During a recent Q&A session held by the Direct Connection event series, John Mellencamp pointed out that for many listeners who’ve grown up over the past couple of decades, music simply doesn’t hold the all-consuming power it did for the kids who made rock ‘n’ roll such a powerful cultural phenomenon.
“I’ve got two boys, 22 and 21, and I don’t think they ever sat down and listened to a whole album in their whole life,” said Mellencamp. “I read just the other day — I think it was Ray Davies — that rock ‘n’ roll is going to come back. It’s not going to come back. We’ve seen it. It happened … it’s like we had a 50-year run of a particular type of music and history will tell us that.”
Pointing out that rock is just one of many styles of music to have its turn on top of the charts, Mellencamp argued that it isn’t just cyclical tastes that have hurt the genre’s supremacy; it’s the way music has been forced to compete with so many other entertainment options for consumers.
That hasn’t pushed Mellencamp away from the record industry: his Sound and Vision talk was timed to help promote his new album, Sad Clowns and Hillbillies, which hit stores April 28.