John Mellencamp had ten of his paintings on display (April 29 – May 4, 1999) in Vincennes University's Shircliff Gallery of Art in Vincennes, Indiana.
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) has awarded John Mellencamp its President's Merit Award for his work on Farm Aid.
The first Farm Aid concert was held on September 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois. During that concert, Mellencamp asked all audience members to write their congressmen demanding action to help American farmers, the beneficiaries of the concert.
In 1966 Mellencamp got his first professional gig playing at fraternity parties for $30 a weekend with the band, "Snakepit Banana Barn," while he was still in high school.
John is actively involved in four charitable causes: Farm Aid, VH1 Save the Music, Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, and the Spina Bifida Association.
John sponsored an Indy Racing League car in 2001. The car's theme was "Peaceful World" and featured his picture from the Cuttin' Heads album was displayed on each side of the car.
John received the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award: Special Music Industry Humanitarian Award in 1991 and the Billboard Century Award in 2001.
He took part in the Good Samaritan Tour in 2000.
A lot of the Behind the Music (The John Mellencamp story) segments with VH1 were shot throughout Jackson County, Indiana.
In the 90's there were festivals in Seymour, Indiana that celebrated John's accomplishments. The festival was called "Mellenfest."
A lot of the Behind the Music (The John Mellencamp story) segments with VH1 were shot throughout Jackson County, Indiana.
Fans of John Mellencamp are known as "Mellenheads."
In 1994 John filmed the video for "Wild Night" at the Art Center in Seymour, Indiana.
John filmed the "Human Wheels" video in Seymour, Indiana in front of the Rockford United Methodist Church in 1993.
In 1991 John purchased an 1851 brick home at 2001 N. Ewing St. in Seymour, Indiana as a place for Jackson county residents to exhibit and learn about the arts. It is called the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. John generously leases it to the county for $1.00 every two years!
John received his first royalty check for $27.59 for his first album, Chestnut Street Incident, on December 16, 1977.
John's first tour kicked off on October 2, 1976 in Indiana. He covered southern Indiana with the "Cougarettes" from Seymour.
John graduated from Vincennes University in 1975.
Briefly moved to Vallonia, Indiana in 1971.
Formed cover band called "Trash" in 1971.
Member of band named "Crepe Soul" in 1965.
Mellencamp and Stephen King's Broadway musical is called, "Mississippi Ghost Brothers."
John first moved to Bloomington in 1977.
John likes to play pranks on his Republican neighbors by removing the Republican signs from their yards and replacing them with Democrat ones.
John has a home on 56 acres overlooking Lake Monroe in Bloomington, Indiana.
John is supporting his friend, Senator Evan Bayh, a fellow Hoosier, about the possibility for the Democratic ticket in 2008.
John smokes American Spirit cigarettes.
John's father, Richard, worked as an electrical contractor, and his mother, Marilyn, was a homemaker and postal employee.
John takes his two youngest sons, Hud and Speck, on tour with him.
Mellencamp was known as "Buddy" by his beloved grandmother.
Also an Indiana native and friend of Mellencamp, R&B artist Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, produced 2 of the 35 tracks on the Words and Music album.
Mellencamp is widely known for being hardheaded and confrontational.
His first album was Chestnut Street Incident.
John records his music at the Belmont Mall studio in Bloomington, Indiana. He owns the Belmont Mall studio.
John participated in the anti-Bush Vote for Change tour in 2000 and 2004.
John Mellencamp and country star Travis Tritt collaborated on a duet, "What you say," from Tritt's CD My Honky Tonk History in 2004.
Mellencamp is a Democrat.
John Mellencamp and Stephen King collaborated together on a Broadway production.
They are currently looking for a director for that Broadway production that is scheduled to open in late 2007-early 2008.
The second leg of the Words and Music tour included 15 stops throughout the US.
An F-1 tornado struck downtown Indianapolis during the NCAA tournament that John Mellencamp was head-lining. The concert had to be stopped in the middle of it. Several businesses in Indianapolis were damaged by the storm.
John donated $1.5 million for the indoor IU sports facilities.
John's song, R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A was featured in the commericals promoting the NCAA tournament in 2006.
John stole the "Welcome to Bloomingtown" sign for his music video of "Small Town."
John is in The Guiness Book of World Records 2000 for having the most #1 singles on Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks with 8 tracks.
John was offering free tattoos to all of the crew after the video for "Small Town" was filmed.
