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Author Topic: Some JM-related thoughts  (Read 33271 times)
Maradona10
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« on: September 28, 2012, 10:35:17 am »

I've been getting heavily into the great Playstation3 racing simulation game Gran Turismo recently; while I'm spinnin' round those tracks I've been blasting some JM records for the first time in a little while. I started with No Better than This and worked backwards right through every record to American Fool. The 2005 remasters sound absolutely awesome; I even listened to the '87 The Little Bastard's Birthday Party bootleg and the Lausanne, Switzerland bootleg from '88.

Some thoughts sprung to mind as I listened:

1) Isn't it odd that the first record post-Lisa Germano kicks off with a Miriam Sturm solo piece? Could this have been a subtle 'screw you' to Lisa G after she left the band?

2) What's the deal with Kenny's drums being replaced by a drum machine on L.U.V. ? I seem to remember that Mellencamp and Aronoff had a full blown fistfight during the '94 Dance Naked recording; did I read this in a Rolling Stone interview from '94? I think it was the article that went into detail about a stalker outside Belmont Mall who was unhealthily obsessed with Lisa G.

3) Do your ever think we'll see documentary footage from any album recording sessions ala Springsteen's Darkness and Born to Run box sets? I'm guessing there must he quite a bit of footage from Belmont Mall rehearsals. Is there anything like this on YouTube or circulating amongst JM collectors? This is probably the holy frail for me and my JM buddies over here.

4) I was lucky enough to get my hands on a dvd of highlights from the 4th July Deer Creek Indiana show via eBay a few years back; it cuts out quite a few of my favourites such as Martha Say, Minutes to Memories and Play Guitar, as well as the really cool drum intro on Live and Happiness. Is the whole show out there in video form? I have the audio bootleg already but would love to watch the whole show.

5) I'm not Running Anymore is, surely, John's worst ever song lol. Disagree? Would be interested in your opinions here...

6) How can I get hold of the two rejected songs from the '98 Columbia debut? Angie and The March of the Forgotten Seven are their titles I think.

7) Are there any places you guys go online to access JM live shows, rarities, etc?

8 ) JM really landed on his feet when they got Dane Clark in. What a job the guy had following Kenny. Dane C is just awesome; Death Letter is just a great piece of rocknroll drumming.

9) Do you ever think we'll see John, Toby, Mike, Larry and Kenny share a stage again? Even just once? Or a one off Bam-Bam rock record with this line up? Stranger things have happened...I think record companies might be really interested in such a proposition.

10) Chances of JM ever touring the UK again?



Okay, I'm done. Excuse any typos above, please...this touchscreen predictive text thing drives me insane.

Greetings from Glasgow, Scotland. Keep on rockin, guys.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 10:42:53 am by Maradona10 » Logged
walktall2010
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 11:27:49 am »

Wow, someone on this board actually wants to have a compelling conversation regarding JM's music instead of constantly spitting vitriol about Meg Ryan. Will miracles never cease? You bring up some good questions; I'll answer each one with my thoughts.

1) Isn't it odd that the first record post-Lisa Germano kicks off with a Miriam Sturm solo piece? Could this have been a subtle 'screw you' to Lisa G after she left the band?


I'm not sure how ugly Lisa's departure from the band was, but I think this is just a coincidence. Lisa has said that John was using her less and less and I think that contributed to her departure.  

2) What's the deal with Kenny's drums being replaced by a drum machine on L.U.V. ? I seem to remember that Mellencamp and Aronoff had a full blown fistfight during the '94 Dance Naked recording; did I read this in a Rolling Stone interview from '94? I think it was the article that went into detail about a stalker outside Belmont Mall who was unhealthily obsessed with Lisa G.

I don't know the specifics about the drum machine in "L.U.V.," but you are right -- John and Kenny had a big falling out during the "Dance Naked" time period. Originally they got together in late 1993 to record 6 to 8 new songs for a box set to be called "Nothing Like We Planned" that never materialized. During this time Kenny was fired from the band. One of the songs recorded during this time period was "Miss Missy," which would later be included on the '98 self-titled album. If you look at the liner notes on that album, you'll see that Stan Lynch, formerly of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, played drums on that song. This was done while Kenny was out of the band. The Rolling Stone article you referred to sheds a lot of light on this time period. It can be read here: http://www.mellencamp.com/forum/index.php?topic=85.0

There's a 1994 Rolling Stone article on Lisa that briefly touches upon the stalker problem you mentioned here: http://www.mellencamp.com/forum/index.php?topic=1105.0  

3) Do your ever think we'll see documentary footage from any album recording sessions ala Springsteen's Darkness and Born to Run box sets? I'm guessing there must he quite a bit of footage from Belmont Mall rehearsals. Is there anything like this on YouTube or circulating amongst JM collectors? This is probably the holy frail for me and my JM buddies over here.

