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Indiana Daily Student: Mellencamp Records New Video At IU
02.17.2009 - By Jackie Kochell | IDS
As studio lights covered the stained glass windows of Beck Chapel on Monday, inside a videographer set up a camera near the organ to shoot part of John Mellencamp’s new music video.

Students bustling by stopped to snap photos of the singer on their phones, shouting things like “Rockin’ in the USA!” while Mellencamp, dressed in black, stood outside during a break.

The musician shot his new music video for “A Ride Back Home,” a single off his latest album, “Life, Death, Love and Freedom.”

With Beck Chapel as his background, Mellencamp and his band said they hoped to convey the song’s emotion.

“The song’s about life’s loneliness, and that’s what we’re trying to get across in this video,” Mellencamp said.

Mellencamp wanted to shoot at Beck Chapel because of its intimacy and his longtime support of IU. The University allowed Mellencamp to tape inside the chapel and in the cemetery outside.

His wife and producer for the video, Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp, said Beck Chapel provides an appropriate setting for the song – a folksy tune with religious undertones.

“Architecturally speaking, it’s kind of timeless,” she said. “It’s one of those places that could be in the middle of anywhere.”

Mellencamp also shot part of the video in a hearse driving around Bloomington.
“John’s done a lot of videos around here,” Irwin-Mellencamp said. “His inspiration comes from here, so it’s nice to film here.”

Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, who sings on several of the album’s tracks, also appeared in the video with Mellencamp.

Fairchild, who was born in Gary, Ind., but grew up in Marietta, Ga., said she has worked with Mellencamp before, but working on “A Ride Back Home” was the first time the two had performed together in a music video.

Mellencamp and Fairchild lip-synched in front of the band as bystanders tapped their fingers to the song and watched from the chapel’s pews.

Irwin-Mellencamp said her husband uses the same crew, which is made up of friends, family and Indianapolis crew members, for almost all of his videos.

“It’s great to have the same people available,” she said.

After coming to Bloomington in 1976, Mellencamp has since become an avid fan of IU basketball and is frequently sighted by students and Bloomington residents.

Mellencamp’s reason for coming to town in his mid-20s is one to which many college students can relate.

“The girls,” he laughed. “Why else would any young guy come to Bloomington and not go to college?”

As a Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Mellencamp said the music industry proves difficult to break into and can have its share of hardships.

“If you’re thinking about going into this business,” he said, “you might want to change your mind.”
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