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WBIW.com: Mellencamp, Steven King Collaborate In Musical
10.16.2013 - WBIW.COM

Mellencamp, Steven King Collaborate In Musical

John Mellencamp and Stephen King are two men who've had uncommon success in their careers; Mellencamp as a musician, King as a writer.

Eric Halvorson of WISH TV reports that together, they've displayed uncommon patience in a project that blends their talents. Mellencamp and King have spent 13 years developing a "supernatural musical thriller" called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

Tuesday, both men were in Bloomington to see a rehearsal of the show at Indiana University. King says working together was a chance to try something different.

"John's made a thousand records and I've written a thousand books," King said. "And we know what we're doing But, neither one of us really felt content to just phone it in and keep doing the same thing."

Mellencamp took the concept to King. It was inspired by a story about an Indiana cabin Mellencamp once owned.

Over the years, they've discussed ideas, refined them, and ultimately settled on what's going on the stage now.
"We've gotten along pretty well," King said.

He said they're both "country kids."

"You know, he's from Indiana, and I'm from Maine. We had the same vision about who these people were. So it's worked out pretty well."

Their regular careers interrupted their work on Ghost Brothers. And, Mellencamp said, it's still changing.

"Steve, sittin' here today, looks at me and he goes, 'here's what should be said here.' So, he's still changing stuff. He's still writing stuff. You know, I hear a song and go, 'you know, that song, I could do a better song.' We're still in motion. He said it will be in motion "until we abandon it" and "you should never abandon art."

The production is intentionally not fancy.

"A lot of the shows [on Broadway] look more and more like E-Ticket rides at say Disneyworld or Six Flags. This is a little bit not so much that way." King called it more "down home." Mellencamp called it "grittier" than many prominent productions.

"We don't want it to be slick," Mellencamp said. "We want it to be like a garage band version of a Broadway show."

If you're interested in the collaboration, you can see the show today in Bloomington or next week at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis.


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