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Author Topic: Rolling Stone Magazine: John Mellencamp Brings His Raw New Sound To Radio City  (Read 6034 times)
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« on: March 05, 2011, 04:01:25 pm »

By Andy Greene, Article Includes Photo - Twenty Minutes After leaving the stage at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, John Mellencamp is smoking an American Spirit and pouring himself a glass of chocolate milk inside his parked tour bus. A docked iPod spins Billboard’s Top 100 songs of 1968: Motown singer Shorty Long’s “Here Comes the Judge,” followed by Aretha Franklin’s cover of “Say a Little Prayer.”

Just a few minutes earlier, Mellencamp’s new girlfriend, Meg Ryan exited the bus and docked back inside Radio City as a throng of fans lined up nearby let out a scream. Paparazzi have been following the couple all over New York, and Mellencamp is fed up, “I’m disgusted by it,” he says. “They’re more interested in her, so I feel sorry for her. We’re seniors, man. Who cares about that? They ran out of other people to fuck with.”

Mellencamp perks up when the conversation turns to the ambitious theater tour he just launched to support his raw, stripped-down new LP, No Better Than This. He’s been pleasantly surprised to find that his audience stay engaged during long stretches of new material. “You couldn’t do this kind of show in an area,” he says. “Nobody would listen.”

For much of the last two decades, Mellencamp concerts have been built around his greatest hits. “I feel like a monkey on a string,” he says. “I’m a music lover, and it just turned into a spectacle. I could have made more money [on this tour] if I waited until the summer and played the hits. I’m just not that interested in that anymore.”

The ones he does play are radically rearranged: “Cherry Bomb” is delivered a cappella; he performs “Small Town” on an acoustic guitar, accompanied only by a violinist. “Jack and Diane” is as country-swing song now,” he says. “I didn’t even know what a sad song it was because I played it in the pop form so many times.”

The two-and-a-half hour set is his longest in years, and it’s not even the whole show: Fans who arrive early see a one-hour documentary about the making of the album. “This is a vaudeville show,” Mellencamp says, “There’s blues songs and country songs. The only difference is that one guy is singing them.”

Mellencamp spent the last two summers playing minor-league ballparks in small towns with Bob Dylan. “I feel as close to him as anybody in the music business,” Mellencamp, says. “He’s the funniest guy in the world. We tease each other a lot and have a nice, easy rapport.” Mellencamp has also taken advice from fellow Farm Aid board member Neil Young. “Ten years ago, he told me, ‘John, if you’ve got a problem, it’s that you’ve got too many hits.’ He realized he has too many and he was finding it noninteresting, so he kind of quit doing it too.”

Mellencamp realizes that he’s moving farther away from mainstream stardom. “I don’t expect to sell records or hear them on the radio,” he says. “These records are just calling cards to say, ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing now.’ That’s the way music started out originally. The only money people ever made was playing. That’s what I’m going to do. Go out and play.”
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 04:03:50 pm by sharonc » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 08:51:11 pm »

Great article which totally explains JM. I knew the paparazzi would be pissing him off by now!and yes he could have made more money doing staduim tours but his true fans are getting a real treat on this tour and thats why he's doing it for his true fans the ones who have brought every album and followed his whole career not just the ones who loved his hits in the 80's/90's and then forgot about him then suddenly realised that he was still around! John has been experimenting with his music for a while now and playing different versions of our old favourites.
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