles Mellencamp's pilgrimages to significant locations in American musical history: recording at the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Sun Studios in Memphis and Room 414 in the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, where blues pioneer Robert Johnson recorded for three days in 1936.

Sometimes these equivalents to touching holy relics - singing from the X where Elvis stood, actually getting baptized - seem silly, but the honesty of Mellencamp's mission comes through in footage of the recording sessions. To see the small band of session players huddled around a single 1940s-era microphone, to think that Better is the first mono-only release to make the top 10 since 1964, and to listen as steady, unobtrusive T-Bone Burnett cajoles profanity-firing Mellencamp into a take - well, that's pretty cool.

I wondered if showing footage of previous performances would dilute the power of that night's performance, but it was pointed out to me that this was the perfect way to familiarize the audience with the new songs they were about to hear live.

With the crowd primed (by the visual narrative) and ready (after a half-hour happy hour between film and music), Mellencamp and his band took the stage with "Authority Song." Emphasizing a country groove, the arrangements featured Mellencamp, crack guitarist Andy York and 35-year compadre Mike Wanchic all on electric, drummer Dane Clark on a stand-up cocktail kit and Jon E. Gee on upright bass. By the seventh song, "Check It Out," from 1987's The Lonesome Jubilee, violinist Miriam Sturm and Troye Kinnett on accordion joined the set-up. Under the wistful, summer-day fiddle, Mellencamp, with cordless mic and snapping fingers, wandered the stage that evoked a town-square dance.

Mellencamp moved into the predominantly solo and acoustic set by taking off his jacket. He punctuated each song - from a cappella "Cherry Bomb" to strange boy-meets-devil fable "Right Behind Me" - with anecdotes, so that it lived up to the "evening with" billing. Before Reagan-era complaint "Jackie Brown," Mellencamp made the one political comment of the night saying, "How the hell do we always have money for bombs and not for food?" Next came the quietest moment of the show with "Longest Days," a simple lullaby of mortality underscored by a poignant, funny story about Mellencamp's beloved grandmother.

The band rejuvenated "Jack and Diane" with an upbeat time signature and island swing, but Mellencamp's emphatic, howling vocals haven't changed a bit. Following with solo, acoustic "Small Town," a call from the crowd broke the singer's concentration - as he had to pause and start over, chuckling, "Yeah, you fucked me up. How many times you think I sang this song?"

Ninety minutes into the show, Mellencamp left the stage briefly a single time - only to reemerge with the fully electric band and a raging "Rain on the Scarecrow." What followed was a bang-up sequence of late-'80s/early-'90s hits - "Paper in Fire," "The Real Life" and "Human Wheels." This was Mellencamp's patent sound - the big chorus, Appalachian fiddle, larger-than-life drums and backup chorus as meaty as his own voice - and it carried all the way through show-closing "Pink Houses" and "R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A." As confident and mature as the whole performance had been, Mellencamp looked most at home here - fronting a band on fire with heartland rock 'n' roll.

Critic's Notebook: I sat next to my mother at this show, who as a young student at Indiana University in the '70s, saw "Johnny Cougar" perform at tiny barroom venues in Bloomington. She remembers that he was panned locally.

This was a rowdy middle-aged crowd. If Mellencamp ever does run for that soon-vacated Indiana Senate seat, the campaign slogan "Cougars for Cougar" just might take him all the way.

Setlist:
1. Authority Song
2. Nobody Cares About Me
3. Deep Blue Heart
4. Death Letter
5. Walk Tall
6. The West End
7. Check It Out
8. Save Some Time to Dream
9. Cherry Bomb
10. Don't Need This Body
11. Right Behind Me
12. Jackie Brown
13. Longest Days
14. Easter Eve
15. Jack and Diane
16. Small Town
17. New Hymn
18. Rain on the Scarecrow
19. Paper in Fire
20. The Real Life
21. Human Wheels
22. If I Die Sudden
23. No Better Than This
24. Pink Houses
25. R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A.







http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/atoz/2010/11/john_mellencamp_review_2010_setlist_st_louis_fabulous_fox_theatre_no_better_this_november_6_photos_video.php
831  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Articles / Will Classic Mellencamp Band Reunite? on: November 07, 2010, 02:39:07 pm
Will ‘classic’ Mellencamp band lineup reunite?

By David Lindquist

Near the end of a John Mellencamp interview published in The Sunday Star (http://www.indystar.com/article/20101107/ENTERTAINMENT/11070302/Mellencamp-at-ease-no-hits-in-sight), the Hoosier rock star addresses rumors that he might work again with guitarist Larry Crane, drummer Kenny Aronoff, bass player Toby Myers and guitarist Mike Wanchic.

Working with Wanchic wouldn’t be news. He’s been a full-time member in Mellencamp’s band since 1978.

But Crane, Aronoff and Myers were fixtures of Mellencamp’s MTV heyday who left the touring lineup more than a decade ago.

Myers exited on good terms after 1998′s “John Mellencamp” album, citing “retirement” — although he appeared on 2003′s “Trouble No More” project and presently performs with multiple Indiana-based bands.

Aronoff and Mellencamp parted ways in the mid-’90s, largely because Aronoff stacked up a wealth of high-profile jobs with acts other than Mellencamp.

Crane and Mellencamp had a contentious split in the early-’90s, based on Crane’s view that he and his band mates were underpaid.

“I got no bones with any of those guys anymore,” Mellencamp said during an Oct. 28 interview in Bloomington. “If there’s a tenuous relationship, it’s probably between me and Larry — but I’m sure he’s mature enough and I’m mature enough.