In 1991 John was being filmed everywhere he went for a documentary meant to "tell the truth on ourselves" that John wanted to model after the unreleased but heavily bootlegged Rolling Stones documentary "Cocksucker Blues" (John mentioned that even though it was never released, he had seen the bootleg and thought it was great). This documentary was intended to be included in the aforementioned "Nothing Like We Planned" box set that never materialized. It's actually referenced in the 1992 Esquire article that can be found here: http://www.mellencamp.com/forum/index.php?topic=1985.0 Some of that footage was used in the VH1 "Behind the Music" profile on John that aired in 1998, but the rest has never seen the light of day.

Certainly they could release something cool like what you are suggesting -- the footage definitely exists -- but John's stubborn refusal to "look back" probably precludes something like this from ever coming out. I had heard they were considering a deluxe "Scarecrow" re-issue in 2010 for the 25th anniversary of its release but with the "On the Rural Route" box set and "No Better Than This" both coming out that year, it was scrapped. Maybe it will be revisited for the 30-year anniversary in 2015, but I wouldn't bank on it. They easily could have done a 25th anniversary deluxe release on "The Lonesome Jubilee" this year since he's got nothing coming out and they didn't, so it's clear that John just doesn't have interest in putting stuff like this out like Springsteen, Pearl Jam, U2 and other artists do. A shame.

4) I was lucky enough to get my hands on a dvd of highlights from the 4th July Deer Creek Indiana show via eBay a few years back; it cuts out quite a few of my favourites such as Martha Say, Minutes to Memories and Play Guitar, as well as the really cool drum intro on Live and Happiness. Is the whole show out there in video form? I have the audio bootleg already but would love to watch the whole show.

I have something on a DVD from this show that aired on ABC in 1992. It is hosted by Elaine (while they were dating but before they were married), but I don't think it's the whole show. Not sure if the whole show exists or not.

5) I'm not Running Anymore is, surely, John's worst ever song lol. Disagree? Would be interested in your opinions here...

Pretty catchy song with a fun Caribbean-flavored melody that is a blast to hear live. It's a damn good song and far from his worst (listen to "A Biography" if you want to try to pick his worst song -- there's a whole bunch of bad songs on that album).  

6) How can I get hold of the two rejected songs from the '98 Columbia debut? Angie and The March of the Forgotten Seven are their titles I think.

I have these songs and can upload them for you. Just give me a few days, they are on my other computer.

7) Are there any places you guys go online to access JM live shows, rarities, etc?

www.dimeadozen.org and www.guitars101.com.

8 ) JM really landed on his feet when they got Dane Clark in. What a job the guy had following Kenny. Dane C is just awesome; Death Letter is just a great piece of rocknroll drumming.

Agreed. Dane is a fantastic drummer and a nice guy to boot.

9) Do you ever think we'll see John, Toby, Mike, Larry and Kenny share a stage again? Even just once? Or a one off Bam-Bam rock record with this line up? Stranger things have happened...I think record companies might be really interested in such a proposition.

This was discussed back in 2010 -- Larry mentioned the possibility in an article that he'd be willing to reunite with John and said that John has contemplated getting the old band back together for a one-off rock 'n roll album. John later shot this talk down just prior to the No Better Than This tour, so it sounds like it won't happen but you never know. Here's the article were Larry discusses the possibility of an '80s JM band reunion: http://www.nuvo.net/MusicBlog/archives/2010/06/14/larry-crane-heads-to-indiana-with-album-mellencamp-band-news

10) Chances of JM ever touring the UK again?

Probably slim. He avoided touring the UK for almost 20 years before touring there in the summer of 2011 and the shows were shorter than the US shows and attendance wasn't great. Anything is possible, but I get the feeling John will stick to touring North America for the rest of his career. That's just my opinion. I have no inside knowledge.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 11:50:19 am by walktall2010 » Logged
Maradona10
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 12:40:01 pm »

Thanks walktall; such a pleasure to talk with a knowledgeable JM fan.

Sometimes I do wonder if JM is at all aware that there are guys like us who would snap up archival releases and rare stuff. I get the sense he mostly feels somewhat underappreciated.