John spent a night in jail for breaking and entering in 1959. He was eight years old.
John has had 10 top 10 singles, 29 top 40 singles, 7 top 10 albums, and 11 top 40 albums on the Billboard charts.
John has been on the cover of over 59 magazines.
John likes to pull people from the audience on stage with him.
John's daughter, Teddy, was a junior agent who represented Johnny Depp.
John has had 18 Grammy nominations.
John has had 12 of his albums reach multi-platinum status.
Indiana Univeristy dedicated their new field hockey pavilion to John on April 12, 1996. The pavilion is known as the John Mellencamp Pavilion.
John's fan club is called Club Cherry Bomb. It cost $30 a year to be a member.
The video for "Our Country" was shot in three separate locations in Savannah, GA: River Walk, Tybee Island, and the Train Museum.
Albert Watson directed John's most recent video, "Our Country".
John's first manager was Tony DeFries who also managed David Bowie at the time.
When John was 17 he eloped with his then girlfriend, Pricilla Esterline, who was pregnant with his child.
John formed his first band at age 14. The band was called "Crepe Soul."
Donovan (who is widely known for his smash hit, "Mellow Yellow") opened up for John Mellencamp for the first part of the Words & Music tour in 2005.
The country band, Little Big Town opened up for John Mellencamp on the second part of the Words and Music tour in 2005 and 2006.
John played his new song "Our Country" for the first time nationally at the start of Game 2 of the World Series in 2006 when the St. Louis Cardinals played the Detriot Tigers.
John has an artbook that is titled "Mellencamp Paintings and Reflections". This features 75 of John's paintings and photos. This book was published by HarperCollins and was released on October 26, 1998.
The Wallflowers opened for John in most of his shows during his tour for the album Cuttin' Heads in 2001.
John's album Peaceful World has been used in an advertising campaign for The Indy Racing League since the summer of the year 2001.
Several guest performers appear on John's album Cuttin' Heads. Chuck D of Public Enemy appears in the song "Cuttin' Heads", India.Arie appears in the song "Peaceful World", and Trisha Yearwood appears in the song "Deep Blue Heart".
John did a private performance for Milburn Elementary School in Baldwin, NJ. His visit to the school was the grand prize of Nickelodeon's "Speak Up, Rock Out" Sweepstakes.
John performed "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A." and "Walk Tall" at the Thanksgiving Day Halftime Show during the Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts game at Ford Field on November 25, 2004 on CBS.
In Vanity Fair magazine in the November 2004 music issue, John wrote an article about the most poignant protest songs in the history of music. John also hosted VH1's VH1 Countdown of the Top 25 Protest Songs which was originally air in the month of October, 2004.
John appeared in an interview in the November 3, 2004 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Eminem was on the cover of the issue.
On March 19, 2005 John performed at the 2005 Leukemia Ball in Washington DC.
John was at the top of the Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles chart for 8 weeks with his hit single "Wild Night."
John was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance for males in February of 2002.
John's hit single, "Jack and Diane", was #59 in VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's in October of 2006.
John and his current wife, Elaine, wrote an open letter about their reactions of the war in Iraq and the presidency of George W. Bush.
John wrote the song "Jackie Brown" to attack a U.S. policy on poverty. The song depicted Jackie Brown as part of a poor family in society and Jackie Brown commited suicide. Some of the lyrics are:
Who gives a damn about Jackie Brown
Just another lazy man who couldn't take what was his
One hell of a life, Jackie Brown
John's music has been on the soundtracks of the following movies:
Welcome to Mooseport (2004)
Pushing Tin (1999)
The Waterboy (1998)
My Fellow Americans (1996)
Renaissance Man (1994)
Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
Private Lessons (1981)
John named one of his son's Hud after Paul Newman's role of Hud in the 1963 film Hud.
John has a hobby as an oil painter.
John was a participant in the concert tour "Vote for Change" in the fall season of 2004. The "Vote for Change" tour was trying to get people to not vote for George W. Bush in the presidential election in 2004.
John's hit single "Jack and Diane" got him an American Music Award and a Grammy in the year 1982.
John has had a total of three wives. The first was Priscilla Esterline. They married in the year of 1969 and they divorced in the year of 1981. Priscilla and John had one child together. John's second wife was Vicky Granucci. They were married in the month of May in 1981 and divorced in 1989. Vicky and John had two children together. John's third wife is Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp. They were married on September 6, 1992 and are presently still married. They have had two children together.
