Now in its second season, the AXS original series follows Sammy Hagar (aka the Red Rocker) as he travels across the U.S. to interview and jam with legendary music artists like Toby Keith, John Mayer, Mick Fleetwood and more. Hagar will hook up with Mellencamp in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana to chat about his life as a Grammy-winning folk rocker and critically-acclaimed painter, which he talks about in his interview with Hagar.
John Mellencamp broke into the music industry after changing his name to John Cougar and the subsequent success of his 1979 self-titled album which spawned the hit single “I Need a Lover.” His career really took off, though, with the chart-topping success of his 1982 album American Fool, which spawned two No. 1 singles “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane.” A third single, “Hand to Hold Onto” hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 20.
Once he was firmly anchored in the industry, Mellencamp added his birth surname to his stage name and he performed as John Cougar Mellencamp from 1983 -1990. During this period, he released a Top 10 album, Uh-Huh, which contained two more Top 10 singles, “Pink Houses” and “Crumblin’ Down.”
Overall, Mellencamp’s ‘80s tracks were filled with infectious beats and catchy hooks and his music played a big part in shaping the decade. His 1985 album “Scarecrow” produced a fresh crop of memorable Top 40 hits including “Lonely Ol’ Night,” “Small Town” and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (A Salute to ‘60s Rock). By then, John Cougar Mellencamp was more than a household name. He sort of represented the “everyman” of American folk rock.
By 1991, Mellencamp dropped the label-induced “Cougar” from his stage name forever and forged forward as John Mellencamp. In a career that spans more than four decades and produced 23 studio albums, the 13-time Grammy-nominated artist has become a living legend in heartland rock. His musical style is influenced by Bob Dylan and country superstar Keith Urban has credited Mellencamp as one of his heaviest influences.
The “Hurts So Good” singer is also an acclaimed painter whose visual art pieces have been displayed in galleries in Nashville and New York. The former city hosted his works in 2012 at the Tennessee State Museum in an exhibition called “Nothing Like I Planned: The Art Of John Mellencamp.” Those interested in learning more about Mellencamp's artistic side should check out AXS TV's "Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar" March 19 at 9/8c.
John Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Billy Joel n 2008. His highly-anticipated 23rd studio album, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies is slated to be released on April 28. Mellencamp will tour to support the album. Click here for information on AXS-ticketed John Mellencamp shows.
Sammy Hagar's laid-back interview style, stunning scenery and smoking hot jam sessions make "'Rock & Roll Road Trip'" must-see TV. Here's what fans are in store for this season:
March 5th 9/8c — James Hetfield, Joe Satriani, John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge
March 12th 9/8c — Toby Keith
March 19th 9/8c — John Mellencamp
March 26th 9/8c — Rick Nielsen, Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson
April 2nd 9/8c — Billy Gibbons
April 9th 9/8c — Mick Fleetwood