I'll check out the guitars101 forum for boots but I don't do torrents yet. I mostly collect actual silver disc bootlegs. Further thanks for the links to the vintage articles; will check 'em later when back in the house...and I'm looking forward to hearing Angie and March of the Forgotten Seven. You're a star, man.
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walktall2010
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 02:01:21 pm »

I agree that he probably does feel under appreciated, but I've always felt he doesn't do enough to change that perception. The 16 years of standard, 90-minute sets and the same old songs being played over and over every tour while tons of great songs never get the live treatment has never helped him earn respect with rock fans, while a guy like Springsteen embraces his entire catalog in his concerts, even going so far as to play unreleased tracks and full albums in running order (John Fogerty is doing this right now on his Canadian tour with old CCR albums). John started to improve things on the No Better Than This tour with longer shows and more rarities at first, but it became business as usual by the final leg this summer. Who knows what future tours will hold.

Speaking of unreleased tracks, John has a good deal of these in the vaults and refuses to release them when doing so could instantly increase his catalog by 25-30 songs and help the rock media and music fans who aren't die-hard JM fans realize what a great songwriter he really is. I've complained about this for a while now and have just come to accept it will likely never happen -- at least not while John is still alive.  

The funny thing is if John did even half the things he's mentioned in interviews that he's considered, like doing a two-man tour with Eddie Van Halen where Eddie would play guitar and John would sing, doing a solo acoustic tour where he talks a lot between songs, releasing the "Nothing Like We Planned" box set and documentary, recording an album of '60s covers, releasing the three-disc version of the "Ghost Brothers" musical (okay, low blow there), etc. then his fans would all have much more to get excited about.

Still, these are minor complaints and we have to appreciate what John has given us, which is considerable, but a little more creativity and forward-thinking from John and his management team would be a breath of fresh air.    
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 03:10:10 pm by walktall2010 » Logged
Maradona10
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 04:24:17 pm »

Some great points there. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that the Rural Route box was a missed opportunity; from the point if view of a longtime fan, it's hard to get excited about that release.

I would've killed for a 4 disc set of rarities, outtakes and live tracks. I really don't know who the box is aimed at.
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sheilafarmer
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 07:50:57 pm »

Although I liked the Rural Route box set, the pictures and stories of the making of the songs, I would have like to see some clips on the making of some songs or even DVD with some live concerts footage would have been cool.
Walktall, I too feel that John feels unappreciated, maybe that's why he does not put out some of the rare gems or even going back to business as usual. He has been on the road for this past tour a long time. Not to mention the Ghost Brothers project. He probably is tired and can't wait to start something new.
I personally can't wait for the next album, I wonder what he will do next.  Roll Eyes

A note about Springsteen, a saw a concert of his at the end of August and his show was 3 hrs 40 mins long and the doors opened an hour past the scheduled time and then waited an hour from him to come on stage. He put on a great show and a lot of his classic hits he did not play.
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walktall2010
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2012, 12:02:13 pm »

Some great points there. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that the Rural Route box was a missed opportunity; from the point if view of a longtime fan, it's hard to get excited about that release.

I would've killed for a 4 disc set of rarities, outtakes and live tracks. I really don't know who the box is aimed at.

I agree, it's baffling as to who the set was marketed to. The hard-core fans like us already had most of the songs that were included, and the casual fans weren't about to drop $100 for a box set from an artist they aren't a huge fan of. A huge missed opportunity. There were some cool tracks on there like the writing demos and "Colored Lights," but the rest was just stuff we already had for years. An example of something that should have been included: John Gunnell (John's bass player) did a chat with fans on Club Cherry Bomb in 2008 and said there was a song called "Cigarettes" from the Freedom's Road sessions that he just loved. "On the Rural Route" was the perfect place to let that song out and it didn't happen.

In addition, there were only 54 tracks included on the box set when there was enough disc space for at least 20 more and there should have been a DVD of some sort as well. Balls were dropped everywhere on this thing. On the other hand, the book was super cool and Anthony DeCurtis wrote a great essay. Hopefully we'll get the box set we all crave sometime soon, but I'm not holding my breath that it will come in John's lifetime.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 12:08:06 pm by walktall2010 » Logged
Maradona10
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2012, 12:21:54 pm »

Yeah, my favourite things on the box were, undoubtedly, the alternate L.U.V. and also the different Our Country, which I'd never heard before. I suspect -although I'd never wish to second guess JM - that the box was primarily aimed at music critics. Not us.

Anyway, a couple more questions for anyone that might know:

1) Is there a story behind Jackie O? Certainly a strange arrangement...even more so when you consider John Prine's involvement.

2) Why does the Uh Huh record have two different covers? (The one with the painted JM and devilish-looking angels flying around him, and the blue cover of JM smoking).

