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09/22/2008 - At the pre-show Farm Aid press conference, John Mellencamp drew attention to the late Earl Butz, Secretary of Agriculture during the Nixon and Ford administrations, who in 1970 came up with the slogan “Get big or get out,” thus heralding the rise of major agribusiness corporations and the decline of the small family farm.

“Since that time more than 300,000 family farms have gone out of business,” said Mellencamp, adding that four corporations now control 82% of the beef and cattle market, and five major packing corporations control 55% of the hog market, with the average number of rural acres lost to urban sprawl since 1970 totaling one million a year. He added that of the $130 million in government commodity payments over the last decade for crops including soy, corn, wheat, rice, beet sugar and peanuts, the top 1% of producers receive 24% of the payments, and 10% get 73% of the farm bill.

Bob Costas Int Read More
09/21/2008 - The members of Club Cherry Bomb, the John Mellencamp Fan Club, raised a record $5,000 from its 4th Annual Farm Aid Charity Auction of Mellencamp memorabilia, doubling the previous record of $2,500 from last year’s fan organized auction.

Sharon C, coordinator of the Club member's Farm Aid activities, presented Mellencamp with a check from the fundraiser Saturday at Farm Aid. John said "Wow, that is a lot of money! Thanks to everyone that donated."

The total also included donations from fans who didn’t win the auctioned items. Read More
09/18/2008 - The Martin Guitar Company has partnered with John Mellencamp in creating a special John Mellencamp Signature Edition Martin Guitar.

The Martin 00-18S John Mellencamp Signature Edition is inspired by Mellencamp’s beloved small, plain acoustic 12-fret parlor guitar he simply calls Maybell, believed to be one of the May Bell (or May-Bell) guitars built in the 1920s and 1930s. Understated and handsome, the new Mellencamp instrument is made of solid tonewoods, its back and sides a rare quilted mahogany for bright, clear tone, and a top of Carpathian spruce--a tonewood from the mountains surrounding the Black Sea that combines the rich timbre of European spruce and the dynamic range of Adirondack spruce. The guitar’s neck is genuine mahogany, with scalloped quarter-inch top braces providing superb responsiveness and balance.

Guitar aficionados will also note other aspects of the instrument, such as an Old Style 18 rosette matched by five layers of alternating black and white purfling around th Read More
09/18/2008 - The sale of 150 tickets to John Mellencamp’s Sept. 23 concert at the historic Crump Theater in Columbus, Indiana, which were donated to the United Way and offered to the public on a sealed bid basis, has raised $43,000 to benefit local flood relief in Bartholomew County.

“This is going to be a great help to the flood recovery effort,” says Doug Otto, president of the Bartholomew County United Way and executive director of the Bartholomew County Long Term Flood Recovery Team. “It’s $43,000 that we didn’t expect. The generosity of the Mellencamp team is very much appreciated.”

The money raised will help Bartholomew County in the wake of the devastation that damaged or destroyed 10% of the homes in the county on June 7.

Mellencamp’s performance at the Crump is a key part of “Back Where We Started,” a forthcoming documentary-style special on Mellencamp’s formative years being produced for the Bio Channel. The Crump was one of the first theaters Mellencamp played, and this show wil Read More
09/17/2008 - Let's Get Serious - Mr. Happy Go Lucky's not laughing any more.
By Jerry Ewing for UK's Classic Rock Magazine

After a 32-year recording career, the 56-year old Mellencamp arrives at his 18th studio album of original material in highly-reflective mode. In fact, on most of Life, Death, Love And Freedom he's lyrically at his most morbid, taking the darker side of his character that was most evident over last year's Freedom's Road, and running it through the themes of every song, themes of course reflected in the album's title.

"Nothing lasts forever, Your best efforts don't always pay," he sighs on opening track Longest Days, a line that could, perhaps sum up his career, were it not for the fact he remains a hugely popular artist in his native America, a fact highlighted by the top 10 US chart placing achieved by both this and Freedom's Road.

But this isn't the sound of a man in celebratory mode, although music Read More
09/16/2008 - Last night’s taping of “Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…,” which featured John Mellencamp, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Norah Jones, was a departure from the interview/performance format of previous installments starring the varied likes of Elton John and Smoky Robinson. Rather, it took on the nature of the Nashville “guitar pull,” where a panel of songwriters sits around swapping songs and stories.

