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 91 
 on: May 01, 2017, 04:29:12 pm 
Started by sharonc - Last post by sharonc
Don’t miss John’s exclusive Facebook LIVE tonight from the World Of McIntosh in NYC. Head over to facebook.com/billboard at 7PM EST to watch John discuss his career, his new album #SadClownsAndHillbillies, and more Thanks to @mcintoshlabs, @Billboard, @republicrecords.

 92 
 on: May 01, 2017, 09:23:24 am 
Started by sharonc - Last post by Maradona10
Great album. I listened after work on Friday on Spotify then grabbed the CD here at HMV in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday afternoon.

Glad to say, I've played absolutely nothing else since.

 93 
 on: May 01, 2017, 09:17:42 am 
Started by WildNight - Last post by Maradona10
Yep, interesting stuff. I was intrigued by Aronoff, Myers, Stradlin and Lynch's inclusion on the album's back cover (kinda vague) credits.

Just shows that JM - who's notoriously reluctant to look back or talk outtakes/anniversary packages of classic much-loved albums - must have a LOT of cool stuff in the Belmont Mall vault. Hopefully we get a fair-sized chunk of it someday (oh, the missed opportunity that was the Rural Route box...only Colored Lights and the alternate LUV really stand out for me of the 11 or so tracks us Mellencamp diehards didn't already have.)

Anyway, what a great album this new one is. His best since...oh, I dunno...Human Wheels? Trouble no More?


 94 
 on: April 30, 2017, 03:58:14 pm 
Started by hoss13820 - Last post by hoss13820
 I noticed that too when listening to all night talk radio. I know Toby has worked with John on and off over the years- but I never thought Kenny would.  Very possible this is an old song finished up for Sad Clowns. 

 95 
 on: April 29, 2017, 04:40:13 pm 
Started by sharonc - Last post by turmbird
Interesting, thanks for this info!
"All Night Talk Radio" also sounds like 90s, I am not sure. "Mobile Blue" being a cover of an old country-song from 1971, this album seems to be a collection of various interesting projects.
currently i only listen to the downloads, until the vinyl version is available here in europe. no lyrics, no info on nothing.
my favourite songs after the first listening rounds: Mobile Blue, Battle of Angels, What Kind of Man Am I.

 96 
 on: April 29, 2017, 11:27:21 am 
Started by WildNight - Last post by WildNight
Just wanted to share some interesting revelations from the fantastic Sad Clowns and Hillbillies album.

I'm seeing the question pop up quite a bit regarding the Grandview recording. The following is from the Indystar...

Something old: “Grandview,” the current single from the album that arrives in stores today, is a sonic time traveler Mellencamp co-wrote with his cousin, Bobby Clark, in the 1990s. An early stab at recording the song featured Indiana native and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Stan Lynch, formerly of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mellencamp said the "Sad Clowns" version of "Grandview" includes some vocals he recorded in the '90s and some recorded this century. Stradlin's gritty, insistent riffs and Lynch's beats were salvaged for the final version, and country vocalist Martina McBride came on board to portray Mellencamp's foil in the song's home stretch. "It took a long time to build this song," Mellencamp said.

Here's something else interesting. When I heard the song All Night Radio it also sounded to me like an older recording, like maybe something left off the Mr Happy Go Lucky album. It even reminds me of Circling Around the Moon. So today I'm looking at the Wikipedia page for Sad Clowns and Hillbillies and noticed that Toby Meyers and Kenny Arnoff are credited for electric bass and drums on All Talk Night Radio! How cool is that... sounds like we might actually have a Mr Happy Go Lucky outtake on this album. This is pure speculation but plausible. It's definitely one of my favorites for the album.

Also Christie Brinkley is credited for background vocals on My Souls Got Wings and What Kind of Man Am I.

