They say life goes on long after the thrill of living
It's what you do and not what you say. If you're not part of the future, then get out of the way!
I think Roosevelt had four terms, didn't he? I think we should go back to that, and we should go back to four years for a senator, four years for a congressman, and I think we'd see a huge change in our society.
My best songs come from a place outside myself.
I ended up writing songs and growing up in public with my songwriting. And it's a good thing for me back then: in the early '70s, there was a thing called artist development, where an artist could find his feet, find himself, find his voice. I think I made five or six albums before I sold five or six albums.
Don't ever lose that innocent laughter, don't let time take that away
Broadway is a very different kind of place. It's kind of like Nashville in that there's a certain amount of people that are involved, and those people are what run it.
People have the right to say what they want to.
I believe in something, even if it's just me.
As I get older, I have a different look on life. I just try to be a little more tolerant and a little bit more centered about what's going on around me and not so emotional.
Take 'Jack and Diane.' I was so disgusted with people thinking the line 'Hold on to sixteen as long as you can' meant to stay a teenager forever. What I meant was keep doing whatever makes you feel alive.
American folk songs were about tragedy, right? They were about suffering and tragedy, and a lot of my songs are about that, even though they were misunderstood.
I've been around so many people for so long that I take great delight in my own company.
Natalie from the Dixie Chicks could have said what she said before 9-11 and no one would have cared.
Be careful of those who kill in Jesus' name; he don't believe in killing at all.
I wish my grandmother and grandfather were still alive, because they were able to keep me grounded.
It's my responsibility as a singer-songwriter to report the news.
I'm your average Joe guy. I don't really care for politicians.
Hold on to 16 as long as you can. changes coming round real soon, make us women and men.
For me to pretend I'm the keeper of the small town mentality or that's all I'm interested in is wrong.
My task with 'Uh-Huh' was to make a more even record and get away from juvenile topics like 'Hurts So Good.' But I also knew if I wanted to continue, I had to have more hits.
Everything I see and hear... I will take ideas from anyplace, anywhere, anytime, and life has become a song to me. I'm always looking for a song.
All I'm doing is painting. It's my hobby. And that's that.
This is not a rock opera. This is not Tommy. I can write songs that emote, and that's it.
I'm the guy who wrote The Authority Song. Did they think I was kidding? Did they think it was only a song to entertain?
I think it's ridiculous to try to sell records to teenagers, because teenagers don't buy my records. And there ain't that many teenagers out there in the marketplace.
'Jack & Diane' was originally about race. I was playing nightclubs, and I was seeing new American couples, mixed-race couples. I thought it was cool. The song was my effort to make a song about that, but of course the record-company guy didn't like it.
I have to say when a man lives for himself, it's hard to live with him. That's pretty much the story of all my divorces. I've been making records since I was 22 and done things my way, and it's hard for me to compromise. And of course, to have a successful relationship, one has to compromise. Sometimes I'm not good at it.
When I wrote 'Pink Houses,' nobody was talking about that, right? The next thing I know, you can't see the TV without hearing commercials with 'Listen to the heartbeat of America,' or 'Born the American way.' That whole America thing now - I hate it.
When did Jimmy Stewart not play Jimmy Stewart? When did John Wayne not play John Wayne? But that's what we like about them. When you talk about acting, you really have to respond to somebody's personality.
I'm as left-wing as you can get.
I need a long and lingering death to make sure that I have time to have a deathbed conversion.
Everything I have is for sale. Material items are just things that pass through your hands that mean very little or nothing.
Radio was my friend after 'Jack & Diane' and 'Hurts So Good.'
I used to think that eating healthy was ordering a fish sandwich at McDonalds.
I was born with Spina bifida. That's where you have a hole in your spine, and your nerve endings come out.
I just think if the song's good, sing it. I don't care who's doing it. I don't care if it's a country act. I don't care if it's a rock act. If the song's good, sing it.
When politicians use fear, they are playing into the enemy's hand.
I've just been fortunate to havehad a lot of hit records, though Human Wheels doesn't qualify as a hit record-but it's really the best single I've ever had.
I would never say John Kerry would be a great president. I will say that George Bush has divided us; he has filled this country with hatred.
I want to sell to people my own age, because that's the way I write songs.
I don't want to be a politician. I don't like politics. It's petty; it fights dirty.
A lot of Woody Guthrie's songs were taken from other songs. He would rework the melody and lyrics, and all of a sudden it was a Woody Guthrie song.
This cycle of make a record, tour has been going on for 20 years now. I don't even know why I do it sometimes. Do I need more money? Do I need more platinum and gold records? The only thing I can think of is ego.
When people are afraid, they make emotional decisions.
What is there to be afraid of? The worst thing that can happen is you fail. So what? I failed at a lot of things. My first record was horrible.
'Crumbling' Down' is a very political song that I wrote with my childhood friend George Green. Reagan was president - he was deregulating everything, and the walls were crumbling down on the poor.
When you live in hysteria, people start thinking emotionally.
If fans are going to turn on me because of this, they weren't my fans anyway. I couldn't betray a whole 25 years of record making and not do this. I had to.
We had an exercise in speech class in school, impromptu speaking, that I was always real good at.
The CD, it should be noted, was born out of greed. It was devised to prop up record sales on the expectation of people replenishing their record collections with CDs of albums they had already purchased.
