John Mellencamp goes off on the iPod, compares the Internet to the Atom Bomb

Fri, Aug 20, 2010


Ain’t that America.

Straight from the heartland, John Mellencamp, or is it Cougar?, recently lambasted the current state of digital music, and even went so far as to compare the Internet to the Atom Bomb.

Speaking at a public seminar at the Grammy Museum, The Globe and Mail relays how Mellencamp conceded that while the Internet is great for personal communication, it’s having an adverse effect on the state of the music industry.

“I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb,” Mellencamp explained. “It’s destroyed the music business. It’s going to destroy the movie business.”

Well, we’d be more apt to agree with Mellencamp if he was crusading against the quality of music today, but how can you not argue that breaking down the draconian walls of the recording industry isn’t a good thing? Artists today have a lot more control over their careers, and they’re no longer subject to the tastes and whims of cranky old white men in suits. How is that a bad thing? Independent artists who, in the past, would have been ignored can now have their music heard by the masses. The level of music accessibility these days is nothing short of astounding.

Mellencamp went on to criticize the popularity of MP3 players and computers, noting that the convenience of music anywhere comes at the expense of sound quality. Mellencamp recalled listening to a Beatles song on an iPod and observing that ““you could barely even recognize it as the same song. You could tell it was those guys singing, but the warmth and quality of what the artist intended for us to hear was so vastly different.”

Hmm, maybe he just needs some better headphones?

In any event, Mellencamp believes that rock-n-roll, as we know it today, will soon go the way of the Dodo, much like how Big Band music faded into obscurity back in the day.

At any rate, most rock ‘n’ roll – including his own contributions – will eventually be forgotten, he said, likening its demise to that of big-band music, which was all the rage during the 1930s and ’40s.

Rock ‘n’ roll – as important as we think it is, and as big as it was, and as much money as people made on it, and as proud as I am to say that I was part of it – at the end of the day, they’re gonna say: ‘Yeah, there was this band called the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, and this guy named Bob Dylan…’ “And the rest of us? We’re just gonna be footnotes. And I think that that’s OK. I’m happy to have spent my life doing what I wanted to do, playing music, make something out of life, but forgetting about the idea of legacy.

Now if only there were some sort of portable music device where you could store thousands of songs from important artists of yesteryear to ensure that they don’t fade into musical oblivion. If only…



13 Comments For This Post

  1. williamh Says:

    Cougar: Stick to writing little ditties. You’re no philosopher. You are right about being nothing but a footnote though. Rock’n’Roll, as important as you think it is, isn’t that important.

  2. Kurt Says:

    He’s just bitter.

  3. steve Says:

    these old musicians that complain about the iPod/iTunes, the internet or any mp3 player ruining music are just trying to get noticed again. John how can you compare the internet to the atom bomb? Have you forgotten that the atom bomb killed hundreds of thousands of people? Are you kidding me? The only saving grace for those victims was that they did not live to hear your music. You are a self serving insensitive ignorant bore who is crying to the grammy museum for sympathy? They are the record industry the held down the independent artists for decades just like the corporations holds down the farmers that you championed for at farm aid concerts. You are not rock and roll, you are not a rebel, you do not make music for others and anyone to enjoy you are a greedy music industry sycophant making bad music for all the wrong reasons…real music is not about money or record sales its about passion and ideals and letting everyone share and listen to what the musician has written. John Cougar Mellencamp please go away and do not write anymore music unless its a corporate anthem that no one will hear.

  4. Fjord Prefect Says:

    Yeah, mp3 quality is horrible. If only we could go back to the days of 8-tracks, low-bias compact cassettes and scratchy record needles. That was the best. He sounds like a grumpy old man. Oh wait…

  5. Yacko Says:

    Just put grandpa in a rocker on the porch and leave him alone and everything will be OK.

  6. Yacko Says:

    “listening to a Beatles song on an iPod and observing that ““you could barely even recognize it as the same song”

    Probably listened to a Cirque De Soleil soundtrack version mashup and didn’t realize it.

  7. AndrewK Says:

    Who cares? Listen to independent music and move on. Do geeks ever walk the walk on this subject? Or do you just buy a Godspeed album and call it a day?

  8. Steven Says:

    Do these people not know or realise that you can listen to lossless music on most ipods?

  9. Matt Says:

    I live about 10 minutes from where John Melloncamp was born… His family walks the same streets as me – and people here “in the heartland” who knew him for years can’t stand him. He’s been known as an a**hole and an ignorant, bitter man for a long time. This is just a desperate attempt to get some more publicity for his dead career.

  10. Brad Says:

    My massive Klipsch speakers streaming lossless over an Airport Express say high.

    I’ll tell you what would really ruin music, if I could only listen to the radio to find new music. And I’m the kinda guy who won’t buy a CD unless most of it is good.

  11. Davey Mac Says:

    I stopped by his records when in the late 80’s a lot of his songs began to have the theme that everything is horrible. I think part of the reason those older musics died was the lack of availability. Now, you can listen to any era in an instant, take as an example.

  12. keiths29 Says:

    If John Mellencamp leaves the digital music will anyone notice? Is anyone clamoring for a new Mellencamp album? Now anyone can get their music to the masses. Sorry John, the iPod didn’t kill your career, you did.

  13. Davey Mac Says:

    I remember, when as a kid, I would play a cassette and copy it by putting another cassette recorder next it, using the condenser microphone.

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