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Author Topic: Larry Crane to Play JM Songs Again  (Read 47759 times)
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« on: January 25, 2012, 11:46:38 am »

Larry Crane continues to suddenly embrace his past with Mellencamp after 20 years of not even uttering the man's name. He's going to play JM songs for the first time in over 20 years in Indy in the days leading up to the Super Bowl with some guy named Corey Cox. Most disturbing is that he seems to be trying to position himself as the primary writer/creator of John's '80s songs. See the video below announcing the shows:

<a href=";amp;hl=en_US" target="_blank">;amp;hl=en_US</a>
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 11:51:51 am by walktall2010 » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 01:25:45 am »

this was pretty interesting. however, my question is walktall, even tho larry crane did mention some titles in this video, do you know what songs were written or created by larry crane for jm back then? also i have heard of cory cox and his music. hes really good.

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« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 01:29:37 am by marilynb » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 01:29:06 pm »

Larry Crane did not write any songs, I checked all my records and cd's. He was credited for playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin and back ground vocals. He was very good too. I think Larry may regret leaving John and the band, not really sure how he left it. Maybe John should check it out.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 02:08:17 pm »

Larry got co-writing credits on two songs -- "Danger List" from American Fool and "Play Guitar" from Uh-Huh. Larry's departure from the band was messy. It happened in early 1991 as they were beginning to discuss what would become the Whenever We Wanted album. John gave all the core members of the band a hefty bonus check, and Larry felt it wasn't enough and demanded more.  Below is an article from 1999 that somewhat accurately portrays what happened, but it's been reported elsewhere that John actually fired the entire band and ended up inviting all the members back a few weeks later, with the exception of Larry.

A band apart

By David Lindquist
June 27, 1999
Indianapolis Star

It was a simple plan, but no small gesture.

John Mellencamp had called a meeting of his band members a few months
before work on a new album was to begin in 1991.

The Indiana rock star walked into the control room of his Brown County
recording studio to greet lead guitarist Larry Crane, rhythm guitarist
Mike Wanchic, bass player Toby Myers and drummer Kenny Aronoff.

"Hey, guys. Good work," Mellencamp said as he handed out four checks.

Each check was worth $1 million, a bonus for work during the previous
decade -- a time when Mellencamp landed 15 singles in the Top 20.

"I don't want it," said Crane, who was just 14 when he began playing
music with Mellencamp.


"Yeah, I don't want it," Crane answered. "I want $2 million. I deserve
it, and so do these guys."

This is the way, Mellencamp says, that Larry Crane lost his job.

The incident also can be pinpointed as a trigger for the dismantling of
the classic Mellencamp lineup.

Crane has never commented publicly about his firing.

Myers, who retired from band at the end of 1998, wrote about the
seven-figure showdown in an unreleased song called The Ballad of Johnny

"(Mellencamp) passed out money to the boys in the band; showed 'em all
the door and he led 'em by the hand."

While Myers' version of the incident differs slightly from Mellencamp's,
the basic framework coincides.

Myers recalls a meeting that he, Crane, Wanchic and Aronoff had the
night before Mellencamp distributed the checks.

Anticipating Mellencamp's move, Myers said the four musicians agreed
that $1 million after taxes would be an adequate bonus per man.

"I think we were a little greedy," Myers says. "Then Larry, being the
elder band member, did the talking and got the firing."

Today, Mellencamp views the $1 million checks as the biggest mistake
he has made as a bandleader.

"John once told me that a million dollars apiece would have been way
better invested if he had come up with a real generous retainer to keep
us all on," Myers says. "If that was the case, the four of us still
would be playing together today."

Before Myers' amicable departure, Aronoff made a not-so amicable break
in the summer of 1996.

Wanchic, known within the Mellencamp camp as "Chief," is the lone
remaining band member in next weekend's lineup at Deer Creek Music
Center, who dates back to the days of Jack & Diane and Hurts So Good.

"John's real proud of making the band work really hard and being
really hard on the band when they don't work," Myers says.

"That's OK, because there's been a lot of guys like that who were real
successful musically."

Thundering hearts

Mellencamp admits to having a hands-on management style in the early

"When we started out, I used to be tough," Mellencamp says.

"I used to beat these guys up, physically."

Wanchic once came to blows with Mellencamp on a beach in Florida.

"It was over a song," Mellencamp says.

"He flipped me and broke my shoulder."

The professional intensity, however, began to pay dividends for
Mellencamp and Co.

When asked about their ascent to mass appeal, Wanchic ticks off
highlights but insists none is bigger than the others.

The first performance on American Bandstand. Being the support act for
the Who. Playing Madison Square Garden for the first time.

These things weren't supposed to happen to someone from Seymour who
began his career with four albums that didn't sell.