Unemployment is sky-rocketing; deflation is in our future for the first time since the Great Depression. I don't care whose fault it is, it's the truth.
I've seen beautiful art on the sides of buildings. I've seen beautiful art in museums. I've seen beautiful art in galleries. Beautiful art is everywhere.
Sound quality was supposed to be one of the big selling points for CDs but, as we know, it wasn't very good at all. It was just another con, a get-rich-quick scheme, a monumental hoax perpetrated on the music consuming public.
One quality of a good songwriter is to be vague. A vague notion, a vague image, but enough to give the listener the opportunity to make more out of what's being said than is there. That's the great thing about Bob Dylan's songs: We the listeners have made more out of them than he ever intended.
Life should never be viewed from the vantage point of achievements. It is total folly.
I want my paintings to look like they were found in a garage. If they get a scratch or a hole in them, it just becomes part of the painting.
As I've matured as a songwriter, I realize that if it's out there, it's mine.
Hanging out is a waste of time. The only time I would hang out was when I was a kid, I would hang out in the streets. But once I started making records, I stopped hanging out.
If I'm painting, I paint every day. I'll be up in the studio from 8:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night.
I went to New York in 1974, to either try to get a record deal, get into the New York Art Student League, or be a dancer. So that was my plan. Some plan. And I had no money.
What's the difference? One guy's the same as the other.
We could walk 3 minutes and be on the beach. I think the music kind of suffered because of it. It kind of smelled like Jimmy Buffett, which is a bad thing.
People in Indiana have known me for 25 years. They've known George Bush four.
My thought was I should try to stick with names that people may recognize like Robert Johnson, Son House, and Hoagy Carmichael, so if somebody cared to research, they would find a wealth of material.
In so many musicals today, the story is moved forward by a song. I don't think we're gonna try to do that.
I'm wide open and will entertain anything anybody has to say, but if it's MTV and radio, well, they're great things, but can't be the only thing. I don't know that it would work even for the Beatles.
I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is.
I don't have to worry about any pop sensibility. I can write adult songs, and I don't have to worry about choruses and hook lines.
I couldn't have recorded this record 15 years ago. My voice didn't have the depth to pull these songs off.
I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.
Do I think it's OK to fight authority as long as you're only talking about the high school teacher? No.
Bob Dylan's first couple of records in the 60's weren't considered cover records, but he only wrote one or two original songs on each album.
A lot of record company people, even though they're our age, want to be perceived as young hip guys, and they're hurting the business.
A painting has to be beautiful. Even in its grotesqueness.
This is about black people selling out other black people.
A lot of the time, I write in the third person, but I'm mostly describing my own ordeals. When those unsettled struggles prey on your mind, you become haunted. To get free, you must defeat your ghosts.
It sounds funny, but I always try to keep an open mind about what I'm writing about. Sometimes I squeak my opinions in there, but generally I don't. I try to be objective about things that I'm writing about.
Regret should be handled swiftly, and you shouldn't hold onto it. People spend their entire lives regretting what they didn't do and what they should've done. Hey, man, you did what you did.
Wait a minute, guys, I have always been on your side. I have always spoken for you, always tried to put on a good face for the state of Indiana. All of a sudden, some of you people think I'm a bad guy?
You cannot expect the guy who drove the car into the ditch to navigate it out of the ditch. You have to put a new driver in the seat. I'm not saying the new driver is going to be any better, but we need a new driver. Kerry is the only choice.
If we have any hope for survival of the music that we all love, compassion must replace name-calling, fairness must replace greed, and we need to come together as a musical community and try to understand each other's problems.
Music was so important to the culture when I was growing up in the Sixties and Seventies. We just expected that Bob Dylan was going to make a great record, and it was normal. It was like, 'Okay, here's another great record by Bob Dylan; here's another great record by Led Zeppelin.'
Oh, I think country has changed tremendously. I think country has totally changed. Country music when I was a kid was Hank Williams. If you put Hank and Elvis together, there wasn't that musical difference. But as the Beatles showed up and the English invasion, I think country music got pretty far away from rock n' roll.
If I laugh a couple of times a day, I'm doing good. People think it's their God-given right to be happy, and it's just not. It's something you've got to work at. I like to paint the human condition, and the human condition is not smiles and happy people.
I was one of those guys, you know, playing and singing, and there was no reason for me to write a song, because there were so many beautiful songs out. And Bob Dylan was always the ultimate songwriter, and nobody could ever write a song as good as him, and nobody ever has written a song as good as him.
My grandmother made sure that I went to church every Sunday. And she'd come over and pick us boys up, and we would go to the Nazarene church. And back then, that was about as close to heaven as I ever got, because just the time to be able to spend with her, and she was very, very religious.
If you hide information from people, don't want people to see the Ten Commandments or don't want people to hear about Darwin, aren't we hiding things that we know from our future generations? I just think that that's incorrect.
I wanted to study at the Art Students League in New York when I was young, but I didn't have the money. Then I was fortunate enough to become Johnny Cougar Mellencamp. At the time, I thought I'd make a couple of records and get back to painting. It never dawned on me that I'd be 64 years old and still making music.
There are a lot of actors who try to get records made and try to make record deals, and everybody goes, 'Ugh.' It used to be expected in the entertainment business. I mean look at Sinatra, Bing Crosby. All these guys started out as singers.