Friday, December 6, 2013

John Mellencamp working on new album

John Mellencamp is in the early stages of work on his first new album in three years.

“I've got a notebook with 85 new songs that I've written for my next record,” he tells Rolling Stone. T Bone Burnett is going to come out to Indiana sometime in early January and we're gonna go into the studio for however long it takes to make a new album. I haven't done one in five years."

A few months ago, Mellencamp brought his touring band out to Indiana to run through some of the new tracks. "I don't know if any of those songs will make the record," he says. "But we arranged them and recorded them on a small digital recorder. And this month I'm bringing out the core of the band, not the violinist, but the guitar players and bass player, and we're gonna go over the new stuff."

Mellencamp has recorded his last two albums - 2008's “Live, Death, Love and Freedom” and 2010's “No Better Than This” - with Burnett.

"I never want to work with anyone else," Mellencamp says. "At least, I want to work with him as long as he wants to work with me. He's a minimalist. He was able to strip down all my songs. My Nineties records were almost paint-by-numbers. He came in and said to me, 'You don't need this part. You don't need that part. Take out these background vocals…'"

Once the album is done, Mellencamp plans to promote it with an extensive world tour. "I want to do one hundred shows in the United States and Canada," he says. "Then I'll deal with the rest of the world later. I want to play places I haven't played since the 1980s. I want to go to Hays, Kansas and Youngstown, Ohio. In the 1990s I kept playing these same sheds and arenas. It was a drag. I'd walk in and realize I'd been in the dressing room fifty times before."

On December 17, the rocker is releasing a box set, “John Mellencamp 1978 – 2012.”

The 19-CD collection features a total of 223 tracks, and contains bonus tracks on 12 of the singer’s studio albums.

See also:

VIDEO: John Mellencamp performs blues classic
John Mellencamp separates from wife, Elaine, after 18 yrs
John Mellencamp rocks Letterman