Mellencamp Rips Lefsetz New Asshole

 

 

Even bringin’ the wifey into the fight… meow!

By Fred
Mills

 

Music industry
commentator/watchdog/gadfly/provocateur Bob Lefsetz recently had some choice
words to say about John Mellencamp. In one of his recent newsletters (“Sales-Week Ending 8/3/08”) Lefsetz tallied up Mr. Cougar’s sales tally to
date for Life Death Love and Freedom,
then proceeded to weigh in with the verbiage, including a none-too-veiled swipe
at Mellencamp’s allowing his 2007 song “Our Country” to be licensed by Chevy —
Randy Newman also took a potshot at the songwriter for the same offense in “A
Piece of The Pie,” from Newman’s just-released Harps and Angels album.

 

Here’s what Lefsetz had to say:

 

Why does he
look twelve on the cover?

 

Act your age.
Unless you think you’re really gonna get Top Forty airplay and the little kids
will understand. You want to be PART of your audience, not miles away.
Mellencamp should be showing every line in his face, his history, just like his
audience.

 

If your
career is based on credibility, and Mellencamp’s was, don’t do a commercial. It
undercuts your cred.

 

The star here
is T-Bone Burnett. He should have his own label.

 

 

 

***

 

This, you might imagine, didn’t sit all that well with J.M.,
who is no stranger to sparring with critics. Within 24 hours he fired back
thusly:

 

 

I
thought that you were a fan of music.  Seems that a man of your age would have learned not to judge a book by
the cover. Listen to the music, it shows every line and every scar.

 

As
far as credibility goes, 23 albums, millions sold, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,
etc. etc. etc…..35 years in the business.  and for commercials, you mean no “cred” like  Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin,
& U2?

 

You
choose to sit behind your computer and have the illusion that you have an
answer….leave your house sometime and get in the real world, the world of
struggle, survival and longevity. Nothing is as it seems.

 

You
are either for music or against it. So much negativity, how is that helping?

 

In
the words of the great rock journalist, Timothy White “in the
accomplishments of anyone there is real promise for everyone.”

 

PS
The one thing you have gotten right is that T Bone Burnett is a wonderful
producer and gentleman.

 

 

 

***

 

Apparently the Lefsetz Letter got passed around the
Mellencamp compound, however, because next thing we knew his wife, Elaine, has
also gotten ticked off enough to send in a missive to Lefsetz:

 

 

 

You
must think that you are a photo critic now too…

 

I
guess that you have become the proverbial cranky old man, hurling insults at
the people who are out trying to live while you just sit and criticize.

 

Obviously
you don’t have a wife, because if you did, she would have pointed out that when
you have absolutely nothing nice to say, EVER, people stop listening.

 

As
you seem overly eager to judge, with no regard to actual facts, I will also
address your dig at John’s licensing his song for a commercial. John had had
numerous opportunities for decades, and has been offered fortunes, to sell one
of his songs. So after 35 years of being his songwriter, who are you to judge
what he feels is appropriate for his own music or words? Bottom line, there is
no longer a correlation to songs used in commercials and the credibility of the
artist. Johnny Cash, no cred? Elvis Costello, no cred? Sting, no cred? Wake up
to a new day, blame record company execs if you must, for putting the music
industry where it is, but lambasting artists for taking matters into their own
hands is just plain short sighted. My husband, I’m sure, pines for the old days
sometime himself, but they are gone.  We
are all looking for a new way. When you write your own song then you can decide
its fate.

 

Elaine
Mellencamp

 

PS
I took that photo of John that you mentioned, and he does look rather handsome
doesn’t he? So nice of you to mention it.

 

 

 

***

 

Guarantee: All
dialogue reprinted verbatim. Why? Because we care, gentle BLURT readers, we care….

 

 

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