In today’s New York Times, John Mellencamp–the man who can turn any photo shoot into a Newport Lights ad–defends his decision to use his “Our Country” song in a Chevrolet ad:
“People say I sold out…No, I got sold out. Sometime during the ’90s record companies made the decision that us guys who had been around for a long time and had sold millions of records and were household names just weren’t as interesting as girls in stretch dresses.”
Ah, yes: The old “blame the bimbos” defense, the last resort for aging rockers who can’t understand why people would rather listen to “Toxic” than to the 22nd retread of “Pink Houses.” No one’s saying the music industry is doing a great job when it comes to treating its elder statesmen and stateswomen: Warner Brothers, for example, was none-too-plussed with Lindsey Buckingham’s Under The Skin, and that was one of the better records of last year. But it’s not major-label mismanagement or corporate-owned radio or sex-crazed consumers that’s keeping Mellencamp off the airwaves: “Our Country” is just a terrible song. The Pussycat Dolls could do it as a duet with Rihanna, and it would still stall at No. 7 at TRL. This is not to suggest that Mellencamp should be put out to pasture (in fact, please don’t, as he’ll wind up writing a bunch of songs about pastures), but we ask that fifty-plus musicians adapt the Neil Young/Tom Petty formula: For every one (1) long-winded complaint about how no one in the record industry knows what to do with your music, you must release two (2) songs that would hold up in a modern-day setlist.
Changes in Mellencamp Country [NY Times]