Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 15, 1994 By Steve Newton Talk about cutting out the fat. John Mellencamp just keeps making his instrumentation leaner as the years go by; now he’s gotten to the point where he’ll pass up bass and go with drums and guitars only, and the effect–on bare-bones tunes like … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Dance Naked (1994)

That time John Cougar told me that he’d much rather be known as John Mellencamp

By Steve Newton In May of 1983 I did my first interview with John Mellencamp, or at least that’s who he wanted to be. Back then the heartland rocker was still known as John Cougar, and was riding high on the breakthrough success of his latest album, American Fool, which spent nine weeks at the … Continue reading That time John Cougar told me that he’d much rather be known as John Mellencamp

Album review: John Mellencamp, Freedom’s Road (2007)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 15, 2007 By Steve Newton The release of John Mellencamp’s latest CD, Freedom’s Road, caused quite the media frenzy in the States. He showed up on all the TV talk shows, plugging the disc on hip programs like The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and unhip ones like … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Freedom’s Road (2007)

John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

Mellencamp middle, Aronoff far right By Steve Newton For many years the resounding thwump of Kenny Aronoff’s drumwork could be heard worldwide on the heartland-rock hits of John Mellencamp. People first came to notice Aronoff’s skin-bashing abilities big time on the massive 1982 blockbuster “Hurts So Good”, but his percussive powers would continue to meld perfectly … Continue reading John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team

That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”

By Steve Newton The first time I interviewed John Mellencamp was way the funk back in the spring of 1983, after he’d released his multiplatinum breakthrough album American Fool (the one with “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane” on it) and before he’d released his multiplatinum followup Uh-Huh (the one with “Pink Houses” and “Authority … Continue reading That time I asked John Mellencamp what a heart attack feels like and he said “they don’t feel good!”

Album review: John Mellencamp, Mr. Happy Go Lucky (1996)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 12, 1996 By Steve Newton In 1994, John Mellencamp was scheduled to perform here in support of his Dance Naked release, but the show was cancelled when the then–four-pack-a-day smoker suffered a heart attack. He hasn’t toured since, and from the sound of this new CD, Mellencamp … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Mr. Happy Go Lucky (1996)

Album review: John Mellencamp, Whenever We Wanted (1991)

  ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 14, 1991 By Steve Newton First it was Johnny Cougar, then John Cougar, then John Cougar Mellencamp, and now John Mellencamp. On his next album he’ll probably just be John. But that’s okay, ’cause names aren’t important when your music’s as brilliant as it is on Whenever … Continue reading Album review: John Mellencamp, Whenever We Wanted (1991)

Perfecting the lost art of the backstage meet ‘n’ greet at John Mellencamp in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 20, 1999 By Steve Newton I like John Mellencamp, but my sister Julie and cousin Cory are crazy about him, so I did some serious scroungin’ and wangled three backstage passes to meet the Indiana rocker before he went on stage at GM Place last Saturday (May 15). … Continue reading Perfecting the lost art of the backstage meet ‘n’ greet at John Mellencamp in Vancouver

John Mellencamp cuts back on smokes, ramps up songwriting after heart attack

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 13, 1999 By Steve Newton John Mellencamp had the biggest-selling album of 1982 with American Fool, which boasted such huge radio hits as “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane”. I interviewed him in advance of a show at the PNE Forum that year, and at the time … Continue reading John Mellencamp cuts back on smokes, ramps up songwriting after heart attack

New John Mellencamp box set crams 19 discs into one tidy package

  By Steve Newton If you’re a hardcore John Mellencamp fan and you just lost your entire Mellencamp CD collection because your house burned down, and now you’ve gotta go live in a small apartment without a lot of space for discs, have I got the thing for you. This Tuesday (July 22), Universal Music Canada is … Continue reading New John Mellencamp box set crams 19 discs into one tidy package

John Mellencamp’s killer repertoire runs fast and loose in Vancouver

@shotbykevin ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 5, 1992 By Steve Newton A couple of weeks back, the Straight ran a John Mellencamp interview in which the Indiana man characterized his debut acting/directing effort, Falling from Grace, as “a very slow and methodical movie”. Fortunately for the 13,000 or so rowdies who packed the … Continue reading John Mellencamp’s killer repertoire runs fast and loose in Vancouver

John Cougar Mellencamp sells seats, not principles, in Vancouver

chris cameron photo ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 25, 1988 By Steve Newton Some guys have it and some guys don’t. A great band, that is. Springsteen had one when he played here in 1984. And the latest hero of the American heartland, John Cougar Mellencamp, had one at the sold-out Coliseum last Saturday (March 19). … Continue reading John Cougar Mellencamp sells seats, not principles, in Vancouver

Album review: John Cougar Mellencamp, Scarecrow (1985)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 8, 1985 By Steve Newton “The Authority Song” from last year’s Uh-Huh album was one of my fave rock tunes of 1984, right up there with Van Halen’s “Panama” and the Pretenders’ “Back On the Chain Gang”. But I wasn’t too crazy about the album on a whole. … Continue reading Album review: John Cougar Mellencamp, Scarecrow (1985)

John Cougar Mellencamp may be little but he’s no bastard on the Scarecrow Tour in Vancouver

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 25, 1986 By Steve Newton He calls himself Little Bastard on his album productions credits, and after meeting John Cougar Mellencamp backstage before last week’s (April 16) Coliseum show, I half-understood why. He’s not a bastard. On the contrary he seemed like a very nice fellow, all smiles … Continue reading John Cougar Mellencamp may be little but he’s no bastard on the Scarecrow Tour in Vancouver

Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

go Johnny, go! By Steve Newton A couple months ago I interviewed legendary rock guitarist Martin Barre, best known for his work on all of Jethro Tull‘s top albums and hits. At one point in the conversation we got to talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which has famously refused to induct … Continue reading Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre says it’s “outrageous” that Johnny Winter isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

By Steve Newton I interviewed John Mellencamp for the first time when he was still called John Cougar. Back in May of 1983 he was touring behind his latest album, American Fool, but for some reason the Vancouver show got canceled and the interview I did with him never ran. At one point in the … Continue reading That time John Cougar told me that he was looking forward to the US Festival (but then he didn’t go)

John Doe describes X as “a rock and roll band that loves songs”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 3, 1984 By Steve Newton “They were so close it was scary,” claims X bassist John Doe of the near-identical musician’s ads he and guitarist Billy Zoom ran in a Los Angeles paper back in 1979. The eerie similarity of the two advertisements brought the players quickly together, … Continue reading John Doe describes X as “a rock and roll band that loves songs”

That time Chris Whitley told me that he thought Johnny Winter’s debut album was the best blues-rock record ever made

By Steve Newton I interviewed Chris Whitley for the first time back in October of 1991, three months after the release of his debut album, Living With the Law. He called me up from Nashville, where he was opening for Tom Petty on Petty’s Into the Great Wide Open Tour. At one point in the … Continue reading That time Chris Whitley told me that he thought Johnny Winter’s debut album was the best blues-rock record ever made