 97 
 on: April 29, 2017, 11:22:23 am 
Started by hoss13820 - Last post by WildNight
Here's something else interesting. When I heard the song All Night Radio it also sounded to me like an older recording, like maybe something left off the Mr Happy Go Lucky album. It even reminds me of Circling Around the Moon. So today I'm looking at the Wikipedia page for Sad Clowns and Hillbillies and noticed that Toby Meyers and Kenny Arnoff are credited for electric bass and drums on All Talk Night Radio! How cool is that... sounds like we might actually have a Mr Happy Go Lucky outtake on this album. This is pure speculation but plausible. It's definitely one of my favorites for the album.

Also Christie Brinkley is credited for background vocals on My Souls Got Wings and What Kind of Man Am I.

 98 
 on: April 29, 2017, 10:44:25 am 
Started by walktall2010 - Last post by walktall2010
Songs keep coming to John Mellencamp, whether he likes it or not

By David Lindquist

BELMONT, Ind. — John Mellencamp isn't the first musician to say he hears voices in his head.

Fortunately, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer claims his visitors don't bring fear or confusion. They bring songs.

One example is "Easy Target," a track released in advance of new album "Sad Clowns & Hillbillies." Mellencamp said the bleakly sarcastic song, which refers to minority groups and the impoverished as being "created equal, equally beneath me and you," presented itself when he was devoting time to his second artistic passion of painting portraits, landscapes and social commentary.

"I didn’t want to write that song," Mellencamp said during an interview at his Brown County recording studio. "I was busy painting.

'You need to stop what you’re doing and write this down.'

'No.'

'John, write the song down.'

'Oh, OK.'


"That’s it. I wasn’t even thinking about race or poor people. Nothing. So the song just kind of came."

"Sad Clowns & Hillbillies" isn't a 13-song document that arrived completely by cryptic transmissions. It's more of a bit-by-bit collection that's fit for a bride: something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

Mellencamp said no specific concept guided the making of "Sad Clowns," but the album neatly checks off good-luck traditions associated with weddings.

Something old: “Grandview,” the current single from the album that arrives in stores today, is a sonic time traveler Mellencamp co-wrote with his cousin, Bobby Clark, in the 1990s. An early stab at recording the song featured Indiana native and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Stan Lynch, formerly of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mellencamp said the "Sad Clowns" version of "Grandview" includes some vocals he recorded in the '90s and some recorded this century. Stradlin's gritty, insistent riffs and Lynch's beats were salvaged for the final version, and country vocalist Martina McBride came on board to portray Mellencamp's foil in the song's home stretch. "It took a long time to build this song," Mellencamp said.

Something new: Similar to "Easy Target," the song "Sad Clowns" arrived as an intact composition, Mellencamp said. "I am available to whatever is sending me songs," he said. "I take them for what they are. I don’t try to change them. I don’t try to manipulate them. I think it happens because I’ve been doing this so long."

Something borrowed: Mellencamp said "Sad Clowns" features two songs he has played his "entire life." Country musician Mickey Newbury wrote and recorded "Mobile Blue" in 1971, and psychedelic rock band the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood recorded "Early Bird Cafe" in 1970. Neither song charted for the original artist. Mellencamp said he discovered "Early Bird Cafe" when he caught the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood as the opening act for Frank Zappa at Indianapolis music venue Middle Earth. "Great things come and surprise us sometimes," he said.

Something blue: "Indigo Sunset" is a song Mellencamp co-wrote with Carlene Carter, who has served as his opening act on recent tours. Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, has such a large role on "Sad Clowns" that the album is officially attributed to "John Mellencamp featuring Carlene Carter." Regarding the album's origin, he said: "We were standing backstage, and I said, ‘We should make a religious record together. You know, an old-time religious record. But I don’t want to do a bunch of old religious songs. Let’s write our own.’ She said, ‘OK.’ She started writing religious songs, and I didn’t. I just wrote whatever came to me."

Marriage doesn't seem to be in the immediate future for Mellencamp. After splitting from his third wife, model Elaine Irwin, at the end of 2010, the musician dated actress Meg Ryan from 2011 to 2014 and model Christie Brinkley from 2015 to 2016.

He wasn't a fan of tabloids reporting on his relationships.

"I don’t want to be in those things," he said. "I don’t get it. Who cares? I don’t even know why they’re interested."

Mellencamp spent all of March sequestered at his home art studio east of Bloomington.