“I know what would happen if we got into a room. I’d look at him, he’d look at me and I’d say, ‘Let’s go.’

“That would be the end of it: ‘Let’s go to work.’”

For now, Mellencamp has shelved any reunion of his “classic” supporting cast because he doesn’t want to give the impression that a tour with Crane, Myers and Aronoff would follow.

“This is the best rock band in America right now,” he said of Wanchic, guitarist Andy York, violin player Miriam Sturm, drummer Dane Clark, bass player Jon Gunnell and keyboard player Troye Kinnett. “Why would I abandon them?”

Tomorrow: Mellencamp’s “dangerous” offstage accessory.

http://blogs.indystar.com/sounds/2010/11/07/will-classic-mellencamp-band-lineup-reunite/
832  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Articles / Indianapolis Star Feature on: November 07, 2010, 02:33:08 pm
Mellencamp at ease, no hits in sight

By David Lindquist

"Never wanted to be no pop singer.

Never wanted to write no pop songs."


-- Opening lines of "Pop Singer," a Top 20 single for John Mellencamp in 1989.

In retrospect, John Mellencamp couldn't have been much clearer about wanting to change his career path.

He devoted MTV hit "Pop Singer" to complaints about trendy haircuts, photo shoots and showbiz schmoozing.

The song arrived at the end of Mellencamp's go-go 1980s, a decade packed with nine Top 10 singles and six platinum-selling albums for the Seymour native.

Many listeners interpreted "Pop Singer" as the work of someone unappreciative of success.

Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says the intended message was a desire to stop "chasing hit records."

Seated in his aluminum Airstream trailer outside IU Auditorium one day before the launch of a tour that includes two Indianapolis dates this week, Mellencamp said life on top -- or within striking distance of Reagan-era icons Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Prince -- proved to be unfulfilling.

"You just become a monkey on a string," he said. "But I couldn't quit. I had only learned to do stuff one way."

Across the next two decades, Mellencamp managed to buck pop-star convention in notable, if not earthshaking, ways:

» He didn't tour to promote "Pop Singer" and its accompanying album, "Big Daddy."

» He became a painter of portraits, landscapes and social commentary.

» He directed and starred in 1992 film "Falling from Grace."

» He dabbled with dance-club rhythms on 1996 album "Mr. Happy Go Lucky."

» He played a series of free, unadvertised shows in public parks and civic spaces in 2000.

» He recorded an album of blues covers, "Trouble No More," in 2003.

» He's worked with Stephen King on a long-gestating musical play, "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," that's expected to premiere in 2011 or 2012.

"Life is exhausting," Mellencamp said. "To make it not exhausting, you have to continue to challenge yourself and try to do something that you never thought you could do.

"He said to me, 'John, you had the misfortune of becoming a big rock star in the '80s. Now how are you going to finish your career with some dignity?' We're trying to figure out how to make that work."

At the same time, Mellencamp said, he doesn't regret making the music that made him a star.

"We knew we had to have hit records," he said. "Critics weren't going to like us, and my songwriting ability was pretty undeveloped at the time. I had a record deal, and I had only written two songs."

Volunteering a thumbnail summary of ways he's changed since signing that first recording contract in 1975, Mellencamp is 59, he's traveled the globe, been married three times, raised five children and "fought with everybody he's ever come in contact with."

One standout lyric of "No Better Than This" is found in the song "Right Behind Me": "I know Jesus, and I know the Devil. They're both inside me, all the time."

Mellencamp claims he can't analyze his lyrics in terms of one line being any better or worse than the others.

"All I know is that my last three albums (dating to 2007's "Freedom's Road"), songwriting-wise, were just handed to me," he said. "I didn't really do anything. You hear guys say, 'I'm just a conduit.' I'm a conduit for somebody now. I don't struggle. I don't have to rewrite."

When the tour visits Butler University's Clowes Hall on Monday and Hinkle Fieldhouse on Thursday, it will be the first time Mellencamp has played a legitimate "home" show in Indianapolis.

In addition to homes in Bloomington, Savannah, Ga., and Daufuskie Island, S.C., Mellencamp recently established residency in Indianapolis with his wife, Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp, and teenage sons Hud and Speck.

Hud, a Golden Gloves boxing champion, trains at the Police Athletic League gym in Haughville.

"Indianapolis has grown up to be such a nice town," Mellencamp said. "Not that Bloomington's not, but every now and then, it's nice to go to a different restaurant and kind of have a date night."

Regarding Hinkle Fieldhouse -- a rare "arena" stop on a tour that includes theaters such as Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., and Radio City Music Hall in New York City -- Mellencamp expressed concern that the venue may be too big.

"We want John Mellencamp fans here," he said. "This is not the casual guy, 'Hey, let's go listen to Mellencamp, party and get drunk' tour."

"So many people think about me as 'Pink Houses' and 'Jack & Diane.' That's great. I'm very fortunate to have those songs. But I've written thousands of songs that aren't like that."

More than 20 non-pop compositions are found on 2008 album "Life, Death, Love and Freedom" and this year's "No Better Than This."

Both projects were produced by T-Bone Burnett, known for overseeing the soundtrack for the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and the Robert Plant-Alison Krauss album "Raising Sand."

"No Better Than This" is a collection of folk, blues and rockabilly tunes recorded at three historic sites: Sun Studio in Memphis, Tenn. (site of hit-making by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins), First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga. (which bills itself as the longest-running black congregation in North America), and the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, (where blues icon Robert Johnson cut 16 songs in 1936).