In John's 2004 anti-war song, "Walk Tall", a line of lyrics was edited from the radio version. The line was:
Be careful of those that kill in Jesus's name
He don't believe in killin' at all
John's 1989 song "Country Gentleman" was an attack on the former president, Ronald Reagan, and was also an attack on the then current president, George H.W. Bush. The chorus' lyrics are:
He ain't-a gonna help no women
He ain't-a gonna help no children
He ain't-a gonna help no poor man
He just gonna help his good friends
In another verse he includes:
He picked our bones and threw 'em in his stew
Thank God he went back to California.
John's 1987 song "Down And Out In Paradise" is a song concerning the problems of the common American. Every verse begins with the words "Dear Mr. President". The last verse is from the point of view of a fourth-grader who asks "When the bombs fall down will it hurt everyone in my family?".
John was a target of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) for using the cuss word "Sh*t" in his song "Play Guitar" in 1983.
In 1991 John's song "Get a Leg Up" was banned from many radio stations for the use of the word "Goddamn" and also the song had very graphical depictions of sexual activity.
John's 1991 song "Love and Happiness" is said to be an attack on a lot of U.S. policies. The song includes the lyrics "If you sell arms or you run dope, you've got respect and you've got hope."
John was asked to be on MTV Unplugged in 1992, but MTV would not let him play with his guitar that had the words "F*** Facism" carved into it. So he got around this censorship by putting a sticker over the letter "c" in the four-letter cuss word. The sticker read "Censorship Is Un-American" and he was allowed to perform.
John's anti-war song in 2003 was banned by a lot of radio stations because he questioned the legitimacy of the 2000 Election, George W. Bush's policies, and the reasons for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The radio stations also disliked that he used the word "Goddamn" in the song.
Mellencamp went to Seymour High School.
Mellencamp worked with song producer, George Green, throughout the 80s and 90s. George helped John become the American legend he is today.
John's son, Speck, was named after his grandfather, Speck.
He dyed his hair green in 1975 for a David Bowie concert. He was inspired by Bowie in his earlier years and wanted to pay tribute.
He dedicated his album, Scarecrow, to his grandfather.
Mellencamp often goes to the county fairs in Seymour and Bloomington.
John moved to New York at the age of 24 to try to make it big in music.
John had his eldest daughter, Michelle, with his first wife, Pricilla Esterline.
John gave the commencement speech and received an honorary degree from Indiana University in May of 2000.
In 1988 John became a grandfather at 37 when his 18 year old daughter, Michelle, had a baby.
The video for "Peaceful World" was shot in Savannah, GA.
He attended Vincennes University for Broadcasting.
He used to walk around the campus of Vincennes University shirtless and barefoot playing his guitar.
Due to his spina bifida, he was exempt from the draft for the Vietnam war.
Mellencamp has one of his paintings proudly displayed in the Governor's mansion in Indiana.
Mellencamp met his wife Elaine Irwin on the set of his video for "Get A Leg Up."
John has five children: Michelle (born 1970), daughter Teddy Jo (born 1981), daughter Justice (born 1985), and sons Hud (born 1994) and Speck (1995) with his current wife.
In 1985, he helped organize the first Farm Aid benefit concert, and has performed at every one since. He is a co-founder of Farm Aid.
As of 2006, Mellencamp lives in Bloomington, IN.
As of May 4, 2006 Mellencamp has sold 25.7 million albums in the United States.
Mellencamp shot a video for "Our Country" in Savannah, Ga. on September 17 and 18 of 2006.
Mellencamp was a frequent contributor to the campaigns of fellow Seymour native Congressman Baron P. Hill and former Vice Presidental candidate John Edwards.
John Mellencamp had a mild heart attack, in 1994, in the middle of a tour.
1991's Whenever We Wanted was the first album whose cover was billed to just John Mellencamp.
John's new album Freedom's Road is expected to be released on January 23, 2007.
The tracks of the album will be:
2. Ghost Towns Along The Highway
3. The Americans
5. Freedom's Road
6. Jim Crow
7. Our Country
8. Rural Route
9. My Aeroplane
10. Heaven Is A Lonely Place
John's 1994 album Dance Naked was not sold in Wal-Mart stores because the picture on the cover was considered to be too offensive.
John appeared in four films. He played the part of Bud Parks in the 1992 film Falling From Grace. He also directed the movie.
