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Mellencamp still running with release of 15th album

Web posted on: Tuesday, December 01, 1998 3:34:05 PM EST

From Correspondent Mark Scheerer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Since 1982, John Mellencamp has been running up an impressive total of hit records. Even a heart attack hasn't stopped the Indiana native, who has just released his 15th full-length album.

"John Mellencamp" features the songs "I'm Not Running Anymore" and "Your Life Is Now."

The 47-year-old troubadour, who had a mild heart attack four years ago, has certainly taken a new outlook on life. Mellencamp says he runs every day to stay in shape and ward off the effects of coronary heart disease.

And he's enjoying this time -- the release of his 15th album, which proves the musician's staying power in a mercurial business.

"Everybody's got a story, don't they?" says Mellencamp. "I could sit around and talk about how tough I had it. But a few years ago in the mid '80s the critics turned around. They love me. They generally write nice things about me now. I have no complaints about that stuff."

Listen to a clip of "Your Time is Now"

Audio clip: 240k MPEG-3
Audio clip: 325k WAV

And this is a musician who got off to a slow start. His first manager misguidedly re-named him Johnny Cougar. The early albums, no longer in his control, have been re-released.

"Oh, they make me laugh," says Mellencamp. "I figure if (my old manager) needs money that bad, let him do what he wants. Actually, I've talked to the guy and I still kinda like him."

Mellencamp came to national prominence with songs like "Jack and Diane" and "Pink Houses." He enjoyed continued success in the early and mid '90s, taking an active role in the Farm Aid concert series. And now he was VH1's artist of the month with the release of his latest effort.

"Everything's as cool as can be," Mellencamp says.

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