Ian Mellencamp
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Ian Mellencamp

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Electronic Singer/Songwriter




"Ian Mellencamp " Free AF" Review"

On Aug. 15, Ian Mellencamp released his latest EP Free AF. Considering Mellencamp is the nephew of folk-rock legend John Mellencamp, this EP has a high standard to live up to. And it does.

Free AF is an extremely intelligent effort; Mellencamp never gets too comfortable with one rhythm or time signature and executes that in a way that still allows for the songs within the album to be perfectly pieced together. Free AF is comparable to an intriguing painting that contains so much detail the eye can’t decide where to land first, next or last.

It is apparent that Mellencamp is educated in rock n’roll, as his music contains distinctive elements of the genre including psychedelic guitar riffs, exploration of digital electric organ and a climactic story telling approach.

The EP kicks off with a soft, entrancing intro and dirty guitar riff in “Headsound.” This song has a groovy punk rock feel and sets the EP’s atmosphere of an underground ‘70s party.

In “Outlaw” Mellencamp gets personal with the listener, detailing a story about getting arrested, being taken to prison and admitting to a crime he didn’t commit. This story ends with frantic guitar licks and blaring sirens. “Rambling” seduces the listener from the first beat. It compels the listener to get up and dance or at the very least tap their foot.

The EP ends with thoughtful closer “A Race to End a Race.”This brings the EP to a satisfying close with aching vocals and a gentle rhythm.

Free AF is an epic rock EP that sets an example for anyone who wants to fuse influence from classic rock into a new modern sound. - The Celebrity Cafe

"Farm Aid 2016: 10 Best Things"

"There's a revolution starting!" Neil Young told the crowd early on in his set at the 31st annual Farm Aid. "It's called eating good food that your neighbors made for you. … Let the earth bring us all together, back to the roots. Eat good food. You don't need the drugs anymore. It took us a long time to get this far. We have a long way to go. But with people like you, we're going to make it!"

The brief speech was one of the few moments during the 11-hour concert at Bristow, Virginia's Jiffy Lube Live that wasn't centered around music. The packed bill featured a mixture of young acts (Insects vs. Robots, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats), country stars (Jamey Johnson, Margo Price) and, as always, the four members of the Farm Aid board (Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Willie Nelson.) It was a lot to cram into a single day, but the stellar stage crew kept things moving like clockwork. When the schedule said that Margo Price would take the stage at 2:17 pm, that's exactly what happened. The fest was also blessed with a day of pristine weather that kept the capacity crowd in fine spirits and made for one of the most enjoyable Farm Aids in recent memory. Here are 10 of the best musical moments.

Willie Nelson and Star Swain Kick Things Off
As always, Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson was the first one on the stage. He delivered an a cappella rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" to a nearly empty amphitheater before handing the mic over to 34-year-old assistant principal Star Swain, whose rendition at the Lincoln Memorial became a viral sensation earlier this summer and led to a singing slot at the Democratic National Convention. The webcast hadn’t begun yet, but the few people that showed up right as the gates opened got an incredible treat, made all the more powerful by the complete lack of instrumentation.

The Next Generation Takes Over
The early part of the show was dominated by family members of the Farm Aid board. It began with John Mellencamp's nephew Ian Mellencamp (pictured), whose short set started with an solo electric take on ABBA's "Dancing Queen" before he was joined by a drummer for a handful of Black Keys–style tunes. Willie Nelson's son Micah (who claimed to be playing a guitar made entirely out of hemp) followed up with his eclectic band Insects vs. Robots, who played material from their new EP Stupid Dreams. His older brother Lukas’ band Promise of the Real took the stage afterwards. They're best known these days as Neil Young's backing group, but their own tunes "Ain't Gonna Die Alone" and "Carolina" soared without any help from "Uncle Neil."

Margo Price Gets Personal
Nashville's Margo Price was the first of many country stars to play the big stage, and she definitely deserved to be up there. "Farm Aid started in 1985," she said. "That happened to be the same year my family lost their farm." She then told the rest of the sad story with her "Me and Bobby McGee"–style song "Hands of Time." "Times they were tough growing up at home," she sang. "My daddy lost the farm when I was two years old/Took a job at the prison working second shift/And that's the last time I let them take what should be his."

Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss Cover Woody Guthrie
This year marked Jamey Johnson's ninth Farm Aid in under a decade, though he made this year unique by bringing along special guest Alison Krauss. Her violin and pristine harmonies were a great addition to his set, which peaked when they locked voices on Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." They sang the whole song, even the oft-skipped "private property" verse. That would have thrilled Pete Seeger, whose final major public appearance was at Farm Aid 2013, when he joined the entire board on that very song.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats Honor the Band
Neo-soul singer Nathaniel Rateliff and his backing band the Night Sweats have played just about every festival in the world since their debut LP exploded late last year. They've become masters at commanding large audiences, and their killer set climaxed with their breakthrough hit "S.O.B." It's the sad tale of a hopeless drunk, and it transitioned right into a cover of the Band's "The Shape I'm In," which covers similar territory. Ratliff has the incredible power to turn desperation into joy, and were Band keyboardist/singer Richard Manuel still with us, he surely would have been honored to hear Rateliff do his song justice.

Alabama Shakes Gets the Crowd Shaking
The crowd at this year's Farm Aid was heavy on classic-rock and country fans, and it seemed like a decent chunk of them weren't familiar with Alabama Shakes when the band first took the stage. But most anyone that watches Brittany Howard and Co. perform for more than a minute becomes an instant convert. Howard worked the stage like a woman possessed, tearing through songs from both Alabama Shakes albums with an avalanche of passion. By the midpoint of the set, people were dancing in the aisles and screaming for more.
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Revisit the Nineties
Is there a twin-acoustic-guitar act that can drive a crowd into a state of euphoria quite like Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds? During their eight-song set, the two old friends sent ripples of joy across the entire amphitheater with every note they played. It helped they stuck largely to 1990s classics like "Crash Into Me," "Don't Drink the Water," "Two Step" and "Ants Marching." People of all ages sang along, from kids that weren't even close to being born when Under the Table and Dreaming came out to adults that were long past their frat days at the peak of DMB mania. He doesn't get much press these days, but Dave Matthews remains a powerful force in the concert biz. Had Farm Aid featured nothing but Dave and Tim playing for hours on end, it seemed like few in the crowd would have minded.

John Mellencamp Revisits the Eighties
When John Mellencamp's band came onstage in black-tie outfits and launched into 2014's "Lawless Times," it briefly seemed like this might not be your typical Mellencamp hits revue. But then "Small Town" came next and the show quickly became a 1980s sing-along with "Paper in Fire," "Check It Out," "Authority Song" and, of course, "Pink Houses." "Rain on the Scarecrow" began with a haunting violin/accordion intro. This song has probably been done at every Farm Aid since the very first one, but it never loses its power. It's basically the benefit's theme song, and sadly, it reminds all too relevant.

Neil Young Goes With the Hits
Neil Young is the one Farm Aid board member that always delivers an unpredictable set. Last year he tested the patience of the audience by playing unfamiliar new material like "Seed Justice" and "A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop." (He also did "Alabama" for the first time since 1977.) In 2013, his set was mainly covers. This time around, he opened with "Heart of Gold" and largely stuck to songs everyone knew, including "Harvest Moon" and "Out on the Weekend." He first played with Lukas and Micah Nelson at Farm Aid in 2014 and they've been his band ever since. Papa Willie came out for a duet of "Are There Any More Real Cowboys?" before Neil strapped on Old Black and led the band through ferocious renditions of "Powderfinger" and "Rockin' in the Free World," complete with three false endings. It was a mere tiny slice of the amazing shows they've been playing during the past couple of years. If they come anywhere near you, check them out. With the very large exception of Crazy Horse, this is one of the best bands he’s ever worked with.

Willie Nelson and Family Close out the Night
It's tough to come on after "Rockin' in the Free World," especially when you're facing an exhausted crowd eager to head toward the parking lot after a long day in the sun, but Willie was up for the task. Joined by Lukas, Micah and his standard road band, he managed to cram in 15 songs, barely pausing for a breath between them. Just when people were about to pack up and leave, he'd go into a tune like "Always on My Mind," "On the Road Again" or "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" that caused people to sit back down and wait until the end. The man is 83. He's got emphysema. He smokes weed all day and night. He's always on tour. But by some miracle, he's still got that powerful voice. He's used it to save countless family farms, spread awareness of their plight and raise millions of dollars for Farm Aid. There's no word on next year’s Farm Aid 32 yet, but Willie Nelson will certainly be around to close it out like he's been doing since day one. - Rolling Stone

"10 Reasons Why Willie Nelson's Farm Aid Is Unlike Any Other Music Festival"

The 31st annual Farm Aid concert, benefiting the nation’s family farmers, rolled into Bristow, Va., on Saturday, Sept. 17, with the organization’s guiding foursome — Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews — joined during the day-long festival at the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater by Alabama Shakes, Sturgill Simpson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Margo Price and others.