As the first mono-only album to reach Billboard magazine's Top 10 since James Brown's "Pure Dynamite! Live at the Royal" in 1964, "No Better Than This" finally makes a break from Mellencamp's pop singer days.

"T-Bone has been such a good influence on me," he said.

For the 48-date "No Better Than This" tour, Mellencamp has ditched a standard format of performing greatest hits interspersed with a few tracks from the current album.

New material, rarities and his best-known songs have been overhauled and slotted into stylistic segments across a two-hour show.

Accompanied by guitarists Mike Wanchic and Andy York, violin player Miriam Sturm, drummer Dane Clark, bass player Jon Gunnell and keyboard player Troye Kinnett, Mellencamp plays a rockabilly transformation of "The Authority Song," a Nashville-friendly version of "No Better Than This" and a steamroller blues-rock rendition of "If I Die Sudden."

When collecting a lifetime achievement award for songwriting at September's Americana Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn., Mellencamp credited Burnett for being the singer's artistic conscience:

Yet Mellencamp hasn't completely closed the door on an era that produced raucous fan favorites such as "Hurts So Good," "Play Guitar" and "Lonely Ol' Night."

He recently wrote material for a "reunion" album that would feature himself, Wanchic and three musicians identified with Mellencamp's MTV days: guitarist Larry Crane, bass player Toby Myers and drummer Kenny Aronoff.

Mellencamp shelved the project, however, because he didn't want to give the impression that a tour with Crane, Myers and Aronoff would follow.

"This is the best rock band in America right now," he said. "Why would I abandon them?"

http://www.indystar.com/article/20101107/ENTERTAINMENT/11070302/Mellencamp-at-ease-no-hits-in-sight
833  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / St. Louis, MO / Mellencamp reworks old hits in a mostly satisfying show on: November 07, 2010, 01:43:11 pm
Mellencamp reworks old hits in a mostly satisfying show

By Daniel Durchholz Special to the Post-Dispatch

It’s not like John Mellencamp to put on airs, but on Saturday night at the Fox Theatre, a slick, recorded introduction brought him onstage, touting his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials and calling him “the poet laureate of the interstates.”

The intro is likely something he cadged from his recent touring partner Bob Dylan, whose stage introduction refers to him as “the poet laureate of rock and roll.”

Also like Dylan, Mellencamp has radically reworked some of his old songs in order to keep himself interested while sating the portion of the crowd he called “nostalgic people.” It usually worked, as on a truncated, a cappella version of “Cherry Bomb,” and on “Small Town,” which he performed solo, on acoustic guitar.

But sometimes the results weren’t so satisfying. Carried along by a rumbling shuffle beat, the protagonists of “Jack and Diane” seemed more like Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill instead of hanging out at the Tastee Freez. 

Still, it’s to his credit that Mellencamp mostly refuses to rest on his laurels. Much of the two-hour show featured recent songs, including a handful from his acclaimed new album “No Better Than This,” which delves deep into American roots music.

Among the new songs, the standouts included a stark, impassioned reading of “The West End,” a song he said was about what happens “when greed takes over”; the rollicking story song “Easter Eve”; and the weary but wise “Save Some Time to Dream,” which sounds like it could be his answer to Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

Though Mellencamp’s six-piece band was used sparingly throughout much of the show, the latter third was given over to full-tilt arrangements of his hits, including “Rain on the Scarecrow,” “Paper in Fire,” “Pink Houses” and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”

Because he could set his own pace and wasn’t limited by time constraints, the Fox show was far more satisfying than Mellencamp’s two area appearances last year – with Dylan and Willie Nelson at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, and at Farm Aid, held at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

But the evening did start on a bit of a sour note. In place of an opening act, there was a screening of “It’s About You,” Kurt Markus’ documentary about Mellencamp’s 2009 tour and the making of “No Better Than This.” The film was fine, but the theater’s doors were held until after it had already started, creating an unnecessary rush for the seats once fans were admitted. The gaffe was an insult to everyone who made a point of getting to the Fox early enough to see it.

http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/music/reviews/article_c5d63732-ea92-11df-9d7b-0017a4a78c22.html
834  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / St. Louis, MO / St. Louis Show Review on: November 07, 2010, 01:18:55 am
Great show at the beautiful Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis tonight. John was in good spirits and put on an energetic and entertaining performance. There were some very funny moments. Before "Right Behind Me" he told a long story about how he had the devil trapped in an apple tree in his backyard when he was 14 and the devil told him if he could keep him up in the tree for a week he wouldn't take John's soul. John said a pretty girl walked by after two days and he went after her and if he hadn't, we would all be saved from the devil right now. He also said the devil doesn't have horns and a tail, he dresses nice and is very intelligent.  I saw both shows in Bloomington last weekend and this story wasn't told at either of them, so this appears to be something new.

During "Small Town" somebody yelled something out (I was told later a guy yelled "Seymour, Indiana," but I can't be sure) and John started laughing and said "you f**ked me up. I've sung this song how many times? And because of you I f**ked up." He said it in a jovial, light-hearted way, but that was a first for me, hearing a fan rattle John. He didn't start the song over, he picked it up from where he messed up.                                    

"Thinking About You" appears to be gone from the setlist for good, and it hasn't been replaced by anything else. "Troubled Land" also appears to be gone for good, but it has been replaced by "Human Wheels," which is a good move by John in my opinion. "Troubled Land," while a fantastic song, has been a little overplayed in the live setting since 2007 and "Human Wheels" sounds fresher and at least briefly represents John's underrated '90s work, a decade he completely skipped over in the Bloomington shows last weekend.