"This is the first day I've been off my property in 35 days," he said on April 5, when he ventured to his music studio to arrange and rehearse a Merle Haggard song he performed a day later as part of an all-star tribute to the late country singer in Nashville, Tenn. "But I made maybe 17 paintings. I got up every morning and painted until dark and then went to bed. I didn’t talk to anybody. They’d bring my lunch up to me."

"Sad Clowns & Hillbillies" is Mellencamp's first album since 1991's "Whenever We Wanted" to feature one of his paintings as part of the cover art.

That album, which sent four singles into the Top 5 of Billboard magazine's mainstream rock chart, followed a decade of heavy rotation on MTV.

Videos for "Hurts So Good," "Jack & Diane," "Crumblin' Down," "Pink Houses," "Authority Song," "Lonely Ol' Night," "Small Town," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," "Rain on the Scarecrow," "Cherry Bomb," "Paper in Fire" and "Check It Out" aired relentlessly on the network during the 1980s.

"MTV propelled us to front and center," Mellencamp said of the era's popular acts. "And it was the biggest hula hoop ever. It went on for 10-15 years. I was on that ride. I’m glad the ride’s over."

The Seymour native said he is grateful for his career, one that has included the co-founding of Farm Aid and more than 27 million albums sold. "Sad Clowns & Hillbillies" will be followed by a career-spanning covers album titled "O.P.M." — or "Other People's Music."

Mellencamp said no one would have predicted he still would be a major-label artist 42 years after he signed his first recording contract.

"There was Sinatra and Dean Martin and those guys from another generation," he said of singers who had longevity when he was a new act in the mid-1970s. "That’s what I am now to kids today. I’m Dean Martin. I’m Sammy Davis Jr. I’m a song and dance man."

But not necessarily a good-time song and dance man. On a recent episode of Sammy Hagar's "Rock and Roll Road Trip" series on cable network AXS TV, Hagar asked Mellencamp if he had fun in the 1980s. "No," came the reply.

In 1998, Mellencamp told IndyStar that battles with record-label executives made that decade miserable.

How are things these days?

"I don’t really look at life as ‘fun’ or ‘not fun,’" Mellencamp said. "I look at, what am I creating? What am I making? I think it’s a fallacy for people to think happiness and fun are valuable commodities. Most people are happy a fraction of the day and then they have to go to work and do stuff they don’t want to do. My life is the same."

Nobody is making Mellencamp play a concert in Indianapolis, and he won't on a 34-date national tour that begins June 5.

"They’ve seen me enough," he said. "I’m 65 years old. I may play there again sometime, but no time soon. Nothing against Indianapolis, but I’ve played there enough."

http://www.indystar.com/story/entertainment/music/2017/04/28/mellencamp-clowns-martina-carlene-izzy-stradlin-indiana-painting-bloomington/100852604/

 99 
 on: April 29, 2017, 10:41:10 am 
Started by walktall2010 - Last post by walktall2010
John Mellencamp, Self-Confessed ‘Curmudgeon,’ on the Trials of Touring: ‘I’m Not a Jukebox’

By Steve Baltin

Let’s face it, I am a curmudgeon,” John Mellencamp tells Variety. “I hate doing f—ing interviews ’cause I hate talking about myself. It’s like, ‘Interview? Oh God.’ I’m just not that interesting.”

We beg to differ. The artist whose catalog includes 23 studio albums and nearly just as many radio hits (among them: top 10 tunes “Jack & Diane,” “Hurts So Good,” “Small Town,” “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” and “Paper in Fire”) is nothing if not prolific, releasing his latest, the superb “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies,” on Friday, ahead of a 22-date AEG tour this summer (Mellencamp is booked by CAA) with Carlene Carter opening. The trek will mark the first time Mellencamp has played outdoor sheds in 15 years.

“I took myself off the beer and circus tour a long time ago,” he says. “It was not fun — people being drunk and acting like circus clowns. So we play for people who want to hear music and I don’t like to see guys get in fights, I’m not a jukebox, I don’t play all my hits. I got off that a long time ago.”

