A mellowed Mellencamp
Rocker, now 65, favors the familiar, even on his latest tour
At 65, John Mellencamp no longer chases drama.
“I have found that life is a big enough adventure,” he says, calling from his 86-acre property in Bloomington, Ind. “Young kids go to the movies to be scared. If we were together, I’d say to you, ‘Have you seen this mole on my arm?’ That’s scary enough. I don’t need to see ‘Suicide Squad.’ ”
Age has a way of taming even the most rebellious spirits, and while Mellencamp remains a crusty character full of blunt proclamations and salty language, these days the self-professed homebody takes increasing comfort in the familiar. That’s why he asked his friend, Carlene Carter, to join him on his new album, “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies.” Mellencamp and Carter, along with Emmylou Harris, will perform June 25 at Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton.
While “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies” is not an official duets album, Carter earns her co-billing — the album is credited as “John Mellencamp featuring Carlene Carter” — by penning two of the songs and singing and playing on 10 of the 13 tracks. It is Mellencamp’s second set for Republic Records, a label better known for promoting such pop stars as the Weeknd and Ariana Grande than veteran rockers.
Yet growing up, Republic chief executive and chairman Monte Lipman so adored Mellencamp’s music and anti-authoritarian attitude that he signed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee to a lifetime recording contract in 2014. This, despite knowing that Mellencamp could be a tough customer.
“Very first time I met John, he said to me, ‘Apparently, you heard I threw a chair at a particular record executive, but I’m here to
John Mellencamp will perform Sunday at Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton, part of his first headlining tour in years.