John Mellencamp Quotes

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A lot of record company people, even though they're our age, want to be perceived as young hip guys, and they're hurting the business.
— John Mellencamp

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A lot of Woody Guthrie's songs were taken from other songs. He would rework the melody and lyrics, and all of a sudden it was a Woody Guthrie song.

John Mellencamp

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All I'm doing is painting. It's my hobby. And that's that.

John Mellencamp

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As I've matured as a songwriter, I realize that if it's out there, it's mine.

John Mellencamp

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Bob Dylan's first couple of records in the 60's weren't considered cover records, but he only wrote one or two original songs on each album.

John Mellencamp

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Do I think it's OK to fight authority as long as you're only talking about the high school teacher? No.

John Mellencamp

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Everything I see and hear... I will take ideas from anyplace, anywhere, anytime, and life has become a song to me. I'm always looking for a song.

John Mellencamp

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Hanging out is a waste of time. The only time I would hang out was when I was a kid, I would hang out in the streets. But once I started making records, I stopped hanging out.

John Mellencamp

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I couldn't have recorded this record 15 years ago. My voice didn't have the depth to pull these songs off.

John Mellencamp

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I don't have to worry about any pop sensibility. I can write adult songs, and I don't have to worry about choruses and hook lines.

John Mellencamp

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I don't want to be a politician. I don't like politics. It's petty; it fights dirty.

John Mellencamp

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I just think if the song's good, sing it. I don't care who's doing it. I don't care if it's a country act. I don't care if it's a rock act. If the song's good, sing it.

John Mellencamp

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I think it's ridiculous to try to sell records to teenagers, because teenagers don't buy my records. And there ain't that many teenagers out there in the marketplace.

John Mellencamp

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I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is.

John Mellencamp

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I want to sell to people my own age, because that's the way I write songs.

John Mellencamp

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I was one of those guys, you know, playing and singing, and there was no reason for me to write a song, because there were so many beautiful songs out. And Bob Dylan was always the ultimate songwriter, and nobody could ever write a song as good as him, and nobody ever has written a song as good as him.

John Mellencamp

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I went to New York in 1974, to either try to get a record deal, get into the New York Art Student League, or be a dancer. So that was my plan. Some plan. And I had no money.

John Mellencamp

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I would never say John Kerry would be a great president. I will say that George Bush has divided us; he has filled this country with hatred.

John Mellencamp

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I'm the guy who wrote The Authority Song. Did they think I was kidding? Did they think it was only a song to entertain?

John Mellencamp

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I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.

John Mellencamp

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I'm wide open and will entertain anything anybody has to say, but if it's MTV and radio, well, they're great things, but can't be the only thing. I don't know that it would work even for the Beatles.

John Mellencamp

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I'm your average Joe guy. I don't really care for politicians.

John Mellencamp

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I've just been fortunate to havehad a lot of hit records, though Human Wheels doesn't qualify as a hit record-but it's really the best single I've ever had.

John Mellencamp

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If fans are going to turn on me because of this, they weren't my fans anyway. I couldn't betray a whole 25 years of record making and not do this. I had to.

John Mellencamp

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If I'm painting, I paint every day. I'll be up in the studio from 8:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night.

John Mellencamp

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If we have any hope for survival of the music that we all love, compassion must replace name-calling, fairness must replace greed, and we need to come together as a musical community and try to understand each other's problems.

John Mellencamp

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If you hide information from people, don't want people to see the Ten Commandments or don't want people to hear about Darwin, aren't we hiding things that we know from our future generations? I just think that that's incorrect.

John Mellencamp

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In so many musicals today, the story is moved forward by a song. I don't think we're gonna try to do that.

John Mellencamp

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It sounds funny, but I always try to keep an open mind about what I'm writing about. Sometimes I squeak my opinions in there, but generally I don't. I try to be objective about things that I'm writing about.

John Mellencamp

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It's my responsibility as a singer-songwriter to report the news.

John Mellencamp

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My grandmother made sure that I went to church every Sunday. And she'd come over and pick us boys up, and we would go to the Nazarene church. And back then, that was about as close to heaven as I ever got, because just the time to be able to spend with her, and she was very, very religious.

John Mellencamp

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My thought was I should try to stick with names that people may recognize like Robert Johnson, Son House, and Hoagy Carmichael, so if somebody cared to research, they would find a wealth of material.

John Mellencamp

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Natalie from the Dixie Chicks could have said what she said before 9-11 and no one would have cared.

John Mellencamp

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Oh, I think country has changed tremendously. I think country has totally changed. Country music when I was a kid was Hank Williams. If you put Hank and Elvis together, there wasn't that musical difference. But as the Beatles showed up and the English invasion, I think country music got pretty far away from rock n' roll.

John Mellencamp

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People have the right to say what they want to.

John Mellencamp

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People in Indiana have known me for 25 years. They've known George Bush four.

John Mellencamp

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Sound quality was supposed to be one of the big selling points for CDs but, as we know, it wasn't very good at all. It was just another con, a get-rich-quick scheme, a monumental hoax perpetrated on the music consuming public.

John Mellencamp

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Take 'Jack and Diane.' I was so disgusted with people thinking the line 'Hold on to sixteen as long as you can' meant to stay a teenager forever. What I meant was keep doing whatever makes you feel alive.

John Mellencamp

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The CD, it should be noted, was born out of greed. It was devised to prop up record sales on the expectation of people replenishing their record collections with CDs of albums they had already purchased.

John Mellencamp

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This is about black people selling out other black people.

John Mellencamp

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This is not a rock opera. This is not Tommy. I can write songs that emote, and that's it.

John Mellencamp

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Unemployment is sky-rocketing; deflation is in our future for the first time since the Great Depression. I don't care whose fault it is, it's the truth.

John Mellencamp

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Wait a minute, guys, I have always been on your side. I have always spoken for you, always tried to put on a good face for the state of Indiana. All of a sudden, some of you people think I'm a bad guy?

John Mellencamp

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We could walk 3 minutes and be on the beach. I think the music kind of suffered because of it. It kind of smelled like Jimmy Buffett, which is a bad thing.

John Mellencamp

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We had an exercise in speech class in school, impromptu speaking, that I was always real good at.

John Mellencamp

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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.

John Mellencamp

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What's the difference? One guy's the same as the other.

John Mellencamp

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When people are afraid, they make emotional decisions.

John Mellencamp

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When politicians use fear, they are playing into the enemy's hand.

John Mellencamp

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When you live in hysteria, people start thinking emotionally.

John Mellencamp

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A lot of record company people, even though they're our age, want to be perceived as young hip guys, and they're hurting the business.

John Mellencamp