"John never lost the us-against-the-world mentality," Myers says.

"We always felt we could make way better records than Springsteen and
get one-fourth the credit. We never let go of that."

The 1982 successes of Jack & Diane, Hurts So Good and Hand to Hold On
To served notice that Mellencamp could write hit (yet somewhat

Perceptions began to change with an anthemic single that appeared on
1983's Uh-Huh.

"I remember stopping by John's house and him playing Pink Houses on
the acoustic guitar," Aronoff says.

"He was living out on State Route 446, and it was fall. I remember
hearing it and thinking, 'Oh, my God.'"

The hits -- and increased critical respect -- kept coming with 1985's
Scarecrow, another pivotal moment in Aronoff's memory.

"I have an absolute vision of learning Rain on the Scarecrow," Aronoff

"We were in a room rehearsing. I remember where my drums were, I
remember where I was looking. In 15 minutes, we ran this song down and
that was it."

There were five hit singles from Scarecrow, and 1987's Lonesome
Jubilee racked up another three.

"Our impact era, I don't think is questionable," Wanchic says. "It's
the Scarecrow-Lonesome Jubilee era. That's when we made our real mark.
John was peaking as a writer."

As one might expect, confidence levels soared when the group embarked
on lengthy, lucrative tours.

"Our band was unstoppable," says Myers, who remembers an encore in
Philadelphia where he estimates he saw 14,000 lighters raised in an
audience of 16,000. "We were bad, man."

"People were saying we were the greatest rock 'n' roll band of that
time," Aronoff says. "It sure felt like it. The songs were great. The
shows were great. The energy was great. It felt like we were the

Down and out in paradise

As the pace quickened for Mellencamp, band members were gaining
acclaim on their own.

Aronoff had become one of rock's most in-demand drummers for recording
sessions by the late '80s.

The Indiana University graduate made appearances on albums by Bob
Dylan, Iggy Pop, Belinda Carlisle and Michael Penn.

Violin player Lisa Germano, whose Mellencamp debut came on The
Lonesome Jubilee, was showered with critical acclaim and made a solo
album by 1991.

Outside ventures, however, weren't necessarily popular with Mellencamp.

And in the case of Crane, Mellencamp says he believes the guitarist
overestimated his worth to the ensemble.

"This band had become so bloated, everyone with their own ego and
attitude," Mellencamp says. "I'd tell the guys something. They'd walk
out and somebody would say, 'You don't have to do that. John's just
spouting off.'"

Mellencamp clearly implies that reasons for Crane's dismissal were
mounting before he rejected the $1 million check.

"Once Larry got it into his head that he was the main part of the show
-- more important than me -- he was uncontrollable," Mellencamp says.
"There was no talking to him."

Crane's exit was another negative in a down cycle for Mellencamp that
included a divorce in 1988, a two-year recording hiatus and a growing
feeling that Polygram Records had lost interest in promoting his albums.

"In the early '90s, I'm surprised I could even eke out a record that
you didn't want to slit your wrist over," Mellencamp says.

Things began to look up when the singer met his third wife, Elaine
Irwin, on the set of his Get a Leg Up video. A well-publicized heart
attack in 1994, however, was another setback for Mellencamp.

All the while, friction between Mellencamp and Aronoff slowly was
making its way to the surface.

In December 1993, it was reported that Mellencamp had become frustrated
with the drummer's heavy workload outside of the band. Mellencamp even
brought in a guest percussionist for a few days of work.

In Myers' Ballad of Johnny Cougar, there's a specific reference to
Mellencamp instructing Aronoff not to tour as drummer for
singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge.

During the mid-'90s, Aronoff's recording credits included work with
Stevie Nicks, Shawn Colvin, Lyle Lovett, Bob Seger and Meat Loaf.

Mellencamp said the defining moment in Aronoff's departure occurred in
the control room of his Belmont Mall recording studio, the same place
the $1 million checks were passed out five years earlier.

Band members assembled to listen to the final mix of Mr. Happy Go
Lucky, the 1996 album that received a good measure of pre-release hype
because of the involvement of noted dance producer Junior Vasquez.

When Aronoff heard a song in which his part was deleted in favor of a
Vasquez loop, Mellencamp says he knew he was losing a drummer.

"The real reason Kenny Aronoff's not in the band is that I would say,
'Kenny, I can't have "Boom, boom, crack" every time. We've got to have
something more interesting,'" Mellencamp says. "He would say, 'I'm
good at "Boom, boom, crack."' 'Yes, Kenny, you're great at "Boom,
boom, crack," but we don't want it on the record.'"

Aronoff has worked with John Fogerty and the Smashing Pumpkins since
leaving Mellencamp.

"You know what? I don't belong in that band," Aronoff says.