John was the voice for the adult Mike McCormick in the 2001 film Madison.
John was Joe McCormack in the 2001 film After Image.
John played the part of Wayne in the 2002 film Lone Star State of Mind.
John's single "Peaceful World" was rejected at first in Columbia for the lyrics "Racism lives in the U.S. today."
John's 1996 album Mr. Happy Go Lucky had an alternative cover at a lot of stores because of the controversy he stirred up with Christian groups. Some Christian groups found his original cover to be offensive.
John was threatened by the Ku Klux Klan after having a bi-racial couple in his music video to "Cherry Bomb."
John was born with spina bifida. The defect was corrected when he was three weeks old with neurosurgery.
John Mellencamp has released 19 records in the United States, including 2 greatest hits records.
ABC News dubbed John Mellencamp "Mr. Middle America."
Former Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle, walked out on John Mellencamp's concert in Lake Tahoe on July 15, 2006 because John Mellencamp said "This next one is for all the poor people who've been ignored by the current administration" right before he introduced the song, "Our Country" to the audience for the first time.
Until March 2006, John Mellencamp had several of his artwork featured in the IUPUI art gallery in Indianapolis, Indiana.
There is a John Mellencamp Memorabilia store in Edinburgh, Indiana that features all sorts of items from his childhood until current.
John Mellencamp attended Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana.
John Mellencamp: I'm a neat freak. I'm constantly rearranging the pantry and cleaning up around the house. And I play with our boys so Elaine can have time to read.
John Mellencamp: Did I have fun in the music business? Are you kidding me? More fun than most guys deserve to have in their life. I have laughed so hard at myself that I couldn't get up off the floor.
John Mellencamp: I'll tell you, when I wrote "Peaceful World," one of the problems I had with the record company was that they didn't understand why I was even writing a song about racism in America today. I found that reaction to be awe-inspiring. That they thought there was no problem in America. What? You guys live in New York City and you don't see any race problems? Once I heard that I thought, 'Oh shit. They don't like the record.'
John Mellencamp: My mother campaigned for Bobby Kennedy. I was surrounded by Democrats. And I don't understand, in this day and age -- most people who are Republicans, they're not rich enough to be Republicans! I don't get it. My best friend is a Republican. He and I vowed a couple months ago never to talk about politics again. He's just a normal guy with a normal job and I've known him since I was 5 years old. But I just said to him, "Man, you don't have enough money to be a Republican. How can you afford this?
John Mellencamp: I'm always amazed at what people think about me, just a dumb singer in a rock band, let alone some important topic. People are really involved, and rightfully so, in their own lives. You can't say anything negative about people not being informed, because they don't have time to be informed. It's a hard world to get a break in.
John Mellencamp: When the song first came out I was in the car one day and we were driving to the airport and I had my kids with me and a radio station was playing "To Washington" and having callers call in. Some guy comes on and says, "I don't know who I hate the most, John Mellencamp or Osama bin Laden." My kids heard that and my 9-year-old said, "Dad, are they talking about you? Why are people mad at you?" I just thought that was really jerky and wrong. Why would you play a song on the radio and tell people to call up and say what they think about it. What is this? Is this like a football game? Tit-for-tat? I don't like this sporting-event mentality to people's lives, which is basically what it became.
John Mellencamp: I had a deal when I was a kid not because I could write songs or sing. It was the way I looked.
John Mellencamp: I think I came to the realization I didn't want to do that ever again in Atlanta last summer. It was like 104 degrees at 9 o'clock at night, and I was thinking, 'I can't do my best work in conditions like these'. Here's a guy with heart disease trying to slough his way through air so thick you could cut it with a knife. I mean, the instruments were shorting out because the guys were dripping sweat all over them. I like performing. But let's just say I'm going to be looking for more controlled environments in the future.
John Mellencamp: I've been messing with my hair the last couple of years, and I decided, OK, I'm not messing with my hair anymore. I can't sit down every three weeks and have somebody put shoe polish on my head. I'm not that vain. I'm 54 years old. There's gray in there. I can't pretend to be something I'm not ... I don't want to get into psychobabble here, but what does that say about me liking myself at this stage of my life? I'm not that kind of wild, Johnny Cougar guy with a black leather jacket, pierced ears and a motorcycle. It had gotten to the point where Graydon Carter, who runs Vanity Fair, and Elaine, had this running joke where they'd tip their head to me, you know, like somebody tips their cap? It's bad when your wife starts making fun of you.