What else doesn’t he like about touring? Plenty, we discovered during an enlightening and entertaining conversation with Mellencamp, who says, “I wouldn’t want to be a young songwriter today trying to make a living with my songs.”

Ray Davies showed him the concert ropes: “I opened up for the Kinks in the mid- to late-1970s for 130 shows and I learned so much from watching Ray Davies work a crowd every night,” Mellencamp recalls. “We only played 35 or 40 minutes and the Kinks would come out. It was not an enjoyable tour. Ray was, particularly at that time, not the nicest guy, especially to his opening act. He and his brother were always fighting. But when he walked on stage, he turned it on.”

He’s an unapologetic isolationist: “I don’t get paid for being on stage; I get paid for leaving home, traveling on airplanes, and staying in hotels,” says Mellencamp matter-of-factly. “The part of being onstage, I’ll do that for free. My way of being on the road is probably a lot different than you would expect. I’m pretty much an isolationist and my routine is always the same. I very rarely see anybody except when I walk on stage. It’s not like I hang out with anybody. I don’t. I don’t even stay in the same hotel as the band.”

Opinions don’t matter: “We’ve been putting together shows for a long time, I think I know how to do it. I don’t need somebody to review my show. Save it, you’re not going to tell me something I don’t already know.”

Don’t expect — or even ask for — the hits: “‘Hurts So Good’ was a song that caught on at the time probably because they played the hell out of it on MTV,” Mellencamp downplays of his 1982 No. 2 hit. “So I don’t really give much credit to the song. If you compared ‘Easy Targets’ [from ‘Sad Clowns’] to ‘Hurts So Good,’ I don’t think there is any comparison. ‘Easy Targets’ is a much better song. But nobody will hear it the way they heard ‘Hurts So Good.’ It’s all upside down to me. … If I play a song that [the audience] doesn’t respond to, that doesn’t mean I’m going to take it out of the show. You can’t try and second-guess. I just don’t do that.”

http://variety.com/2017/music/news/john-mellencamp-touring-sad-clowns-and-hillbillies-1202403298/

 100 
 on: April 29, 2017, 10:38:24 am 
Started by walktall2010 - Last post by walktall2010
John Mellencamp maintains a rebellious spirit with 'Sad Clowns & Hillbillies'
At 65, John Mellencamp no longer chases drama.
By Melinda Newman


“I have found that life is a big enough adventure,” he says calling from his 86-acre property in Bloomington, Ind. “Young kids go to the movies to be scared. If we were together, I’d say to you, ‘Have you seen this mole on my arm?’ That’s scary enough; I don’t need to see ‘Suicide Squad.’”

Middle age has a way of taming even the most rebellious spirits, and while Mellencamp remains a crusty character full of blunt proclamations and salty language, these days the self-professed homebody takes increasing comfort in the familiar. That’s why he asked his friend, Carlene Carter, to join him on his new set, “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies,” released Friday.

While not an official duets album, Carter earns her co-billing — the album is credited as “John Mellencamp featuring Carlene Carter” — by penning two of the songs and singing and playing on 10 of the 13 tracks. It is Mellencamp’s second set for Republic Records, a label better known for promoting such pop stars as the Weeknd and Ariana Grande than veteran rockers.

Yet growing up, Republic Chief Executive/Chairman Monte Lipman so adored Mellencamp’s music and anti-authoritarian attitude that he signed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee to a lifetime recording contract in 2014. This, despite knowing that Mellencamp could be a tough customer.

“Very first time I met John, he said to me, ’Apparently you heard I threw a chair at a particular record executive, but I’m here to tell you that’s not true. It was actually this other [jerk] at the record company that got furniture tossed at him!’” Lipman writes via email. “Ever since that first encounter, I figured it was in my best interest to sell as many records as possible, and don’t get hit with a chair.”

Mellencamp and Carter met a few years ago when Carter sang “Sugar Hill Mountain” on the Mellencamp-penned soundtrack for “Ithaca,” the directorial debut by his then-girlfriend, Meg Ryan. Mellencamp had been friendly with Carter’s mother, June Carter Cash, and her stepfather, Johnny Cash. The pair toured together in 2015 and formed an easy alliance, bonding over their love of American roots music.

Midway through the tour, Mellencamp recalls passing Carter as he was walking off the stage and saying, “‘I think we should make a gospel record together’ and she said, ‘Oh, that sounds good.’ That’s how it started.”

The plan for the gospel album fell apart after the pair couldn’t agree on the repertoire, but there’s plenty of sin and salvation on “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies,” which Mellencamp recorded at his Belmont Mall studio outside of Bloomington.

“What Kind of Man Am I” — which, along with “You Are Blind,” originally appeared in “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” the musical stage drama written by Mellencamp, Stephen King and T Bone Burnett — is a heavy lament that carries the same world-weary weight as Cash’s version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” “Sad Clowns,” meanwhile, is a tongue-in-cheek, cautionary tale, waving off any woman who comes too close.

Salvation comes with the Carter-penned, redemption-filled “Damascus Road” and “My Soul’s Got Wings,” a Woody Guthrie lyric that Mellencamp set to music.

Perhaps its his heartland roots, but Mellencamp has always excelled at simple stories rather than grand gestures through such hits as “Pink Houses,” “Paper in Fire” and “Small Town.” Carter says it’s a trait his songwriting shares with the music made by her legendary ancestors, the Carter Family.

“As complicated a person as [John] might be,” Carter says, “he does write really catchy. But the content is very real, and I won’t say heavy, but deeper than a little ditty.” [Insert “Jack & Diane” joke here].

On the closing track, “Easy Target,” Mellencamp turns to the big picture, adopting a Tom Waits-like growl as he sings about racial and economic inequality. But he resists the notion that the song is depressing. “There’s a difference between down and observational,” he says. “A down record was ‘Berlin’ by Lou Reed.”

He also scoffs at the impression that his own life serves as the inspiration for any of his songs. “The idea that I’m writing about myself is a fallacy,” he says. “First, I’m not that interesting. As a matter of fact, I get kind of annoyed by that. It’s a song! Do you really think that Tennessee Williams was Stanley Kowalski? He wasn’t. It’s a play! It’s meant to entertain by using reality and observation and thought and imagination.”

Mellencamp will perform songs from “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies” when he hits the road in June for his first headlining amphitheater tour in years, including a June 18 stop at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Although he played minor league baseball stadiums with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson in 2009 and 2010, for the last two decades Mellencamp has preferred 2,000-3,000-seat theaters.

“When you’re playing in front of 18,000-to-20,000 people, you know that guy in the back row is not enjoying it and that is no time to challenge an audience. So I decided a long time ago to play places where I can drag the audience along with me, play new songs, do what I want to do, and not make this about ‘am I the biggest rock star in the world,’” he says.

Four decades in, he’s reached the point where “I don’t get paid for going on stage, I get paid for leaving home,” he says.

He emphasizes that he has little use for money or fame. The former he says, he too often squandered when he was young — “I either spent it or lost it or wasted it on whiskey or women,” he says — while the latter has only proved to be an irritant, especially when he found himself tabloid fodder as he dated Ryan and then Christie Brinkley, with whom he split last year. “I hate it,” he says. “I don’t know why anybody would give a [crap] who an old man would go out with. I could care less about anybody’s personal love life.”

These days, his constant companion is his paint brush. The accomplished painter declares that he has not left his property in 45 days, instead spending eight hours a day on his feet, painting. “I’ve done like 17 paintings or something,” he says.

His Midwestern work ethic doesn’t tolerate sitting around. “I’m a very active, Type A-type of guy,” he says. “If a day goes by and I don’t make something, I feel guilty. I exercise every day. If I don’t paint or I don’t write a song or I don’t do a performance, then I’m being lazy and I need to get to work.”

But he warns this summer could be the last chance to catch him in large outdoor venues and vows that he is one act that will never play the festival circuit. “If I have to do those things, I’m quitting,” he says. “If your motivation is the money, it’s the wrong motivation.”

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-john-mellencamp-20170426-story.html

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