No We Cannot Forget Where it Is He Comes From


If you were one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who successfully avoided watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame broadcast Monday on VH1 Classic, you missed one of the worst song-stretching exercises since Jerry Garcia went on to the Big Insulin Provider in the Sky—John Cougar Mellencamp transforming the three-chord yawner "The Authority Song" into a seven-minute advertisement for editing.

Best part? His third-persony speech at the top telling an audience of musicians and industry types in the annus horriBushus of 2008 that he will not back down from criticisms that "Mellencamp is too left wing, he doesn't support the president, and he's not for the war." (He might have added: is a John Edwards backer who told John McCain to take his leathery hands off his Pink Houses!) Feel the hurt, so good:

The former Johnny Cougar and perennial Farm Aider did not fail to remind us (if with a crap-sounding guitar), that he was indeed born in a small town. Seymour, Indiana, as I wrote in this space three years ago, just so happens to be a veritable cluster of farm-subsidy recipients bearing the last name of Mellencamp. George Mellencamp, for instance, was the 18th largest recipient of 2003-2005 subsidies in Seymour, with more than $142,000. James Mellencamp was 39th, with more than $90,000.

Two classic Brian Doherty hits from the reason vault: The strange politics of millionaire rock stars, and the hippie capitalism of the Grateful Dead.

NEXT: I Wasn't Actually Born That Way, But the Preacher's Boy Was

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  1. You told me that the song is a crap fest. Why do I need to see the video?

    I saw Mellencamp at a Farm Aid years ago. Never been much of a fan, could take him or leave him, but he was a hell of a showman when I saw him. Much more of a glitzy, almost Vegas style act than I expected.

    Didn’t compare with Fogerty’s Creedence heavy set nor with Willie’s reggae set, though.

  2. Mellencamp should have been barred forever from the HoF just for unleashing “Our Country” upon the world. Some actions simply cannot be forgiven.

  3. Its ironic how many of the successful elite capitalists across the spectrum are called “liberal socialists” (like Buffett, Gates, Soros, all of Hollywood) by the $40k Bush voter crowd who will later depend on the Social Security/Medicare program they characterize as “socialist”.

    Mellencamp knows that conservatives breaking down civil liberties are not trustworthy on ANY issue – thus his understandable hatred for the occupant of the White House and his attempt to kill the sorry little entitlement program that the $40k electorate will depend on in retirement.

  4. I’m indifferent to his music, but Mellencamp was quite entertaining on Bill Maher last year.

    PS. I heard some clips of that show on Stern yesterday and god DAMN if Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen aren’t two of the most boring individuals on the planet, if you don’t happen to follow whatever wavelength they’re transmitting on.

  5. shrike, just shriek* “GO TEAM BLUE” 100 times. It’ll be the same as your posts.

    * get it?

  6. It was a bit stretched out, but it wasn’t THAT egregious.

    To tell the truth, I’m kinda glad to see that broadcasting the HoF hasn’t led to the complete neutering of the performers’ sets. In order to get transcendent musical moments, you need to allow the musicians space to try stuff that will sometimes bomb. I would have thought VH1 would have had them doing exact reproductions of the originals by now.

    Authority Song, btw, is a great libertarian song for America circa now. The basic message:

    A) F U authority.

    B) I recognize that I have about zero chance of winning this fight.

    C) F U anyway.

  7. Episiarch –

    I really do like to make partisans uncomfortable – so glad to continue the tradition.

    Incidentally, I have no team and oppose national healthcare, gun control, affirmative action and various other “team Blue” positions. Ron Paul came closest to my political convictions – but what the hell? He is out.

  8. As somebody who did not have cable or satellite during “the plague”, John Cougar Mellencamp should be tortured for the torture he put me through with that “Our Country” song. Every single commercial break during every single sporting event there was MLK and Robert Kennedy hawking Silverados. The same way that McCain feels about his captors I feel about John Cougar Mellencamp. Also being late for the World Series should get him blacklisted. If there is somebody who needs to be branded as an anti semite just so I will never have to see him on television again it would be John Cougar Mellencamp. Maybe a popular internet rumor will come of it and that will be enough.

  9. That’s why God invented the mute button, PC.

  10. some guy,

    Yes, I eventually figured that out but unfortunately the song was burned into my brain. Kind of like Pavlov’s dog, after the first riffs or even a hint of the Mellencamp I wanted to rip out my eyeballs and damage my own eardrums.

    Besides God didn’t invent the mute button and when you take him to task for that his only excuse is that he doesn’t exist.

  11. Brian24 | March 14, 2008, 12:47pm | #

    Authority Song, btw, is a great libertarian song for America circa now. The basic message:

    A) F U authority.

    B) I recognize that I have about zero chance of winning this fight.

    C) F U anyway

    Thats one interpretation.

    It also makes me think of Homer Simpson’s famous fatherly message to Bart:

    “Son, you tried, and you failed. The lesson here? = *Never Try*.”

  12. John Cougar Mellowcrap?

  13. Gilmore,

    I don’t see where you get that interpretation. He says when he fights authority he “come out grinnin’.” Doesn’t sound like a guy ready to stop trying to me.

    Furthermore, the second verse:

    So I call up my preacher
    I say, “Give me strength for Round 5.”
    He said , “You don’t need no strength, you need to grow up son.”
    I said, “Growing up leads to growing old and then to dying
    “And dying to me don’t sound like all that much fun.”

  14. Authority Song, btw, is a great libertarian song for America circa now. The basic message:

    It’s OK, but it’s a remake of a Bobby Fuller song.

    “Breakin’ rocks in the hot sun
    I fought the law, but the law won.”

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