Exclusive Speck Mellencamp Interview - How He Is Using Facebook To Help Dad Stop Smoking

It's been an issue - seemingly forever - for John, and all those who care about him. He's never been able to quit smoking, sometimes self-deprecatingly joking that, "It's the only thing I'm good at." So leave it to his youngest son, 14-year-old Speck Mellencamp, to take matters into his own hands - via Facebook. "I'd been asking my father to quit for a long time," says Speck - in a exclusive interview. "Then I saw how people were using Facebook to raise awareness of HIV and cancer research and I got the idea to use it myself.” Speck brought this up to his father who agreed to kick the habit if he could garner a million people in support of the cause. Speck promptly went ahead and started up his "1,000,000 to join my dad john mellencamp will quit smoking" Facebook group.

The site quickly struck a chord with well over 100,000 joining over the course of just four days (the number has been increasing at an average rate of 25 additions per minute during daylight hours). "I didn't think it would actually become this big," says Speck. "People are leaving messages that if we reach a million, they’ll quit, too!”

But what about his father? "He was really surprised," Speck continued. "He thought it would just be a couple of my friends who would join it!"

And does he really think his dad will quit if he hits the million mark?

"I think so! He's taking it seriously - and he has actually started cutting back since we went over 100,000.”

If you've seen John on tour over the course of the past couple of years, you might have witnessed Speck support his dad in another way. He's an accomplished guitarist and when he's at one of his father's concert appearances, he's joined the band for some impressive fret work on "Authority Song." Let's hope John comes out grinning when Speck's effort reaches the "magic number."

A gracious note from Speck that was posted to members of the group early on: "I wanted to thank everyone for joining my group. Your support has been overwhelming. I think the coolest part of all of this is that a lot of you have committed to quitting smoking if my dad will. It's no longer only about my dad, but it has become something bigger. Thanks again for all of your support. I enjoy reading your stories."

--jim bessman

Check out Speck playing "Authority Song" with John and band at Farm Aid 2009