"I still want to kick (things). I don't fit in there. It's much more
tame now. Not that all I do is pound. John likes to think that's all I

On Feb. 16, Myers' wife -- model Roberta Chirko -- gave birth to the
couple's first child, Cash William.

The 50-year-old bass player gave Mellencamp notice of several months
that fatherhood would take priority over his rock 'n' roll career.

"Toby left the band in the right way," Mellencamp says.

Release to come soon

Myers, who met Chirko through Elaine Irwin Mellencamp, says he plans
to release a collection of his own songs (including the satirical but
factual The Ballad of Johnny Cougar) in the relatively near future.

Perhaps mellowing at age 47, Mellencamp says he knows it's not easy to
be a member of his band.

"It's an unusual lifestyle," he says.

"The only person you have to answer to is me. At 50, you have to
question why you'd want to answer to anybody, particularly if you've
got the money."

Speaking of money, Myers says the fateful 1991 bonus made his decision
to retire an easy one.

"It's because he handed me that check," Myers says.

"I just followed some simple financial advice my dad gave me, and I'm
home today."

Wanchic, on the other hand, is the last man standing from the bedrock
unit that accompanied Mellencamp through the '80s.

The rest of the dynamic current lineup consists of guitarist Andy
York, drummer Dane Clark, keyboard player Moe Z. MD, violin player
Miriam Sturm, bass player John Gunnell and backup vocalist Pat Peterson.

"I think Mike's just one of those guys that John couldn't exist
without," Myers says.

"And Mike knows that about John. He's honorable enough to keep holding
that position. He's just so faithful and loyal."

"Mike's like my little brother, even though he's bigger than me,"
Mellencamp says.

Wanchic, co-owner of Echo Park Studios in Bloomington, said he sees
the brilliance of the band's former lineup and the promise in the
current one.

"People really related to that era of our band," he says.

"I understand. That doesn't mean we can stay there. We can't stay
there. As an artist, anybody who lives on that laurel has just sort of
turned the time bomb on."

Your life is now

For Aronoff, the list of new projects seems to stretch on endlessly.

Listen for his drumming on the upcoming Garth Brooks rock record. Then
there's the posthumous Michael Hutchence project, which is being
constructed from tapes the INXS vocalist left behind.

Aronoff even contributes to a couple of songs on the Ricky Martin
album that has been battling the Backstreet Boys at the top of the
Billboard chart.

The 46-year-old drummer is touring this summer with Etheridge, whose
new album will be released in October.

"Right now, people are blown away by what I do, and it's only because
I fight really hard and I really care," Aronoff says.

"I am kind of the older guy now, but I don't want to be considered the
older guy. I want to be considered great at what I do."

Crane has an itinerary decidedly less crowded than Aronoff's.

On June 18, the guitarist performed his original rock songs at
Patrick's Bar & Grill on the Far Northside.

While Crane declined an opportunity to be interviewed for this report,
he said he has an acting job lined up for the fall.

Crane's final project with Mellencamp was the 1992 film Falling From
Grace, in which the guitarist portrayed the discontented half brother
of Mellencamp's lead character.

In October, filming will begin in Chicago for Bruised Orange, an
independent movie in which Crane will portray a musician recently
released from prison.

Myers said he and Chirko recently had dinner with Crane and his new

"We can hang, drink a beer and talk. No problem," Myers says.

"We like to laugh about the old times, too. There were just too many
good times to be bitter. Geez, that was a lot of fun. We all have to
admit it."

« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 02:19:22 pm by walktall2010 » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 06:14:25 pm »

Walktall I never seen this article, some of it is familiar but not all. Thank you for sharing this, the credits was not on my old cd's I had and I wonder why?
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 12:05:02 am »

Larry was there, John was there, we were not. So in stead of trashing Larry and/or John about who created what, or any other issue that's none ya... why don't we just celebrate the great music THEY made.  And fyi.. that "Corey Cox Guy" is a great guy with a huge voice and a ton of heart.  And Larry Crane is a guitar genius and if you even knew him you'd know what a great guy he is.  So..lighten up Francis! 
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2012, 02:34:23 am »

I heard some songs of Larry's band a few months ago and I was blown away by "that sound" that no one has been able to replicate for the past 20 years. But it's has gone...
and now get ready. Because They are BACK!

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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 03:44:26 pm »

The article that was printed in the Indy star is completely false. In fact Larry Crane wrote a rebuttal to the star after that came out but they never printed it. That was not at all what happened during the break up. I was so intrigued by the story that I decided to write Larry Cranes life story. I have his full cooperation, and hopefully the book will be on shelves soon. If you are interested in learning more about all that went on in JM band during the Larry Crane years including the breakup, then stay tuned.
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 04:01:55 pm »

Larry Crane did not write any songs, I checked all my records and cd's. He was credited for playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin and back ground vocals. He was very good too. I think Larry may regret leaving John and the band, not really sure how he left it. Maybe John should check it out.

