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06/14/2017 - John Mellencamp has never been known to pull his punches. “I saw through the music business very early, with the ‘Johnny Cougar’ thing,” he says, referring to the cringeworthy stage name given to him by a former manager in the 1970s. “I had the reputation of being very difficult—but I’m not, really. I’m just doing what most guys don’t do, which is stand up for yourself.”

Rather than succumb to the constant chart-driven pressures of the hitmaking machine, Mellencamp did indeed stand up to reclaim his name in the ensuing decade, establishing himself as one of our most poignant observational songwriters in the process. And his skill at depicting the litany of American tomfoolery and social malaise is once again on pointed display in Sad Clowns & Hillbillies. Read Mike Mettler's insightful interview with John after the jump. Read More
 
   

 

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