Not That Type of Cougar

John (Cougar) Mellencamp has a new album out next week, called Life Death Love and Freedom (a title in the tradition of the BoDeans’ Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams and the Godfathers’ Birth, School, Work, Death). So the latest addition to the archives is a profile I wrote of him back in 2004, which includes entertaining stories about his grandmother and late-night phone calls from Bob Dylan.

Since the story was published, his musical collaboration with Stephen King has been renamed Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and is scheduled to open in Atlanta in April 2009, with a Broadway run possibly following. And Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.

This article is probably the closest I’ve ever skated to the deadline edge. Rolling Stone has a two-week production cycle; normally, they like to have most copy in house by the end of the first week. But I got this assignment on the Wednesday of the second week, when they suddenly had room for an extra page. I flew to Indianapolis on Thursday morning, ate lunch in the car en route to Bloomington, spent the afternoon with Mellencamp, stayed up all night transcribing the interview and writing the story, emailed the article to my editor around 5 am, and caught a plane back to New York a few hours later. They got the page off to the printers later that Friday, just under the wire.

“The red ass” was a new idiom to some readers; I learned it (and many other things I probably wasn’t supposed to know) at a tender age from Jim Bouton’s classic baseball memoir Ball Four.

posted 9 July 2008 in Archives, Articles and tagged , , , . 4 comments

4 Comments on Not That Type of Cougar

  1. Scraps Says:

    Also, Live, Love, Larf & Loaf by French Frith Kaiser Thompson.

  2. gavin Says:

    Oooh, good.
    Trying to think of others, and coming up only with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.
    (Yours qualifies both with album title and band name!)

  3. Tom Nawrocki Says:

    That must have appeared late in 2004, after I left, because I never would have allowed a story to come in on Friday morning.

  4. gavin Says:

    Heh. Yeah, the cover date was November 2004. I don’t know what they would have done if I had made a hash of it.

    The only other time I came that close to the end of the production cycle was the 2006 cover story on snowboarder Shaun White (the “Flying Tomato”), where we couldn’t get started until he got back to the States from the Olympics. And even that one, I’m pretty sure I handed it in on Thursday.

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