If you dont consider music to be part of the song then he never wrote any. The fact is John only gave Larry credit for two songs. He wrote the intro to "I need a Lover" just to name one of many. Larry had a hand in writing all of the guitar work on those albums, and many other parts. If you are interested in knowing how it all happened I am writing Larry's biography, and it should be available soon. Also, he absolutely does not regret leaving.
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 12:20:05 am »

The article that was printed in the Indy star is completely false. In fact Larry Crane wrote a rebuttal to the star after that came out but they never printed it.

They absolutely did print Larry's rebuttal. It's below:

Indianapolis Star 7/3/99


I was very disappointed to read the half-truths and disinformation
contained in the John Mellencamp article ("A band apart") published
June 27. John and I parted ways a little over eight years ago, and
since then I haven't said anything about the breakup in the press or
in personal conversations for two reasons. First, in order to talk
about the breakup, I would have to say bad things about John, and I
could never see an upside to this, especially in the media. Second, as
far as I'm concerned, John is old news. I would rather talk about new
projects I'm involved with. During the meeting described in the
article, there were no checks presented or kudos or pats on the back.
John simply outlined financial details of the upcoming album and tour.
At that point, speaking for the band, I said that we wanted things in
writing this time, given John's history of promises followed by
excuses. We did not want our futures based on the whims of this person
(who had just taken two years off to paint pictures). In the last
eight years, I have been confronted by just about every John-hater in
the country and believe me, there are many. During those eight years,
I have not once given them what they asked for. Let them ask now.
Finally, to my family, friends, band and crew: Thank you for your
support throughout all these years. It means the world to me.

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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 08:57:07 am »

Dear joshuahiderwrites,
I find the comments about the sound of John's music changing after Larry Crane left the band somewhat amusing. The sound started changing on Scarecrow and went even further on Lonesome Jubilee and Big Daddy. Does Larry Crane get all the credit for this? I don't think so. Havin' listened to John Mellencamp since 1982 the one thing about him that keeps me hooked, and I imagine keeps many others hooked, is that his sound is always evolving. He has said so many times that he cannot keep singing the same songs. He probably could have sold a few more records if he just kept writing Hurts so Good and Pink Houses over and over again, but where's the creative spirit in doing that?

This said I will also say that I am a big fan of Larry Crane's. If you read the article closely that Christine posted you will notice that John said the money wasn't the whole issue so, he already stated what you did. As one of many of us that are still listening today I do recall that Larry Crane was the only one who had put out a t-shirt (I still have my Leaping Larry shirt by the way). The rest of the band didn't. As much as we all hated to see it happen; we could see the split coming. Do I believe that John has always done the right thing? No I don't. Hell, he will tell you that himself. What I've always thought about the situation is this. In the beginning of the split Larry Crane performed solo on Farm Aid and John introduced him. He looked like a proud father. It was always hard for me to believe that these guys who had known each other for such a long time could not manage to work on putting that relationship back together regardless of whether they could work together or not. Believe me, I know a lot of people that I care about that I would kill if I had to work with day in and day out. The other thing that stands out to me is that the first song I heard by Larry Crane was on the Falling from Grace soundtrack and is still the best song I've heard him put out. It's my favorite one on that CD. If John didn't want him to succeed as a solo artist I wouldn't think he would have allowed Larry to have a single on there and if memory serves, write and help produce the thing. I have Larry's cd's by the way and I feel he was trying way too hard to not have that "heartland" sound you mentioned. It took too much way from it to me and I haven't listened to those in a while.

I know some of you had heard that there was talk of the band getting back together for a tour. I was so excited about it that I emailed Larry about it. He was very short and to the point. It did make me a little sad since I told him I was still a fan of his and would be excited to see everyone back together again. I wasn't expecting him to kiss my butt or anything but, still.... Anyway, he wrote back that because no one wanted to record new music together and then tour to support this new music the reunion type tour idea fell apart. I was hoping that this meant that Larry and John were at least talking to one another and repairing things. Especially now that John has talked about losing so many people who were close to him. Life is short.

All of this rambling brings me to the last thing. Is this book going to be a book about how bad John treated everyone or is it a story about Larry's life and career? I wouldn't mind reading the book about his life but if it's going to turn into "this is why I hate John Mellencamp", I don't know if I would even bother with it. I do hope it isn't.
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2015, 05:02:49 am »

Those that dont think that the music the sound didnt change dosnt have much of an ear and Larry is the creater of the heartland sound that was a rare band in 87-89 they were tight larrys always been a good buddy to me but if you was around john for any time you tend to view him diferant
mine and others opinion,
Bryan P
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