When John Mellencamp gets down to recording a follow-up to his 2010 studio effort, No Better Than This , he's going to have an awful lot of material from which to choose. In a new Rolling Stone interview, the heartland rocker reveals, "I've got a notebook with 85 new songs that I've written for my next record."
The 62-year-old singer/songwriter reports that he'll once again be collaborating with T Bone Burnett , who produced No Better Than This and his previous album, 2008's Live, Death, Love and Freedom .
"Burnett is going to come out to Indiana sometime in early January and we're gonna go into the studio for however long it takes to make a new album," explains Mellencamp, who says there's no other producer he ever wants to work with.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer points out that he likes the fact that Burnett "is a minimalist" in the studio.
"He was able to strip down all my songs," says Mellencamp. "My '90s records were almost paint-by-numbers. He came in and said to me, 'You don't need this part. You don't need that part.'"
John also reveals that, in addition to the dozens of new tunes he's composed, he keeps adding fresh ones to the list.
"The other night I woke at 4:30 a.m. and I had to get out of bed to write this song," he explains. "I didn't wanna do it. I was like, 'No! Not f**king' now! I wanna sleep!' But I had to get up and write this song. It came out all at once."
Once he finishes the new record, Mellencamp is planning to hit the road for a major tour that will kick off in North America.
"I want to do one hundred shows in the United States and Canada," he declares. "Then I'll deal with the rest of the world later."
Mellencamp's plan is to hit cities he hasn't played in a long time and to avoid doing outdoor concerts.
"I'm going to devise a show that works in arenas and theaters so I can go back and forth," he explains. "Like anything else, if you do too much of one or the other you get burned out."
He adds, "I will probably never play outside again though."
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