3) Does anyone know which songs Dave Grissom played on on Big Daddy? I'm thinking the title track and To Live, but I may be way off.
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geegee
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2012, 07:07:40 pm »

this is for you walktall. perhaps you can answer this question. the song "forgiveness" from johns album "freedoms road" was that a song that  contained personal lyrics by his wife elaine?
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2012, 12:05:00 am »

I assume you meant to ask if John wrote the song about their relationship -- obviously Elaine didn't write any lyrics -- but without knowing John personally I can only point you to what he's said in interviews. In the liner notes to "On The Rural Route 7609" he said that "Forgiveness" "might be sort of a love letter to Elaine." He spoke about it even earlier in an interview from 2007, right before "Freedom's Road" came out. This is just a portion of John's answer, the full interview can be found here: http://www.mellencamp.com/forum/index.php?topic=752.0

FOR ME "FORGIVENESS" RANKS ALONGSIDE "HUMAN WHEELS" AS ONE OF MY
FAVORITE MELLENCAMP TRACKS, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?


Since it's right in the middle of the record, it's sorta the theme of
the entire record. All of the things that we've done, and all of the
things that we will do. I've been married 15 years to my wife, and if
she wasn't so forgiving, I probably wouldn't have been married that
long. It's her ability to forgive, and in a marriage it's always
kinda nice to have somebody that's got a big heart, and can forgive
and also is a little blind.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 12:22:22 am by walktall2010 » Logged
walktall2010
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 12:13:01 am »

1) Is there a story behind Jackie O? Certainly a strange arrangement...even more so when you consider John Prine's involvement.

Don't know anything about the arrangement, but in a 2004 interview this song was mentioned and John said he still likes the song but added he can't take credit for it because John Prine wrote most of it, so I would say that John didn't contribute much to the melody or lyrics but he likely had some say in the way it was arranged. I agree, it is an odd sounding song on what is pretty much a hard rock album, with "Golden Gates" being the other exception. 

2) Why does the Uh Huh record have two different covers? (The one with the painted JM and devilish-looking angels flying around him, and the blue cover of JM smoking).

Have no idea on this. I didn't even know there were two covers.

3) Does anyone know which songs Dave Grissom played on on Big Daddy? I'm thinking the title track and To Live, but I may be way off.

Grissom played on four songs on "Big Daddy," but I'm not sure which ones.
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geegee
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2012, 01:12:11 am »

I assume you meant to ask if John wrote the song about their relationship -- obviously Elaine didn't write any lyrics -- but without knowing John personally I can only point you to what he's said in interviews. In the liner notes to "On The Rural Route 7609" he said that "Forgiveness" "might be sort of a love letter to Elaine." He spoke about it even earlier in an interview from 2007, right before "Freedom's Road" came out. This is just a portion of John's answer, the full interview can be found here: http://www.mellencamp.com/forum/index.php?topic=752.0

FOR ME "FORGIVENESS" RANKS ALONGSIDE "HUMAN WHEELS" AS ONE OF MY
FAVORITE MELLENCAMP TRACKS, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?


Since it's right in the middle of the record, it's sorta the theme of
the entire record. All of the things that we've done, and all of the
things that we will do. I've been married 15 years to my wife, and if
she wasn't so forgiving, I probably wouldn't have been married that
long. It's her ability to forgive, and in a marriage it's always
kinda nice to have somebody that's got a big heart, and can forgive
and also is a little blind.
thanks walktall that was some article.  i did a little research (i really like that song) and i came across this article and found it quite interesting you can read it here
http://www.menshealth.com/best-life/rock-solid
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sheilafarmer
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2012, 07:47:32 am »

Some pretty interesting facts in all these articles. I like that song "Foregiveness" one of my favorites from that album. Like the story behind it.
The question about 2 covers for "Uh-huh" album, I think that cover of John smoking was for a single.
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Mellenfan71
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2012, 08:49:49 am »

Quote
Wow, someone on this board actually wants to have a compelling conversation regarding JM's music instead of constantly spitting vitriol about Meg Ryan. Will miracles never cease?


Quote
The 16 years of standard, 90-minute sets and the same old songs being played over.....Who knows what future tours will hold.

I hope he was serious about a new "Rock and Roll" album in the future, As great as NBTT was, It was Dark and brooding(rec in 2009?), Would love to see him go back to his roots of kick ass Rock n roll. Like Pop Singer, etc Grin

Quote
releasing the three-disc version of the "Ghost Brothers" musical (okay, low blow there), etc. then his fans would all have much more to get excited about.

I'm actually with u there! Will they wait to release it to see if it comes out on Broadway?, I wanna hear the radio play as well
He/King is working his butt off to get GB on Broadway, Hope it happens for him.


« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 12:36:10 pm by Mellenfan71 » Logged
Maradona10
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 06:17:22 am »

Do we know why the Brothers of Darkland County release was postponed/shelved?
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