Indianapolis Star: IU Students Catch Mellencamp Video Shoot

By David Lindquist

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a 12-pew church with a small graveyard outside the door, John Mellencamp sang about death this afternoon.

Technically, he didn't sing but mouthed the lyrics to "A Ride Back Home" several times during the making of a music video at Beck Chapel on the campus of Indiana University.
Classes were in session on Presidents Day, allowing students to pause between classes and catch a glimpse of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

"Mr. Mellencamp, can we get a picture," called out one student during a break in the action.

When the singer barked "Take it," he managed to be cantankerous and good-natured in the same breath.

It was a day of minimal agitation for 57-year-old Mellencamp, who worked with camera, lighting and sound specialists -- all veterans of many of his previous projects.

"There's very little angst," he said after three hours of shooting. "These guys are professionals."

"A Ride Back Home," which appears on Mellencamp's 2008 album "Life, Death, Love and Freedom," will be the 49th music video in a career that began with the Seymour native's 1976 album, "Chestnut Street Incident."

Lighting technician Karl Koch began working with Mellencamp when MTV gave away an infamous pink house in 1984. Koch also served as gaffer -- or lighting chief -- on the singer's 1992 film "Falling from Grace."

Koch said a phone call from Mellencamp's wife, Elaine, nudged him out of retirement to work today on the set of "A Ride Back Home."

"John has been loyal to us," Koch said. "Once he established that we had professionals here, he insisted that directors not bring all their people from out of state. That's been good for us. We had the skills, but you had to have the opportunity."


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