CMA's 'Forever Country' Song Features Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson & 28 More Country Superstars: Listen

Also sharing the bill: Jamey Johnson, accompanied by Alison Krauss; Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real; Insects vs Roberts (featuring Micah Nelson); Ian Mellencamp (the nephew of John Mellencamp); the Wisdom Indian Dancers, and Star Swain. Swain opened with her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner.” Her impromptu performance of the anthem at the Lincoln Memorial in June became a viral video, leading to her appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

Saturday’s high-spirited show was an 11-hour celebration of American roots music — rock, country, folk, soul and R&B. It was carried live at farmaid.org and on the SiriusXM channel Willie’s Roadhouse. The back-to-back triple play of the hottest acts on this year’s bill — Rateliff, Simpson and Alabama Shakes — lent a strong blues and soul feel to the day.

As in previous years, Farm Aid 2016 was like no other festival you’ve ever seen. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Farm Aid’s headliner is 83 years old — but you’d never know it.

It’s funny how time slips away. Willie Nelson turned 83 on April 29. To put that in perspective, consider that the oldest superstar headliner at the Desert Trip festival — dubbed “Old Chella” and taking place in Coachella, Calif., in October — is Bob Dylan, who is a mere 75. Nelson opened the afternoon set with his traditional singing of “The Lord’s Prayer” and closed the show after 11 p.m. with an all-star finale. From his nimble guitar solos on “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” (played on his battered six-string nicknamed Trigger) to his vocal romp through “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Nelson never sounded better.

2. This is the nation’s longest-running concert for a cause.

“This is number 31,” said Nelson. First staged on Sept. 22, 1985 in Champaign, Ill., in response to that era’s farm foreclosure crisis (and inspired by a remark made by Bob Dylan two months earlier during the Live Aid benefit for Africa famine relief), Farm Aid hasn’t stopped. The organization has raised more than $50 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. While the annual concert draws the headlines, Farm Aid has a staff that works year-round to keep family farmers on their land, promote the Good Food movement and help shape government food policy. John Mellencamp said he recently was asked, “Farm Aid, you guys still doing that?” He replied, “You still eating?”

3. Farmers themselves are the opening act.

At an onstage press conference before the music began, farming activists from the region shared the spotlight with the musicians. Organizers of Appalachian Harvest described their efforts to build a family-farm-based economy as an alternative to tobacco and coal industries. A nurse practitioner from Charlottesville, Va., described how connecting patients to food from family farmers through the community group Local Food Hub helped battle diabetes and other health crises. Activists with Dreaming Out Loud in Washington, D.C. described how urban farms had become a tool for community organizing. Said Neil Young: “These people are the heroes. These people are warriors for tomorrow. This revolution starts with us. Try to make sure when you buy your food, you support the people who are growing it.”

4. Farm Aid moves to a new state every year — with a purpose.

Unlike destination festivals staged on established sites, Farm Aid takes place in a different region every year, allowing the organization to connect with farmers nationwide. The Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater, which most recently hosted Farm Aid in 2000, is some 40 miles west of Washington., D.C. The week before the concert, Farm Aid-affiliated groups teamed up with the National Farmers Union to fly in 275 farm families to the nation’s capital to press for emergency aid amid a new farming crisis of falling income and rising costs. “We know that they are hurting,” says Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar. “They have been left behind by their elected officials often and exploited by corporations who have so much power over their markets.”

5. For Farm Aid performers, this cause is personal.

Dave Matthews described a recent encounter with the neighbor of a North Dakota farmer, who became sick with cancer. “Then Farm Aid came in and took care of him” with financial help, Matthews was told. Margo Price, whose debut solo album is titled Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, remembered when her father lost their family farm in Illinois, during the same foreclosure crisis of the `80s that led Nelson to launch Farm Aid. Jamey Johnson spoke of his realization that “the more time I spend in my grocery store looking for food from family farms, the less time I spend in my doctor’s office.” Nathaniel Rateliff, a native of Missouri, says he was very aware of Farm Aid from its start. “Everybody was losing their farm in our region when I was a kid. Even up until 1997, I was working in a plastics factory with [Night Sweats bassist] Joseph Pope and there was an old man working with us, who had been a pig farmer. He said, `I’ll butcher and give you a pig for $80.’ The factory farms had overproduced so much pork that they’d driven the price down” and he lost his farm.

6. Pictures of pigs, potatoes and poultry.

And kale, tomatoes, tractors, silos, barns, windmills and more. Among the most striking aspects of Farm Aid’s production is the spectacular farm-centered photography projected both behind the performers and on video screens. The images this year, which powerfully complemented the performances, were the work of photographers Patty O’Brien, Molly M. Peterson, Lise Metzger and Sabine Carey.

7. The food at Farm Aid is Homegrown — with a capital H.

Homegrown Concessions — a registered trademark of Farm Aid — “is the way in which everybody who goes to a concert can eat healthy great food from family farmers,” says Farm Aid associate director Glenda Yoder. “This is our tenth year of doing this. And we make it a deal point [with the venues] that all the food on the property comes from a family farm, is produced to an ecological standard, with a fair price to the producer.” A choice menu item: the pasture-raised pork chop sandwich from Missouri’s Patchwork Family Farms cooperative has been a staple at Farm Aid since 1999.

8. Homegrown Village makes Farm Aid feel like a revival meeting.

Longtime fans of Farm Aid come for more than the music. The event is an impassioned gathering for activists involved in environmental and social justice issues, as well as farming. At Homegrown Village, an assembly of tents to the side of the amphitheater, more than 35 exhibitors discussed issues and offered farming skill sessions. Among the organizations on site this year: Food and Water Watch, the American Farmland Trust, the National Young Farmers Coalition and the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

9. The community of Farm Aid musicians is a powerful thing.

Performers at Farm Aid donate their time and travel expenses, playing this festival for love, not money. (That helps the organization earn the highest rating from charity watchdog groups.) The affection among the four core activists was clear, for example, when Young embraced Nelson onstage after a duet on “Are There Any More Real Cowboys.” Others, like Jamey Johnson, return to the Farm Aid bill each September to support its cause and share in the community. Nelson’s finale, which flowed from the gospel hymn “I’ll Fly Away” to Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light,” drew everyone back to the stage for a spirited closing to this year’s show.

10. Willie is always on their minds.

Let a farmer have the last word. Rhonda Perry and her husband Roger Allison, hailing from Howard County, Mo., are co-founders of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Patchwork Family Farms, a farming cooperative that Farm Aid funding helped establish. “We’ve been involved with Farm Aid since 1985,” says Perry. She recalled when her husband and Mugar traveled by train from a rally by farmers in Ames, Iowa, to the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Ill. “It was one of the darkest hours that we had seen in generations of farming,” she recalls. “And as the train was going down the tracks, there were farmers on the side of the road, with flags and signs that said, `Willie is our hope.’

“To be here now, all these years later,” says Perry, “with all this energy around food and around people who care about how their food is raised, it’s incredible.” - Billboard

"Ian Mellencamp Proves Midwestern Boys Make the Cutest NYC Transplants"

Ian Mellencamp is living the dream. The Ohio native DJs at some of New York’s coolest clubs, he has modeled for Tom Ford and Calvin Klein, and he just released his debut EP Free AF.

From Ian’s many jobs to the variety of influences that led to his latest creation, he’s all about balance. But in reality, he’s just like the rest of us (if not cooler with way better hair). He moved to NYC, he uses dating apps, and he swears that he’s shy.

We talked Free AF, working in the creative industry, and male models with Ian.

Your music definitely sounds different from a lot of what’s out there, who are your influences?

It’s all over the place. I like rock n roll and house music and jazz and even a little classical. I listen to a lot of 70’s rock, I’m listening to a lot of hip-hop too right now actually. It kind of comes through subliminally. It’s not what the style is, but it’s there.

Do you play mostly house when you DJ?

Yeah, and hip hop.

What’s the biggest difference between DJing and performing?

You’re still trying to keep an eye on the crowd and keep everyone engaged and happy and excited, but when I’m performing it’s all original music and creating everything, singing and dancing, whereas DJing I’m solely focused on playing songs that have already been created to create an atmosphere and keep it going. Performing for me is more fun because it’s just a full body experience.

What’s your favorite NYC venue to play at?

Baby’s All Right is pretty dope. Mercury Lounge is pretty cool, I’ve played there a few times.

You have your hand in a ton of different creative industries. What’s the key to crossing over between multiple creative platforms?

I think it’s just having a creative mindset. Just thinking artistically and creatively, whatever you’re doing. It could be making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but just being in the moment and in the now. If that makes sense? Just trusting your soul and yourself. Just being in an artistic mindset.

Do you think it’s better for someone to get into the industry any way they can? Even if it’s initially not in the exact position they want to be in?

It depends on what the creative industry is, but yeah if it’s a creative outlet and someone recognizes you, don’t be totally closed off to it. People may see things that you’re blind to. If you get the opportunity to do something creatively on a regular basis, then it only adds to that part of your brain that creates.

What’s the biggest false stereotype about male models?

Umm… well some of them are true. But I’m not going to admit to any of those. I don’t know, you tell me, what are some of the stereotypes and I’ll tell you if they’re right or wrong?

I feel like a lot of people say male models are all looks and no brain.

I don’t think that’s true. They were all doing something before they were discovered. Especially male models don’t go into [modeling] thinking that’s what they’re going to do. So they’re already doing some other things or a profession. I haven’t really met anyone who from day one they knew they wanted to model. They all have hobbies and activities that they can speak very well about, whether it’s skateboarding or starting a new business. It’s also something that can numb you a little bit when you get on set and all you are is a canvas. I always like to be the painter, not the canvas, but it’s never bad to be involved with creative people.

I know what you mean, it can feel very objectified.

Yeah and if you do it for years and years and you’re not doing anything else than it does… it can numb you a little bit. At times. I’ve been lucky and determined to stay active in the other realms of my life, you know.

Do you find that men face similar body image issues that female models face?

Not as much as females, but they do to some extent. They’re aware of it, but they’re not quite as coached and scolded as females are. People don’t come down on them as hard if they’re a little off.

Where’s the best place to take someone on a first date in NYC?

Trick question… home. Can I say that? Or do you want a specific place? It depends on the person. I like to go dancing to see if they can let loose, like go to a club.

Have you ever used any dating apps?

But of course.

Which one do you like using the the best?

I don’t know if I can answer that. I use some very popular ones that are very common. If the magic happens, it happens. If you find me on there I’ll say hello and refer to my previous comment on where we’re going to go.

What do you think of apps like Bumble encouraging women to make the first move?

I’m all for it. I think the world is changing and we may have a female president, we’re trying to even out the power playing field. We’re not there yet, but I think it should be. Everyone should be motivated to go for what they want. I’m completely shy, so I appreciate someone who makes the move.

How long have you lived in NYC for?

Almost six years. It feels like home.

What’s the biggest giveaway that someone in NYC is a tourist?

I don’t know, where they hang out. The fanny packs are a giveaway. The group huddle over an iPhone trying to figure out directions on the subway, you see that a lot.

Why did you choose to type out your song titles in caps and lower case on your album?

I’m not trying to be a specific genre, I’m just trying to create whatever comes out and trying to create a new musical language so I feel like that kind of went hand and hand with trying not to particularly identify songs to the music with what style it is.

Do you think the music industry is too harsh trying to get artists to stick to one genre?

Normal people don’t react negatively. They’re cool with that, we all listen to different styles these days so we’re all pretty open minded. But when it comes to the business side and the record company side, they want to brand you a certain way as long as they can because you’re just a product to them. They want to keep you as what they invested in and consistent. That’s why I’ve gone independent with this release and that’s why the album is called Free AF because I had the freedom to do whatever I want. I listen to all these different genres and I don’t want to be that concerned with fitting into a genre. I’ve had that in the past where people have said “it’s gotta be poppier” or it’s gotta be this or that. I want to create and see what comes out.

I feel like the creative industry is never as creative as the actual artists are.

Exactly, yeah. They want to try to control it. You do have to work together, but it’s often dumbed down or takes the edge off what the artist is trying to say. But now the internet exists, so we can basically put out whatever we want. - Galore

"John Mellencamp's Model Nephew Debuts His New EP"

Ian Mellencamp, 33, describes his style as "Frank Zappa meets Andy Warhol." With free-flowing long hair, soft facial features, and a cut figure, he's not too far off. Mellencamp says this with an ironic chuckle, though. Despite being the nephew of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp and a successful model, he doesn't take himself too seriously. This is made all the more apparent by the title of his new EP, "Free AF," which dropped today. (In case you were not aware, that translates to "Free As F---.")
"I wanted to be independent," Mellencamp says of his latest career move. "I didn't want anyone telling me what I could and couldn't do as an artist." After a series of creative clashes with the label he was signed to, the musician decided to go out on his own this year, hence the EP title. "I feel like a lot of people can relate to the freelance thing these days," he continues. "There's a scary element involved of letting go and trying to figure it out on your own. But it's also liberating and rewarding. It's a mentality of: 'I'm going to go for it and see what happens.'"
Originally from the midwest, Mellencamp's first CD was Green Day's "Dookie." He received his first guitar in high school, and proceeded to start bands with names like Whiplash and Bluff. He's lived in New York City for the past six years, however, and is currently based in Bushwick. He likes to take breaks from writing music with a run through the city or by meditating on his couch. On weekends, you might find him raving at Bossanova.
Through a college friend who was also a model, Mellencamp found himself at a Calvin Klein casting in Cincinnati back in 2011. "I just kept booking, and it kind of took over my life," he recalls. "Next thing I knew, I was coming to New York to meet a bunch of strangers in a room and enter an industry that I didn't know anything about."
In addition to Calvin Klein, Mellencamp has also posed alongside Gigi Hadid for a Tom Ford campaign. He recalls crouching down next to her nearly nude while holding a small child, who proceeded to urinate on him during the shoot. "Everyone said, 'Keep going! This is great!' That was definitely one of my top moments on set," he recalls, adding: "Besides working with Bruce Weber — his style and way of shooting is almost like a meditative experience. It's influenced how I treat other people and musicians I work with."
And while Mellencamp isn't done with modeling — he's currently signed to ONE Model Management — he says he's spent the past few years really focusing on his musical career: "I try to be creative in every aspect." In addition to writing and producing all the songs, Mellencamp also does the album covers and videos himself. In his Instagram bio, he calls himself a "transducer."
"As a transducer, you're the middle man turning one source of energy into something else," he explains.
"Free AF" has roots in grunge and electronic, but Mellencamp also says he was influenced by house, jazz, and hip-hop. And as far as his rock star uncle is concerned, he hasn't heard it yet. "I keep it separate," Mellencamp says of mixing work and family. "But they do ask. [My uncle] hasn't heard the new EP yet, but I haven't shown it to many people. Once you show it to someone, they have something to say about it. I don't really want to be influenced by anyone. But when it's out, they can hear it! And I hope they like it!" - W Magazine

"Models Doing Other Things: Ian Mellencamp Releases Sophomore EP today"

Model/singer Ian Mellencamp (the nephew of that Mellencamp) releases his sophomore EP today titled Free AF. Known from his work with Calvin Klein (who discovered him while he was living in Cincinnati), Tom Ford, and Diesel, he’s been making a name for himself as a musician playing regular gigs at Highline Ballroom and The Bowery Electric in New York, and self produced and wrote his second effort. The sound? “Essentially it’s electronic rock, but it’s a little darker,” Mellencamp recently told The Daily. “It’s rock and roll based with a lot of electronic elements. Space rock!” The first single is the catchy “hEaDsOuNd” with the other numbers called (bear with the spelling) “sHoWmElOvE,” “oUtLaW,” “rAmBlInG,” and “aRaCeToEnDaRace (a RaCe To EnD a RaCe).” “I use it as a therapist,” he says about songwriting. “I write about day-to-day stuff, but I also get a little mindful and aware. I try to bring that into what I’m writing about. rAmBlInG is about reincarnation.” How often do people comment on his recognizable last name? “Fifty percent of the time,” he says. “It’s a lot more than I’d expect, but I’m used to it now.” He celebrates the release of his EP with a show tonight at 9 p.m. at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. Head to iTunes for a listen. - The Daily Front Row

"A Model - Turned - Musician Who Records on the Run"

“Nobody uses the iPhone voice recorder more than me,” says the model Ian Mellencamp. “I am that guy talking to himself on the subway, trying to record whatever melody or lyric that comes.” He takes out his phone and presses play on a few saved memos: one recorded while he was running through East River Park, blurting out a melody while on a morning jog; another while walking down a crowded downtown sidewalk, humming chord progressions. “Whenever the inspiration comes, I just need to save it somehow, you know?” he says.

The transition from modeling to songwriting feels natural for Mellencamp: At six-foot-one, with shaggy hair and a languid frame, he simply looks like a rock star. And as the nephew of John Cougar Mellencamp, music was a part of his life long before modeling came along. “My parents had this piano, and I would play it. Not necessarily reading music, but I just enjoyed making the sounds,” he says. “Then I learned to play guitar in high school because my friend thought it would be cool to start a band.” After a few band breakups and graduating with a degree in environmental science from Miami University, Mellencamp began to write music on his own while living outside Cincinnati. “I wasn’t performing shows, but just writing music because I enjoy the process,” he says. “Writing music has always been like therapy for me.”

Mellencamp moved to New York five years ago to seriously pursue a modeling career. “My first Calvin Klein campaign in 2011 had like 30 models in it,” he says. “Then the next season they whittled us down to eight. Then I got a third one and thought, ‘OK, something is happening here.’” Since then, he’s appeared in a spate of editorials, runway shows and campaigns — perhaps most memorably, a Tom Ford ad opposite Gigi Hadid for Fall 2014. “That was a funny shoot — I was holding this baby, and it started to pee all over me,” Mellencamp remembers. “Gigi was right there and Tom was right off-camera being like, ‘This is amazing, keep going.’”