As Cash noted, the set-up likely originated at her father Johnny Cash’s house, where legendary songwriters and performers like Bob Dylan, Graham Nash, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, and Kristofferson would drop by for such informal gatherings (“I was scared to death then and I’m scared to death now!” said the ever-unassuming Kristofferson).

Costello didn’t mean to turn the evening into a tribute to Cash’s father, but it was inevitable that Johnny Cash was a big part of it. Group sing-alongs on his classics “I Still Miss Someone” and “Big River” were high points, and Costello—a remarka Read More
09/15/2008 - Farm Aid 2008 is this Saturday, September 20 at the Comcast Center near Boston. The show will feature performances by Farm Aid president and founder Willie Nelson; board members Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews; as well as Kenny Chesney. Live TV coverage will be on DirecTV via their 101 Network. Their HD coverage will begin at 4 PM ET and end at 11 PM. will also be webcasting the event via their website. Click HERE for more details on this year's concert.

Watch for more details and coverage of the event this week and weekend. We will have a report on next week. Read More
09/13/2008 - John Mellencamp will be the focus of Bio Channel's forthcoming special "Back Where We Started." It's a documentary style look at the artists Southern Indiana roots that underscore who he is today. One of the components of the show is an exclusive intimate concert at the historic Crump Theater in Columbus Indiana. Playing on the title of the show, the Crump was one of the very first theaters John ever played at the very start of his career. It's been 32 years and 40 million albums since Mellencamp, inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, last performed at The Crump. He’ll be back for one special performance on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 23.

A limited number of tickets will be made available for purchase in Columbus with proceeds benefiting local flood relief through the Bartholomew Country Long Term Relief Team.

Mellencamp, who grew up in Seymour, IN (23 miles south of Columbus) and has long been a resident of Bloomington, IN (37 miles Read More
09/13/2008 - A forthcoming John Mellencamp special entitled “Back Where We Started” is being produced for A&E’s Biography Channel (also known as Bio) and will include a special performance at the historic Crump Theater in Columbus, Indiana on the evening of Tuesday, September 23.

The show at the intimate concert venue -- one of the first theaters Mellencamp played -- will be a key part of the documentary-style program, which will examine his Southern Indiana roots and their influence on his career.

“As a rule, I don’t spend much time looking back,” says Mellencamp, who has not played The Crump in 32 years. “But that’s what this evening is about. Maybe we can raise the roof on the place.”

The concert will span Mellencamp’s career and will include material from his new album “Life, Death, Love and Freedom.”

A limited number of tickets will be put on sale in Columbus by the United Way with proceeds benefiting local flood relief through the Bartholomew Country Long Term Relief Team Read More
09/10/2008 - John Mellencamp provided the after-dinner performance for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center’s First Annual Notes of Hope Benefit Dinner, which took place last night at the cavernous Cipriani Wall Street in the heart of Lower Manhattan’s financial district, only blocks away from Ground Zero.

9-10-08 Notes For Hope Dinner, New York City, NY
Photo By Ronald L. Glassman

In marked contrast to the well-dressed, well-heeled attendees—including an ex-mayor and ex-governor and hundreds of high society Wall Street types and politicos—Mellencamp wore a simple black shirt with tails overlapping jeans atop engineer’s boots Read More
09/08/2008 - Do yourself a favor. Don’t google-alert John Mellencamp.

You’ll save yourself countless daily interruptions, most of which involve links to various versions of the same thing (current example: multiple pick-ups of the “Times They Are A-Changin’” video story, which made news everywhere from Rolling Stone to in Australia).

That said, every now and then something interesting does turn up—like the exploits of an Indiana Hoosier soccer star whose name, incredibly, is also John Mellencamp (his nephew!).

Then last week I get a link to a site called Republican Operative, which, you can be sure, I’ve never before visited or sought. What caught my eye was a feature entitled “Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs.” Turns out one of the site’s “special operatives” had just happened on a 2006 piece from the conservative magazine National Review’s online version and wanted to draw attention to it.

The reason for the Mellencamp alert? His “Small Town” made the Top 50! The Read More
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