The new rockabilly version of "Walk Tall" continues to be the highlight of the set for me, along with "Deep Blue Heart" and "The Real Life." "Death Letter" also sounds great live. John sings it with a lot of passion. I also really like the acoustic version of "Jackie Brown" and the barroom brawl story in "Easter Eve" really comes across well live and keeps the fans interested. John does a fantastic job of delivering it in a fashion so that everyone, whether they've heard the song before or not, hangs on every verse.  

John is consistently playing for over two hours and delivering 24 songs, which is the same length and same number of songs he did during his heyday on the Scarecrow, Lonesome Jubilee and Whenever We Wanted tours. On those tours he took a 15-20 minute intermission halfway through the set, and this time he's playing straight through. Throw in the fantastic movie that opens each show and you could make a strong case that this is the best Mellencamp tour ever. It's heavy on album tracks (even if most are from recent albums instead of classic albums) and moderate on hits, and many of those that are played are completely rearranged. In short, the St. Louis show was fantastic, the Fabulous Fox is as good a venue to see a show as there is in the United States, and if you aren't planning to see this tour before it ends in late April, change your plans ASAP. You can't miss this show. Yes, the tickets are expensive, but the No Better Than This tour is worth every penny.

Setlist:

Authority Song
No One Cares About Me
Deep Blue Heart
Death Letter
Walk Tall
The West End
Check It Out
Save Some Time To Dream (solo, acoustic)
Cherry Bomb (a capella)
Don’t Need This Body
Right Behind Me
Jackie Brown (acoustic with Mirium on violin)
Longest Days (John and Andy)
Easter Eve
Jack and Diane
Small Town (solo, acoustic)
Troye and Mirium's Hymn
Rain on the Scarecrow
Paper and Fire
The Real Life
Human Wheels
If I Die Sudden
No Better Than This
Pink Houses
R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVkn7ekHLYk

Below are some pictures from the St. Louis show:









835  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Kansas City, MO / KC Review on: November 06, 2010, 11:25:02 am
Review | John Mellencamp at the Midland

By JOEL FRANCIS

Special to The Star

Friday night’s sold-out John Mellencamp show at the Midland Theater was the tale of two concerts.

For the first 90 minutes, Mellencamp used his vast songbook to explore the nooks and crannies of American music. Opener “Authority Song” was stripped of its big country riff and rode bare bones on the spare bass and drum line. Later in the show, “Jack and Diane” was given the same treatment, with Miriam Strum’s violin shouldering the melody.

“No One Cares About Me” resembled prime-era Johnny Cash with a boom-chicka rhythm section and guitarist Andy York doing his best Carl Perkins impression. “Deep Blue Heart” sounded like an outtake from Bob Dylan’s “Time Out Of Mind.”

While there weren’t any jump-to-your-feet, hands-in-the-air climaxes during this part, there were a few goose bump-inducing moments. The smallest moments were the biggest, like Mellencamp’s poignant solo, acoustic delivery of “Jackie Brown,” where he was joined by Strum at the end.

A subdued “Check It Out” had the wistful air of someone watching their grandchildren play in the yard. Later, the entire theater clapped and sang along as Mellencamp sang “Cherry Bomb” without his band or his guitar.

It was clear, however, that the crowd wasn’t expecting a low-key evening. The chatter from the bar downstairs floated into the balcony during the quiet “Longest Days.” Story/songs “Right Behind Me” and “Easter Eve” lacked a traditional chorus and struggled to captivate the crowd.

After the beautiful violin/accordion duet of “New Hymn,” the full drum kit that had been tantalizing the crowd all night was finally put to use. Starting with the heartland hymn “Rain on the Scarecrow,” Mellencamp and his six-piece backing band cut loose and delivered 30 minutes of the expected energetic sing-alongs. With each song, the band raised the volume and dropped formality. Singles like “Pink Houses” drew the biggest responses, while the band seemed to relish trotting out album cuts “The Real Life” and “No Better Than This.”

In a way, Mellencamp served as his own opening act. As the audience found their seats an hour-long documentary played. The film showed Mellencamp on tour and as he recorded his latest album at Sun Studios in Memphis, the San Antonio hotel room where Robert Johnson once recorded, and First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga.

Mellencamp recorded the album using a single microphone to capture the entire band in one take. The approach may puzzle some fans, but it’s clear from the first half of the night that his songwriting chops are as strong as ever. The struggle will be to win fans over to new arrangements and sounds that don’t resemble the long-loved radio hits.

After a little more than two hours, the house lights were up, and Mellencamp was safely shuttled to his Airstream trailer parked behind the building. A large portion of the crowd lingered, whistling and clapping in vain as the stage was cleared. The evening wasn’t a complete success, but it was enough to leave them wanting more.

Setlist: Authority Song; No One Cares About Me; Deep Blue Heart; Death Letter; Walk Tall; The West End; Check It Out; Save Some Time To Dream (solo, acoustic); Cherry Bomb (a capella); Don’t Need This Body; Right Behind Me; Jackie Brown (solo, acoustic); Longest Days; Easter Eve; Jack and Diane; Small Town (solo, acoustic); New Hymn; Rain on the Scarecrow; Paper and Fire; The Real Life; Human Wheels; If I Die Sudden; No Better Than This; Pink Houses; R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/11/06/2399995/review-john-mellencamp-at-the.html#ixzz14WJogN7N
836  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Articles / AP Mellencamp Interview on: November 05, 2010, 11:59:03 am
Journey to the south helps John Mellencamp's return to basics with new 'stripped down' record

By John Carucci (CP), Nov. 5, 2010

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Listening to John Mellencamp's latest album, "No Better Than This," is like taking a trip back through time — and that's just what the rock legend had in mind.

