John Talks about 2009's Bob Dylan Tour and Recording No Better Than This

St. Louis rock station KSHE95 has run a pair of stories featuring quotes from John about what he learned on the 2009 Bob Dylan tour and about the experience of recording his new album No Better Than This.

John Mellencamp says that he learned invaluable lessons on the road last summer while performing at a slew of the nation's minor league ballparks. Mellencamp, who just released his career-spanning four-CD box set On The Rural Route 7609, explained that the Dylan tour left an indelible mark on him: "Y'know, it's pretty loose. It's not really a 'rock show' -- y'know what I'm saying? It's about songwriting and it's a lot looser than shows I had done in the past when it was me in an arena, or me in a shed where it's, like, people expect a performance. I've learned a lot by doing so many shows with Dylan, because Bob is pretty much. . . he's really in the moment."

On August 17th John will release his latest studio album, called No Better Than This, which was recorded in several historical spots -- including Memphis' legendary Sun Studios.

Mellencamp told us that the way that Sun Records founder Sam Phillips set up the studio, it's hard to record there and have it not come out sounding like Sun: "Sun is such an odd configuration for a recording studio -- the way the ceiling is and the way the walls are. Plus, not to mention that Phillips had already marked where everybody was supposed to stand, anyway. There's an "x" for the singer, there was an "x" for the microphone -- 'cause that's the way they recorded back then. There was a mic -- so there was an "x" where the singer stood, there was an "x" where guitar players were supposed to be, there was an "x" where the upright bass was, and there was an "x" for the drums, so there was nothin' to it for us."

Mellencamp directed the video to Dylan's 1989 song "Political World" from his critically acclaimed Oh Mercy album.

On October 16th, 1992, Mellencamp opened the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration at New York's Madison Square Garden by performing Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" and the Blonde On Blonde classic "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat."