Little Musical ‘Bout Jack ‘N Diane, Two ‘Merican Kids Doin’ The Best They Can
John Mellencamp‘s been fairly busy lately, releasing his 24th studio album, Other People’s Stuff, working out logistics for a tour, and getting engaged to his longtime pal Meg Ryan. And he now has another item in his job jar: he’s turning Jack And Diane into a musical.
Said Mellencamp in a chat with Today on Thursday, “We’re getting ready to mount ‘Jack & Diane’ as a Broadway musical. Every problem that this country’s going through today is in that musical.” Will it be a jukebox musical? Naw: “My ambitions are set very high. As close to Steinbeck as we can get it — in today’s world, with these two kids.”
He didn’t give any more details about the project, which a spokesthing confirms is actually in the works, but he did say that these days, he lives “an artist’s life”, creating something every day — writing songs, painting, touring — adding a qualifier: “art’s not being on the radio.” In fact, he feels that radio airplay is “the lowest common denominator”, and says that the bulk of his most iconic tunes “really weren’t that good as far as songs go.”
Mellencamp doesn’t intend to dial back the pace anytime soon, wryly saying that “retirement is an Indian word for slow death.” And he seems to be in a pretty good place, romantically speaking: “I’m engaged at 67 to a very funny woman … funniest woman I ever met.” Meg Ryan was previously married to Dennis Quaid, with whom she had a daughter. This will be marriage number four for Mellencamp, who has five children.
His relationship with Ryan has been a bit rocky, with the couple reportedly getting together eight years ago, splitting up in 2014, and then reconnecting last year. Mellencamp is famously cantankerous enough to have a shot as the lead in a Clint Eastwood film, and he’s the first to admit that it takes a special kind of woman to put up with him: “One can well imagine I’m not the easiest guy to get along with … so, let’s leave it at that.”
Last month, Ryan dropped the news of the engagement in a sweet Instagram, confirming at the same time that comic book illustrating might not be a job on which she should rely. The wedding date is yet to be announced.