While Mellencamp wrote a new batch of songs for the record, he took an old-school approach to making it. He used a vintage recording deck, a 1940s microphone, and instead of trying to get perfect surround sound, recorded the entire album in mono sound.

Mellencamp's goal was to recapture the spirit of music that would become the building blocks or rock, so he also visited some of rock's hallowed ground to record the music, including Sun Studios, where the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash recorded some of their earlier records.

Before Mellencamp kicked of his recent tour, he talked about the recording process and shared some of his views on politics, nutrition, and the state of the nation.

AP: Tell me about the unique way you recorded this album?

Mellencamp: The idea was to get as far away from technology, and get back to the origins how music was recorded. Originally, the idea was to capture something in the moment, but through technology, there is no moment anymore, it's just something that's built and constructed. So we wanted to go back and play music and try to get as far away from where we have come with the technology to the almost anti-technology where it all began.

AP: You recorded in some pretty special places.

Mellencamp: In Savannah, Ga., there's the first black Baptist church in America, which sits downtown, which is unusual for a black church. The reason we recorded there is that it was really the gateway of the Underground Railroad. The church has been there — it's (a) real interesting story behind the church and the congregation is fantastic. So we started there. And then we went to Sun (Studios). Then we went to San Antonio to the Gunther Hotel, which is where Robert Johnson had recorded some of his legendary blues songs.

AP: Was it an honour to record at Sun Studio?

Mellencamp: I think it is for any musician. It was really interesting because we could only record at night because they had tours that go through there during the day. So we wouldn't be able to go into the studio until seven o'clock at night. So to be at Sun at three o'clock in the morning and the rest of Memphis is asleep, and we're in there playing music, and you walk outside and the mosquitoes find you, and you're in the south, it was hot and steamy. It was a fantastic experience.

AP: Any plans to rediscover your older songs using this technique?

Mellencamp: That's a good question because I had a hit record a long time ago called, "Jack & Diane," and I haven't been playing that for a long time. But my band, since we're getting ready to go out on tour, we just rearranged that song in the same fashion that my last record was recorded and we did away with all the pop sound and the rock sound of that time period and just turned it into a folk song. And it's a tragic song.

AP: How's your health?

Mellencamp: I had a heart attack in 1994, so I really had to start watching what I ate. Because up until that point I was bulletproof. I smoked four packs of cigarettes. I thought eating light was eating a fish sandwich at McDonald's. I didn't know anything about my health. But now I try to watch what I eat. I'm not always successful, but I try to keep things in moderation and I work out every day.

AP: You've been in this business for more than 30 years. Why do you think you've had such staying power?

Mellencamp: I think that it's a problem that people have. It's human nature to give up. I think people give up too early, and they shouldn't. ... I'm very tenacious. And I've always been person, and I've always rolled the rock up the hill. I enjoy rolling rock up the hill. I don't really care about getting to the top of the hill. I just like the struggle of trying to get up there. And I think that's what being alive is about, struggling. ... People think that it's our God-given right to be happy; it's not.

AP: Are we going through scary times as a nation?

Mellencamp: Every generation would say that their time is scary. What would be more scary than World War II? What would be more scary than the Civil War? ... It's a scary world. And if you want a better world, it starts with you. And if you follow the trends, then probably you're making a mistake.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5h6uTXIEVKx6GjRIno-vHnAf4tNkw?docId=5042801
837  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Articles / Mellencamp and Dylan: Traveling companions on: November 04, 2010, 10:49:19 pm
This is the first in a series of posts leading up to John Mellencamp’s Nov. 8 and 11 performances at Clowes Hall and Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University. A preview of the shows will be published in the Nov. 7 edition of The Sunday Star.


If you caught Bob Dylan’s Halloween show in Indianapolis and you’re going to a John Mellencamp performance next week, look for details the latter has borrowed from the former.

Dylan, for instance, displays the Academy Award he won for “Things Have Changed” — a song that appeared in 2000 film “Wonder Boys”  – onstage, perched on either a guitar or keyboard speaker.

Mellencamp also showcases a small statue — a representation of Jesus Christ that happens to be a piggy bank — on his guitar speaker.

Since 2002, a member of Dylan’s road crew has introduced the Minnesota native with this cliched encapsulation of his career (the rushed reading on Halloween was perhaps the lowlight of the entire evening):

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the poet laureate of rock ‘n’ roll. The voice of the promise of the ’60s counterculture. The guy who forced folk into bed with rock. Who donned makeup in the ’70s and disappeared into a haze of substance abuse. Who emerged to find Jesus. Who was written off as a has-been by the end of the ’80s, and who suddenly shifted gears — releasing some of the strongest music of his career beginning in the late ’90s. Ladies and gentlemen, Columbia recording artist Bob Dylan.”

For Mellencamp’s new “No Better Than This,” a similarly structured recorded introduction cites his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials and characterizes him as “poet laureate of the interstates.”

The two musicians have spent plenty of time together lately, as Mellencamp toured as Dylan’s supporting act during the summers of 2009 and 2010.

I interviewed Mellencamp Oct. 28 in Bloomington, where he launched the “No Better Than This” tour the following night (at left is an Associated Press image from that show). Between his afternoon and evening rehearsals at IU Auditorium, we chatted in his aluminum Airstream trailer — and I couldn’t resist asking about the Seymour native’s time on the road with Dylan.