“Headsound” by Ian Mellencamp

Mellencamp’s forthcoming EP, “Free AF,” will be released later this month in conjunction with a performance at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. The record is entirely self-produced, created largely from those spur-of-the-moment iPhone voice memos and spiked with bluesy guitar riffs and his swaggering vocals. “Headsound,” which premieres here, is inspired by turning those “cranial reverberations” into music — an activity he sees as a sort of foil for his day job. “Modeling is so external: It’s about bodies, shapes and images,” he says. “But writing music, for me, is so internal.” - The New York Times

"Ian Mellencamp Chats with Jonathan Clarke"

Ian Mellencamp discusses his career from modeling to music and Performs in the studio. - Q104.3 "Out of the Box" with Jonathan Clarke

"Haute Scene NYC: Lou Gramm and Ian Mellencamp Rocked Out for Charity at Highline Ballroom"

Last week, Wall Street Rocks hosted a benefit concert at Highline Ballroom. This end of year show benefited ReserveAid, which provides financial support to Reservists and National Guard members who are currently deployed or who have recently returned from deployment.

The emcee of the night was 104.3’s own DJ Jonathan ‘JC’ Clarke. The event featured an opening act by Ian Mellencamp. American rock vocal legend Lou Gramm, who is the voice of Foreigner, headlined the event and performed various hits including “I Want to Know What Love Is” with The Anthony Morgan Inspirational Choir of Harlem as backing vocals.

Wall Street Rocks co-founder George Chrisafis thanked the crowd of more than 300 supporters. Sponsors of the event include Enterprise Iron, Broadridge, Altech Consulting Services, Amazon, Intuitive Technology Partners, Clover Communications management, Koufax, Global id, Software AG, Sena Hill, Zerto, and Sphere Technology Solutions. Chrisafis also spoke on the importance of giving back to the nation’s veterans.

Wall Street Rocks is a collaboration of employees in the financial, technology and entertainment industries, who are passionate about giving support to the heoic individuals who has or is currently serving our nation, including military veterans and first responders. Since its inception, Wall Street Rocks has raised over $350,000 for the nation’s heroes.

The organization raises funds by hosting entertainment-based events throughout the year. Each event are designed to bring people together to raise awareness, and most importantly, to raise money to help the nation’s veterans. For more information about Wall Street Rocks, please visit www.wallstreetrocks.org. - Haute Living

"24 Hours in Brooklyn with Ian Mellencamp"

Getting drunk with the band is one thing, but spending a day with them in a new city is quite another. ’I’m with the Band’ is a new feature on Oyster Colored Velvet where I spend a day with a band making waves across seas to find out where the cool kids hang, eat and drink. So forget about all those dull travel guides. Who needs ’em. We’re with the band.

After getting back from ART BASEL MIAMI, I headed to Brooklyn to hang out with the suave and talented, IAN MELLENCAMP. With looks that slay and a name tied to music fame, Ian effortlessly strings together an evocative and wistful sound with some nice interplay between guitar and vibes. The mystical nature of his material leaves it more enjoyable, rather than mysterious. Which isn’t to that it doesn’t have myriad surprising moments. Ian will be performing at WALL STREET ROCKS this Friday, Dec. 11 at Highline Ballroom. - Oyster Colored Velvet

"Ian Mellencamp : A Male Model on What It's Like to Be Pretty"

Everyone is treated a certain way based on how they look. I don’t think I’m treated too bad. Some people, you get the vibe that they just want to sleep with you or take advantage of you. But some people are genuine.

Until I had my growth spurt, I was pretty scrawny and short. I never really saw myself like a model. I didn’t realize it back in high school, when some of the upper-class girls were coming on to me. One of the first comments I remember getting was “You have amazing eyebrows.” At that time, I thought that was pretty strange. People comment on my appearance a lot. Girls especially appreciate the long hair. It’s given me somewhat of an androgynous vibe. I’ve been mistaken for a girl a couple of times. But it has shed some light on what women have to go through — I’ve been catcalled. Sometimes people say things like, “I guess as far as women go, you probably have your pick.” I haven’t really dated many models. I personally find beauty in more than what’s prescribed in the commercial world. People think models aren’t very intelligent. That frustrates me, because there are a lot of artists out there who just happen to be picked up as models, where they were already pursuing something else. A lot of times I get in a conversation with someone and they’re like, “Wow, you’re nothing like what I thought a model was like.” I don’t worry about aging, because I think I’ll be taken more seriously when I’m older. When you’re younger and you’re a good-looking guy, people are like, “Oh, enjoy it, and have fun.” But they assume you probably don’t have everything quite figured out. - New York Magazine


CHICAGO (WLS) -- Farm Aid is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Chicago's lakefront this weekend.

Saturday night, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young will be performing and the all-day music fest is completely sold out.

Country star Kacey Musgraves took to the stage at Northerly Island Saturday afternoon, one of the latest in a long line of artists who over the years have supported the Farm Aid movement dedicated to supporting family farms across the country.

