John Mellencamp Poster

Quotes (8)

  • I used to think that eating healthy was ordering a fish sandwich at McDonalds.
  • What [Bruce Springsteen] does is a marathon. What we do is a sprint.
  • You think I'm an asshole now, you should have seen me when I was drunk.
  • [on "Between a Laugh and a Tear"] There's a great line in this song: "I know there's a balance/I see it when I swing past." I suffered severely from panic disorders and anxiety around this time. Still do. I'm also very excitable and get angry very quickly. This was the peak of my success, but I didn't enjoy any of it. I blame it on the fact that I was born with spina bifida. I had one of the first successful operations for it in the world. It meant I had a hole in my spine and all my nerve endings were on the outside of my body. They were all exposed to air, so it's no wonder I go up and down so quickly.
  • [on :Crumblin' Down"] Radio was my friend after "Jack & Diane" and "Hurts So Good." I was coming off this huge fucking record, but it wasn't a good one. Very uneven. My task with "Uh-Huh" was to make a more even record and get away from juvenile topics like "Hurts So Good." But I also knew if I wanted to continue, I had to have more hits. "Crumblin' Down" is a very political song that I wrote with my childhood friend George Green. [Ronald Reagan] was president--he was deregulating everything and the walls were crumbling down on the poor. The song was the last one recorded and the first single. It was a hit immediately. I felt like I was pulling the wool over everyone's eyes.
  • [on "Jack & Diane"] It was 1980, and I was down in Miami again, making a record. We had spent $300,000, and I had three songs done. The record company was not happy. Finally the president of the company came down and was like, "You're spending money like crazy!" He went nuts. The three songs were "Jack & Diane," "Hurts So Good" and "Hand to Hold On To." He hated them. Hated them! He said, "We expect you to become the next Neil Diamond. What is this shit?" "Jack & Diane" was originally about race. I was playing nightclubs and I was seeing new American couples, mixed-race couples. I thought it was cool. The song was my effort to make a song about that, but of course the record-company guy didn't like it. He said, "Maybe if you put some horns on this song and really build the chorus up, then maybe you have a shot. But take the race thing out." I took his advice and made Jack a football star. I think people, particularly in the Midwest, really identified with these characters. I can't tell you how many people have come up to me and said, "I'm Jack and I'm Diane. You wrote about my life." To me, that's a successful song.
  • What is there to be afraid of? The worst thing that can happen is you fail. So what? I failed at a lot of things. My first record was horrible.
  • [Reporter (as Mellencamp reaches for a smoke): You have a voice to protect, don't you? Or is it just getting better and better?] Have you ever, have you ever heard my voice honey? It's fantastic. Are you kidding me? I sound like a black guy singing now! I wanted to sound like Louis Armstrong. But I didn't. I sounded like a white guy, and now I got it. These [cigarettes] are my babies, c'mon. I don't worry much about my smoking or my health. I believe it's the combination of smoking and drinking that leads people to an early death, not smoking alone. It's probably a wacky idea, but it comforts me.