John Mellencamp: I still don't think it's right to use your songs to sell products, but I also don't think we should be over in Iraq, and nobody seems to care about that, either, but first I did the Chevy commercial. Now I've done this. 'R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.' is like 25 years old, anyway. So the kind of play it's getting, it can't hurt.
John Mellencamp: All of my career I've had to choose whether I wanted to be cool or whether I wanted to be honest. Both ways have led to trouble.
John Mellencamp: For a guy who didn't like to make videos, I sure made a lot of them, didn't I?
John Mellencamp: I'll tell you one thing, the young, cavalier Johnny Cougar sure didn't give a (expletive) about the old John Mellencamp. He was singing everything up in these high keys, playing everything too fast, too loud. He wasn't thinking about me, that's for damn sure.
John Mellencamp: It's that we should be able to say what is on our minds and have an intelligent exchange of opinion -- whether you're left, right, middle or whatever -- without suffering repercussions. For some reason, in this country right now, that's not happening. If you don't believe one way, you are 'anti-American,' you're 'not supporting the troops.' I just think it's wrong.
John Mellencamp: I'm 54 years old and feel every minute of it, but I'm still smokin', and my attention span's still real short, so I guess not much has changed.
(A critic, On John Mellencamp) Mikal Gilmore ...a man coming to grips with himself and his history, his nation and his legacy.
John: It's important that I remember people have paid money to see me play. This isn't about me. It's about coming to a compromise where I'm able to create something enjoyable for me, for the band, and for the audience.
John: (in 1989) I need to get out of this business for a while. I've been beating my head against the wall since I was 23. I've got no family, no self-respect. I've put everything into the rock 'n' roll business. And I don't think they're going to give me a crown for it in heaven, either.
John: It used to be about the party, the girls, the crowds. Now it's about doing a good show and acting like responsible people instead of redneck hillbillies in motorcycle jackets.
John: I'm very fortunate I have a wide selection of friends, people I know from being in the business. But I have an opportunity to hear other peoples' opinions. My view of the world is not my job in Bloomington and then my family and then the restaurant I eat at. I have a very large view of the world.
(In an interview with Eyewitness News)
John: Well, you know the Rock and Roll Hall of fame is quite an honor to even be nominated for it. I don't really anticipate getting in this year. If I get in before Bob Seger, that's going to be weird for me, because you know, I was a freshman in high school when Seger had a hit called Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, which, ya know, was probably one of the reasons I wanted to be a recording artist, because that was a great song. I was a freshman in high school and this guy was making records.
John Mellencamp: I still haven't made the album that I think is the quintessential Mellencamp record.
(On his song "To Washington")
John: Initially I was surprised. My album wasn't going to come out for a few months and I had the song recorded so I put it up on my Web site and asked for people's comments. And there were some mean damn comments coming back. It's changed. Now they're almost totally in favor of the song. Because people are starting to realize, 'Now wait a minute, what really happened in Iraq?' I see the climate changing tremendously. But when people hear those drums of war pounding, and Fox News is showing it on television, people got pretty riled up. People were afraid, and when people are afraid they make emotional decisions.
(During and interview with NFL)
John: My first manager invented 'Cougar' and I had no say in that decision. He told me 'Nobody is going to buy a record by anyone named John Mellencamp.' When I could, I changed it back.
John: Why would you play a song on the radio and tell people to call up and say what they think about it. What is this? Is this like a football game? Tit-for-tat? I don't like this sporting-event mentality to people's lives, which is basically what it became.
(Interview in the article "Ain't that America?" on his song "To Washington".)
John: When the song first came out I was in the car one day and we were driving to the airport and I had my kids with me and a radio station was playing "To Washington" and having callers call in. Some guy comes on and says, 'I don't know who I hate the most, John Mellencamp or Osama bin Laden.' My kids heard that and my 9-year-old said, 'Dad, are they talking about you? Why are people mad at you?'.
(On his struggle to get his music to be heard on FM radio or VH1 in the past few years.)
John: I was standing outside a restaurant the other night, and a guy, about 37, says, 'Man, are you John Mellencamp?' I said 'yeah.' He said, 'I love your songs,' and then he said, 'Did you stop making records?'.
John: You know, it's cigarettes that killed Garcia. Everyone thinks it's heroin, but it wasn't. It was cigarettes.
John: I used to think that eating healthy was ordering a fish sandwich at McDonalds.