“He comes in this trailer and sits and gabs every night,” Mellencamp said, noting their shared pastime of smoking cigarettes. Mellencamp favors American Spirits in light-blue packaging. I neglected to ask about Dylan’s brand.

“I’ve learned a lot from Bob, and I’ve laughed a lot with Bob,” the 59-year-old said. Dylan, on course to celebrate his 70th birthday in May, once critiqued his supporting act’s stage banter, Mellencamp said — even sharing this “Odd Couple”-esque dramatization:

Dylan: John, are you going to tell that stupid story tonight about you being in a bar band?

Mellencamp: What do you care?

Dylan: Change it. I’m sick of hearing it.

Mellencamp: You’re not backstage listening to me.

Dylan: Of course, I’m listening. You know maybe you should just quit talking altogether.

Mellencamp: You mean like you?

Dylan: Yeah, I don’t talk to the audience. If they don’t come to me, then they miss the show.

Mellencamp: I’m not like that, Bob. I can’t lean on “Rainy Day Women.” I kind of have to reach out to the audience.

Dylan, as noted in this current column and video by Nuvo’s Steve Hammer, is a bit of a ghost when he’s not onstage. Unless you’re “Pawn Stars” go-fer Austin “Chumlee” Russell, who seemingly bumped into Zimmy on an episode of the History Channel show that aired in September. Do you buy this video as being legit?

Tomorrow: The film that opens every date of the “No Better Than This” tour.

http://blogs.indystar.com/sounds/2010/11/04/mellencamp-and-dylan-traveling-companions/
838  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Articles / Mellencamp Indy TV Interview on: November 04, 2010, 10:44:41 pm
Bloomington - Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp continues his "No Better Than This" tour in Indianapolis with concerts Nov. 8 at Clowes Memorial Hall and Nov. 11 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Hoosier singer and songwriter gave exclusive access to Channel 13 as he prepared for the tour. Mellencamp, who was born in Seymour and lives near Bloomington, allowed WTHR cameras to record a 30-minute music set with his band that included "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.", "Pink Houses," "The Real Life," "No Better Than This," "Paper in Fire," "Troubled Land" and "Rain on the Scarecrow."

Prior to the final rehearsal, Mellencamp sat in a director's chair on the stage of the Indiana University Auditorium for a wide-ranging 30-minute interview covering his new record and his career.

The following transcript is from Mellencamp's interview with Eyewitness News Anchor Scott Swan.

Scott Swan: "Why is "No Better Than This" so different than your other records?"

John Mellencamp: "This new record goes back into the past, the way records used to be recorded and catch a moment. Today's music, there's no moment to capture. It's all built. You put the drums in, they put that in. They put this in and then all of a sudden, you've built a song. This record is captured. It's capturing a moment of musicians playing songs. It was all recorded on on one microphone and a 1950's portable Ampex machine. So, the sound is going to be quite a bit different than a digitally recorded record."

Scott Swan: "What's the message in the song 'Save Some Time To Dream?'"

John Mellencamp: "Our lives have become so rapid and we have so much information. And our head is filled with so much nonsense, and information and important things that you really don't have time for yourself. My dad has always said that to me. He always said, 'John have you done anything fun today? And I said, no - just worked. And he said 'you better do something fun today. As we lose the ability to dream, I think life takes on a much duller meaning. So for me, I hope to continue to dream until the day I die."

Scott Swan: "What is more fun - writing the song, recording the song or performing the song?"

John Mellencamp: "Writing and recording has always been more inspiring to me than actually going out and performing the song. I like performing. But after you do - I've done some shows 180 times, it becomes like 'I wonder what's on the room service menu' about half way through the song. And then when you start having those thoughts, it's time to get off the stage."

Scott Swan: "Are you a better songwriter or a better performer?"

John Mellencamp: "I'm not very good at either. I'm just trying to make my way through. I'm just doing the best I can. There's been a lot better. But, there's certainly been a lot worse."

Scott Swan: "How has your song writing changed since you first started?"

John Mellencamp: "I've been making records my whole life. So, a young kid from Seymour or Bloomington, Indiana with a record deal. I didn't have any vision of what I was doing."

Scott Swan: "You and your wife (Elaine) were baptized while recording "No Better Than This." Where are you spiritually?"

John Mellencamp: "That's a good question. When hatred enters into religion, which it often does, under the name of God, I think it's an error. I think that's why organized religion is at an all-time low and attending churches that's my assumption. I know when I was a kid, Sunday meant something. I'm not sure what it means anymore. I think it's because money and hatred have eclipsed what the word of the Bible is. America is in a terrible place right now."

Scott Swan: "Are we worse off as a country?"

John Mellencamp: "Absolutely."

Scott Swan: "How so?"

John Mellencamp: "We're in a bunch of wars that we shouldn't be in. And of course, when I said that before the Iraq war, everybody thought I was a trader. Well, it turns out maybe I was right. We shouldn't be in Afghanistan. What are we doing in these places? Why are we spending all this money? In the constitution, it says that the government shall provide for the safety and well being of its citizens. They always have the money for the safety - equals war. But well being, just don't have the money for that. Just don't have the money to take care of our sick people. Just don't have the money to take care of the homeless people. Just can't find the money for that. But to build a bomb, we've got the money and we'll go attack people for no reason at all. Why are we in Afghanistan? For what reason? Are we really safer now that Saddam Hussein is dead. Are we really safer? Are you afraid? It's (expletive), so that's how America's worse in my mind."

Scott Swan: "You were a supporter of President Obama. How do you feel like he's done?"

