John Mellencamp Community

MELLENCAMP DISCUSSION => All About John => Topic started by: walktall2010 on March 29, 2011, 01:47:38 pm

Title: 92Y Review
Post by: walktall2010 on March 29, 2011, 01:47:38 pm
John Mellencamp: 'I've Never Gotten Along With Any Record Company Exec'
by Frank Scheck

Speaking at New York City's 92Y, the famously contentious 59-year-old rocker said his feelings on life and work “range from angry to angrier.”

"I fight authority and authority always wins."

That line from one of John Mellencamp's best known songs could well sum up the discussion with the Grammy-winning rocker at New York City’s 92Y Monday night. Talking about his life and career with Rolling Stone writer David Fricke, the famously contentious 59-year-old singer-songwriter, admitting that his feelings “range from angry to angrier,” took yet another opportunity to rail against the music industry.

He also thrilled the crowd by occasionally strapping on a guitar and performing snippets of songs both old and new. Responding to a shouted request from a female fan, he dutifully sang the opening bars of “Jack and Diane.” “Why do women always want that one?” he wondered.

“I have probably never gotten along with any record company executive ever, except maybe one,” declared the singer early in the evening. “And if they were such good businessmen, why aren’t they running Coca-Cola or other major corporations now?”

When asked about the worst thing he ever did to achieve success, he wincingly replied, “changing my name to Johnny Cougar.” But, he added, “I had to do what they asked me to do. They had me in a headlock.”

Despite the fact that he’s amassed 22 Top 40 hits over the course of his more than 35-year career, he was remarkably dismissive about his songwriting abilities. “All these songs to me are the same,” he said, illustrating his point by performing very similar sounding excerpts from “I Need a Lover” and “Pink Houses.”

He said that the closest he’s ever come to fulfilling his songwriting aspirations was with “Save Some Time to Dream,” from his recent album No Better Than This, released last year on Rounder Records.

That album, produced by T Bone Burnett and recorded on a decades-old mono tape recorder, was made in three historic locations: The First Baptist Church in Savannah, Sun Studio in Memhis and Room 414 of San Antonio’s Gunter Hotel, where blues legend Robert Johnson made some of his most famous recordings.

He said that he merely took advantage of the “opportunity” to record on such hallowed grounds. “I didn’t think that there was going to be any magic dust that would be sprinkled on the songs.”

He made several references to his advanced years, both prideful (“I’m almost 60 years old and I’m still doing it”) and self-deprecating (“Believe it or not, I used to be a handsome guy. Now I look like a stack of shit.”)

He certainly sounded his age, whether rhapsodizing about his idyllic Indiana childhood or railing against modern society, particularly the Internet. “Calling something progress doesn’t make it right,” he affirmed, adding that “these days it’s more important to make money than to be correct.” Identifying himself as a “total leftie,” he said that “when I met Obama I told him, you’re too conservative for me.”

He made no reference to his current, well-publicized relationship with actress Meg Ryan, except to jokingly say that “I got a girlfriend who likes to sleep all the time.”

Title: Re: 92Y Review
Post by: dolly23 on March 29, 2011, 02:28:04 pm
Anyone attend this talk, here in the Big Apple, would love to hear from
a fan?

Title: Re: 92Y Review
Post by: walktall2010 on March 29, 2011, 02:38:46 pm
Not sure why are there no fan reviews, because I know people from these boards went to the show. Anyway, here's another professional one.

John Mellencamp says he has rarely gotten along with executives in the music industry.

“The worst thing a record company ever asked me to do was change my name to Johnny Cougar," Mellencamp said during an appearance at 92nd Street Y Monday night. "And I was too young [to say no]. I was in New York for only the second time in my life, and my choice was to either go with that or go home. But I didn’t like it.”

During a conversation with Rolling Stone writer David Fricke, Mellencamp talked about the decline of the record industry, the impact of the Internet on album sales, and the state of popular music today.

He hinted that pressure to create hit records usually results in lower-quality songs.

“There’s nothing wrong with hit records. I’ve had a lot of them. But when you’re reaching that many people, it really is the lowest common denominator -- generally not the guy’s best work,” he said.

Fricke asked Mellencamp what advice he had to young singers trying to break into the music business.

“I’d say probably put on a stretchy dress and wear your hair real funny,” he said. “And cuss a lot.”

Despite his various criticisms, Mellencamp said he was thankful for his success in the industry.

“Sometimes you can write a song that becomes the fabric of somebody’s life, and has some kind of meaning other than just entertainment,” he said. “That’s about as good as you can get, you know?”

“I’ve made 23 or 25 albums — that’s like 300 songs,” he added. “Can you imagine how fortunate I must feel to have written that many songs and hang around for as long as I did?”

Fricke asked Mellencamp which of his songs he considered to be closest to “lyrically perfect.”

“I haven’t written that song yet, though there are some that come pretty close to the standard that I set for myself,” he said.

As an example, he began playing the song “Save Some Time to Dream,” which appears on his most recent album, last year’s “No Better Than This.”

Throughout the evening, Mellencamp performed excerpts from other songs as well, including “I Need a Lover” and “The West End.”

He also played a few bars of “Jack and Diane” — but only after a woman in the audience yelled out a request for it.

“Why do women always want to hear that song?” he asked, before launching into the familiar opening.

Title: Re: 92Y Review
Post by: edhead on March 29, 2011, 05:34:53 pm
This fan was there, took the train up from Philly,  got home about 1:45am,  had to be at work at 7,  been busy at work all day so sorry I have not had time to post.  Was pretty good but nothing earth shattering, don't be disappointed you missed it.  Will try to elaborate later tonight or tomorrow

Title: Re: 92Y Review
Post by: fasttarga on March 29, 2011, 08:14:05 pm
I thought the event was pretty interesting. Here are some observations in no particular order;

Before the discussion started folks from the hall handed out blank white index type cards for audience members to write down questions they had for Mellencamp that were later collected and read by Mr Fricke towards the end of the discussion.

He played small bits of I Need A Lover, Pink Houses, Jack And Diane, The West End and Save Some Time To Dream. Tried to play Small Town but just couldn't get it going and abandoned it. All very short versions that were tied in to the conversation. The West End was the longest of the bunch.

It lasted about 90 minutes or so. A rep from 92Y spoke briefly before introducing David Fricke who then spoke about Mellencamp before introducing him to the stage.

He did repeat several things that he's talked about in the past. He dropped the F word probably about 1\2 dozen times.

A girl I was with at the show was really impressed with how insightful, thoughtful and honest he was. She jotted down several of his quotes. When I get those I'll share them along with what else I remembered.


Title: Re: 92Y Review
Post by: dolly23 on March 30, 2011, 08:36:34 am
Thanks all for posting, I live in NY and was not able to get to
this.  When doesn't he drop the f-bomb~