If the Eighties made anyone a star, it was John Mellencamp. In direct contrast to the Pop Metal of the day thirty years ago from Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and a horde of hair bands, John Mellencamp had progressed from writing ” a little ditty ’bout Jack and Diane…” into deeper waters of social issues, but when the self-described “just a song and dance man” waded into the deep end, he found the cross currents of public scrutiny to be swift, with riptides unseen until you are swept up in them. It was about that time that John Mellencamp’s new-found stardom, wealth, and lack of privacy started to raise issues with his working class values, in his mind and, in at least some cases, his personal relationships. The 1989 release Big Daddy exposed a sense of hopelessness that had crept into his lyrics even as Mellencamp’s career was at a peak.
His marriage was on the rocks, he had just turned the Big Four Oh, and his daughter made him a grandfather all about this same time, reflected in the songs “Pop Singer”,”Martha Say”,”The Real Life”, the stinging Reagan indictment “Country Gentleman“, and the bleak “Jackie Brown“. In this revealing interview, John Mellencamp takes the American electorate out to the woodshed for sleepwalking through the democratic process even while complaining about the dysfunctional results. –Redbeard