John Mellencamp: "I think he was so far behind the eight ball that you couldn't possibly tell now. He was left with such a colossal mess. But let's not forget, he's a politician. Politicians are politicians. They put on the suit of doing good and I put on the suit of singing songs."

Scott Swan: "Which of these descriptions are you most proud of? Legend, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Lifetime Achievement award, sold 40 million records, songwriter, keen social conscience, a man who will not fit it, pride of Indiana, or part of the fabric of so many of us?"

John Mellencamp: "Hypocrite."

Scott Swan: "Hypocrite best describes you?"

John Mellencamp: "Probably because I'm always in motion. I think people should be in motion. You think something for awhile and think that's not really true. You think you know somebody. And then you think, I didn't even know that person. So, you have to always be adjusting your opinion. If you think you know it all, then you know nothing."

Scott Swan: "So hypocrite is the word that best describes you?

John Mellencamp: "I think it's the best word that describes all of us, if we really take a look at ourselves. I think it's human nature to say one thing and do another."

Scott Swan: "So, how have you changed?"

John Mellencamp: "I'm always changing. (Expletive), you could talk to me tomorrow and I'll give you a whole different answer to what you've asked me. What's the matter, haven't you seen a hypocrite before (laughter)- the whole (expletive) country is full of hypocrites."

Scott Swan: "How has having children changed you?"

John Mellencamp: "I've had children forever. I've had children since I was 18. so, I've grown up having children. Sometimes I'm really good at being a parent and sometimes I'm really lousy. And I think anyone whose honest with themselves would have to come to the same conclusion. There are some things you are prepared to deal with and some things were not equipped to deal with."

Scott Swan: "(Your son) Hud is a heck of a boxer, isn't he?"

John Mellencamp: "Yeah, he certainly is. Yeah, but there are other things he needs to focus in on life besides being a fighter. He likes to fight. There's good sides to that and there's bad sides to that because he's a teenage boy. I'm proud as hell of what he's accomplished. Two times Golden Glove champ, two-times US boxing champ, it's great. He just came in third in the national boxing event in Kansas City."

Scott Swan: "What is it like being John Mellencamp in front of thousands of people, performing. What is that like?"

John Mellencamp: "It's the same as anyone else that has a job they've had for a long time. Some days you go in and it's like, well this is easy. And some days you go in and you think why did I ever start doing this? Some days you love your job. Some days you don't."

Scott Swan: "But thousands of people adore you."

John Mellencamp: "Thousands of people hate me too, so what's the difference."

Scott Swan: "But when you're up on stage, you're feeling the love that you've generated."

John Mellencamp: "See, I don't look at things like that. When I'm up on stage, I'm performing a song that I had written to my best ability. That's my focus. To be able to deliver a song in a fashion that the song deserves to be written in and delivered in. And hopefully the audience is coming to the song. I wrote a song a long time ago "I don't want to be a pop singer" I was young. And, I was very uncomfortable with that whole time period. It was embarrassing to me, the way people acted, the way people thought, the stigma with being a rock star. I didn't like it. You were stereotyped right off the bat. Well, he's a drug addict, I haven't been any of those things. I didn't really like the stigma. I never really cared about money. But, I always wanted to get paid. I never really cared about being on the radio, but I loved hearing my songs on the radio."

Scott Swan: "What's your favorite John Mellencamp song?"

John Mellencamp: "I'm still waiting to write that song."

Scott Swan: "You haven't written it yet?"

John Mellencamp: "Haven't written it yet."

Scott Swan: "So, when a John Mellencamp song comes on the radio, what do you do?"

John Mellencamp: "It depends. If I've heard it a billion times, I turn it down. If it's a new song, I'll listen to it. I wonder how this song sounds on the radio. I mean, I've heard Small Town on the radio before - laughter. It's nice that people still enjoy that song. But for me, I don't need to turn it up and listen to it. but, if a song off the new record comes on the radio, I'll turn it up and listen to it because I want to know how it sounds on the radio."

Scott Swan: "Your friend and producer T Bone Burnett said 'John you had the misfortune of being a big rock star in the 1980's, how will you finish your career with some dignity?'"

John Mellencamp: "I've played the hits to death. The reason we're playing these types of venues is because I want to be able to walk out with an acoustic guitar and I want to be able to play songs. I want to be able to play music. I don't want to be a monkey on a string playing hit records that I had 20 years ago. I think that's the conclusion that T Bone and I came to was that John, you have to reinvent yourself at this point and create something new and not worry about massive audiences because there aren't going to be massive audiences for anyone my age in the near future. We're doing 24 songs which is almost 2 and a half hours. My drummer will be a on a trap kit eight of those songs. The rest of the time he's playing percussion. That should tell you there's not a lot of boom boom boom bat. That's not happening."

Scott Swan: "Is playing in Indiana any more special than anywhere else in the world?"

John Mellencamp: "It's kind of embarrassing because I'm always able to look out in the audience and see people I know. Heah, how you doing? Heah, I saw you yesterday when you were over at my house last week. It's kind of embarrassing because people know me one way but when you walk on stage it's our responsibility to create magic and so you have to create that magic."

http://www.wthr.com/story/13448868/one-on-one-with-john-mellencamp
839  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Nashville, TN / Mellencamp Brings The Heartland To Nashville on: November 04, 2010, 10:41:54 pm
John Mellencamp Brings The Heartland To Nashville

By Evan Schlansky on November 4th, 2010

John Mellencamp’s gig at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium came complete with a gallery showing of his paintings and a screening of his new documentary, It’s About You. Call it a portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man. Watching the film, shot on super 8 and chock full of great content (John getting baptized alongside his wife, traversing the small towns and dried up cities of America, and recording with T Bone Burnett in Robert Johnson’s hotel room and Sun Studios) was almost like eating dessert before dinner. Would the audience want to hear the same songs again, after hearing snippets of many of them in the film? The answer: of course.

