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09/28/2008 - John Mellencamp’s musical heroes notwithstanding, no one had a bigger impact on him than the late Paul Newman.

“In 1967, me and four other guys went to see ‘Cool Hand Luke’ every night for seven nights straight,” recalled Mellencamp, who was a high school sophomore when he and his pals “stumbled on” Newman’s classic prison drama film at Seymour’s Vondee Theater. “It was winter and we wanted to get out of the house on a Monday night—and we came back Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We saved up our lunch money so we could go and by the end of the week we could recite every line!”

This, of course, was at a time of historic musical creativity.

“There was so much great music to be discovered,” Mellencamp continued. “Remember, there was Dylan, the Stones, the importance of James Brown. But for some reason on that week Paul Newman made the biggest influence on me, probably bigger than Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and James Brown--just by the nature of that characte Read More
09/26/2008 - Mellencamp & Gill: 2 intimate experiences
By journalismrookie

It’s not too often you go to a concert and feel close to the artist. Yeah, you may enjoy yourself, clapping, cheering and singing along. But most of the time, you’re just one of many sitting out there in the audience, while the singer sings one song after another, not saying much in between. But with two concerts I attended this week, it’s a different story.

John Mellencamp’s concert Tuesday at the Crump Theatre in downtown Columbus was the most intimate concert I’ve ever been to. And after talking to a few people afterwards about the show, they felt the same way. Mellencamp last performed at the Crump on Oct. 4, 1976. That was when he was known as Johnny Cougar, and the performance followed his show at the Seymour National Guard Armory. So in this area was where his career began. It was only fitting to return there as A&E was filming the concert to insert in its new series “Back Where We Started” for Read More
09/26/2008 - Commentary
By Mike Leonard

The motivation to stage a John Mellencamp concert in the crumbling Crump Theater in Columbus came out of brainstorming for a new cable television series, tentatively titled “Back Where We Started.”

The concept is to take someone both famous and accomplished — Mellencamp’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year pretty much set his legacy in stone — and go back to take an in-depth look at that person’s early years.

“It was perfect for us to have John as the premiere for the series because for this kind of show to work, we need someone who is both prolific and been in the business a long time,” explained Anthony Uro, executive director for original programming for Stage 3 Productions, a Philadelphia firm. “It wouldn’t work with someone who was famous for five years and then went away. Or someone who has done the same thing all their lives.”

The film crew has gone to impressive lengths to tell the s Read More
09/26/2008 - Mellencamp Rocks Crowd at Historic Columbus Theatre

For one night, John Mellencamp returned to a place he said he couldn't remember.

As for the 600 or so radio station winners, auction top-bidders and whoever else could wrangle a ticket for the September 23 show that was not sold to the public, it turned out to be a memorable night of up close, back-to-roots rock, bearing the unique Mellencamp stamp.

Brashness. Compassion. Pride. Middle-finger-extended attitude. Loud, rough-edged rock and roll.

Under the guise of recording the pilot episode of a new A&E Bio show called "Back Where We Started", Mellencamp and his band made creaky, cozy and barely back-to-fire code Crump Theater in Columbus, Indiana their bunker for the night.

Opened in 1872, The Crump Theatre is like many old theatres throughout the country; it has seen the glory days and those aren't today. Red carpet with black spots, theatre seats carted in for the occasion cover Read More
09/26/2008 - As Columbus, Indiana Mayor Fred Armstrong noted in proclaiming Sept. 23 John Mellencamp Day, the first—and last—time John Mellencamp played the 700-seat Crump Theatre in Columbus, Indiana was on Oct. 4, 1976, when the then Johnny Cougar was supporting his debut album “Chestnut Street Incident.”

Mellencamp returned to “Chestnut Street” in his career-encompassing Sept. 23 concert at the Crump, which was lensed for the forthcoming “Back Where We Started” documentary-style special on Mellencamp’s formative years being produced for the Bio Channel. He offered a fragment of the album’s titletrack—admittedly about as much as he could remember—along with other early fare like “Taxi Dancer” and “I Need a Lover,” all of which were performed solo acoustic. His performance of “To M.G. (Wherever She May Be)” from 1980's “Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did” was dedicated to the high school flame he wrote it for—who lives in Columbus and happened to be in the audience.

Read More

09/25/2008 - In response to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout currently being considered by Congress, the Farm Aid Board of Directors Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews sent an open letter to Congressional leaders urging them to redirect funds to farm communities and working men and women, where they can be better used to address our country’s economic, environment, energy and health crises.

Please read the letter below and pass it on to your friends and family.

September 25, 2008

Dear Congress,

As you consider the distribution of $700 billion to the very banks and corporations that have gotten our country into the mess we’re in now, we ask you to pause for a moment and consider w Read More
09/23/2008 -

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) - A rock and roll legend is returning to the place where it all began in Indiana in order to help a local landmark. John Mellencamp is holding a private concert in Columbus.

The concert is part of an A&E television series called "Back Where We Started." A crew will film the show Tuesday night at Crump Theatre. But before the camera starts recording the theatre needed a little TLC.

Mellencamp wasn't much older than the students that go to Columbus North High School when he took the stage at Crump Theatre on October 4, 1976. The school's choir is wearing shirts say "I sing in a small town". The kids in the choir were thrilled to find out that they are Mellencamp's opening act.

"I left the choir room as soon as we found out and told just about everyone we could find in the hall including my mom and dad," said 17-year-old Grace Smith.

"When I told my mom she totally flipped out. We are Co Read More

09/23/2008 - In celebration of John's performance at Columbus IN's Crump Theater the town made the following proclamation.

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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
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