The film touched on Mellencamp’s quest for artistic relevancy in an ever-changing musical climate, but there’s something the man formerly known as “Cougar” has that is undeniable. His voice, grainy and loaded with gravitas, remains as compelling and as affective as it was the day he recorded “Pink Houses” in 1983. It’s a voice that’s as distinctive as any of his arguably more famous peers, from Dylan to Springsteen to Petty, and like those artists, it’s attached to a man who has kept integrity high on his priority list.

Johnny Cash once referred to him as one of the ten best songwriters, and Mellencamp’s newer material didn’t disappoint in a live setting. A healthy portion of his two-hour set was culled from 2010’s No Better Than This, recorded in now-fashionable-again mono. Many of the songs were performed acoustically, alone or with a few adornments, and like the best folk songs, they had an instant impact. “I guess I’m playing a lot of guitar now,” quipped Mellencamp. “When I first started out, playing in bands, they used to unplug me because I was such a shitty guitar player.” A rousing cover of Son House’s “Death Letter” was largely performed Black Keys style, with just a slide guitar and drums.

Then there were the hits. There was an a capella, sing-a-long reading of “Cherry Bomb.” “Jackie and Diane” was given an Americana makeover, with a new country backbeat and accordion, stand up bass, and fiddle. A solo acoustic “Small Town” went down easy, like a cold, refreshing beer after a long day’s work.

There were opportunities to rock out, as well. The “poet laureate of the interstate” strapped on an electric guitar for a scorching, full band version of “Rain On the Scarecrow,” and growled his way through “Paper and Fire” like a modern day Dylan. The highlight of the electric set might have been the crackling “If I Die Sudden,” from 2008’s Life, Death, Love And Freedom. If death is the ultimate authority, nobody can fight it and win. But you can wring some great material from it.

During “R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.,” Mellencamp pulled a sexy older woman (don’t call her a cougar) in a white tank top onstage to join him in some mildly dirty dancing. “When we first started out, we were the worst band in the world,” he said, as his longtime family of musicians vamped behind him. “But tonight, I think you’ll have to admit we’re the best band in the world.”








http://www.americansongwriter.com/2010/11/john-mellencamp-brings-the-heartland-to-nashville/
840  MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION / Nashville, TN / Nashville Tennessean Review of Ryman Show on: November 04, 2010, 02:03:20 pm
John Mellencamp's Ryman show mixes nostalgia, Americana

On his acclaimed new album, No Better Than This, and again at his Ryman Auditorium concert Wednesday night, John Mellencamp showed old-school Americana to be a remarkably comfortable fit.

But as masterful as his mix of blues, folk and Sun Records rock was, some members of his audience had trouble slipping into the sound.

“‘Jack and Diane’!” a female voice called out from the balcony between songs, pleading for Mellencamp's famous hit.

“I’ll get to it, sister,” the singer playfully responded. “Now that’s the problem with a lot of women — they’re just not patient. I’ll get to it!”

Mellencamp paced his two-hour-plus show like a three-act play, moving from a stripped-down roots-rock set to an acoustic portion to a celebratory rock finale. As a room that still looks very much like it did back in the 1940s through ’70s when it housed the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman is likely the kind of venue Mellencamp had in mind when he put this new, old-timey tour together.

Wednesday's show opened with a single spotlight on the center of the Ryman’s closed curtains, an offstage announcer making a “ladies and gentlemen” introduction. The curtains opened on Mellencamp and band, bathed in plain white lights, who launched into his 1983 hit “Authority Song,” stripping a bit of the song’s punk-inspired charge and applying a lighter, ’50s rock rhythm. It was the first of many musical compromises Mellencamp made with his hard-driving rock hits.

Those hits came sprinkled between a large helping of No Better Than This tunes. “It’s not my nature to be nostalgic at all,” Mellencamp sang on the new “Thinking About You.”

He’s certainly sporting when it comes to playing those old favorites, but when Mellencamp doesn’t have the crowd’s nostalgia to rest on, a new, determined frontman springs to life. The anthemic “Save Some Time to Dream” instantly brightened the crowd, and the Pogues-esque Irish ballad “Easter Eve” kept listeners latched on through six minutes of verses.

Poverty tale “Jackie Brown” was one oldie Mellencamp had less trouble revisiting.

“I wrote this song in 1987,” he said, “thinking about the same thing that’s happening now.”

That song, along with “Small Town,” were given the solo acoustic treatment. Mellencamp stripped down the beloved “Cherry Bomb” even further, providing an a cappella audience singalong and easily one of the evening’s high points.

That promised time to play “Jack and Diane” came around, and Mellencamp brought the full band along, but gave the song a radically new arrangement. Gone were the famous drawn-out electric guitar chords and handclap-driven beat, a double-time country shuffle taking their place. It was a bold move, and the Ryman was an inspired setting for it, but it wasn’t exactly the moment casual fans were waiting for.

In the end, Mellencamp rewarded all of his admirers with a crowd-pleasing, full-band final act that featured his classics in all their glory. The pew-shaking “Pink Houses” led into the closing “R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A.,” its power inspiring one female fan to climb onto the stage for an impromptu dance with Mellencamp. In those final moments, he seemed game to let nostalgia take hold.

http://blogs.tennessean.com/tunein/2010/11/04/john-mellencamps-ryman-show-mixes-nostalgia-americana/
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