Farmers like Greg Gunthorp from La Grange Indiana, whose family has raised pigs on pasture for over four generations.

"It helps to shape the future, education and awareness of consumers," he said. "More and more consumers are becoming appreciative of how their food is raised, how it's handled and how it's processed."

It's been 30 years since Nelson, Young and Mellencamp started Farm Aid in 1985. Saturday, a second generation of Mellencamps joined in.

"It's an amazing event," said Ian Mellencamp. "I attended it as a child. Now to be a part of it and actually playing music and contributed, it's phenomenal."

For the thousands of people in attendance, the opportunity to support a good cause while also enjoying a full day of great music is simply, the best of both worlds.

Imagine Dragons and Dave Matthews are also among the acts expected to perform Saturday night. - ABC Channel 7 Chicago

"Ian Mellencamp: Moving Beyond His Uncle's Shadow"

Ian Mellencamp is keeping his music aspirations pretty close to home for the time being. While he admits the home to the hipsters is a pretty saturated market, Ian and his 4 piece band are doing a grassroots promotion style tour of clubs mainly in and around NYC. Very interested in Alternative Techno, his self-described psychedelic electronic rock is not quite EDM. The goal is involving synth sounds with an almost rock guitar, drums and bass. Young Mellencamp is on the upswing with a recently acquired agent, an EP, “Visions”, online and a full length album expected to drop late fall/early winter.

The reserved and extremely polite man told us all about his love of Pittsburgh, especially playing in the Strip or at Mr. Smalls before going on to describe a little more about himself. Ian has initiatives that he believes strongly in, namely green movement and climate change with conservation being his most passionate cause. Imagine a person his age seeing the help social media can provide, but fully aware that it can be more of a hindrance. He was honored to be invited to Farm Aid 30 to represent a new generation of younger musicians; it gave him the opportunity to go from “sideline advocate to involved”. Mellencamp was happy to “put my music to a cause”-a feat pulled off with what I imagine was a bit more difficulty than some of his headlining counterparts. When asked what is in his future, the poised young musician said he doesn’t know where he is going to end up, but I can assure you, you will want to be along for the ride. - Pittsburgh Music Magazine

"Ian Mellencamp & Farm Aid 30"

Ian Mellencamp is in Farm Aid 30 line up Saturday, September 19th in Chicago.

We were so excited to have Ian Mellencamp call in to The Green Divas Radio Show (lucky Green Diva Meg) to talk about Farm Aid and some other worthwhile stuff he’s got going on. Listen here, then continue on for more info about Farm Aid... - Green Divas

"Musicians Ian Mellencamp and Jetta featured by Barney's New York (Video)"

Musicians Jetta & Ian Mellencamp star in the new campaign for Barneys New York. - Barney's New York

"Pull The Metal: Ian Mellencamp"


Hi Ian, how are you? Music, photography, modeling, what came first and what do you feel most comfortable with? Music was the first creative outlet I discovered. My father was a musician and he would bring me on stage with him when I was only a toddler. Then my mother put me into piano lessons. Photography came much later and only really once our band was starting to try and get creative with our band photos.

First of all we’ll concentrate on your task as a musician. You are member of the band Isadora, when did you join them? One and half years ago. They were still called something else at that point and we hadn’t added our keyboard player yet.

For the moment Isadora has only launched one EP, how is it going? Great. We have an extremely musically talented band from all different parts of the country. We recorded the first EP after only being together for a couple months. We were still getting used to one another and that EP represents that raw spontaneous energy. Good musicians just meeting one another, each coming from a different background, and just laying some tracks down. We’re writing and recording new songs now and after playing together for a year and half, we’ve developed a style together. We’re able to read one another and play off one another – created out own language.

Besides, you have your own personal project, quite different from Isadora. Let us say it has a sound which is slightly more experimental, it reminds me of bands such as Yeasayer; do you like them? Where do your influences come from? I feel like different influences represent eras of my life. The ones that truly hit my core have a timelessness to them and stay with me. That mixed with what I happen to be listening to at the moment are what determine and form what I’m creating.

I guess having the dad you have must have been some sort of influence, how do you remember your childhood music wise? Was it always clear for you that music was your thing? What did you learn from your father? Music has always had some part in my life – from early piano lessons and school band. Father was always singing around the house. Brought me on stage. Attended my uncles concerts. But it wasn’t always clear that it would be my thing. Sports and science we also very prominent in my life. I played soccer in university for a bit and studied computer science. I remember very clearly the day when I made the decision to continue with art and music – I was very moved by the wars going on in the world and made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t stop playing music – that the world needed help becoming a better place, and that music was one of the best ways to go about that. I made friends other kids who grew up living and breathing music. It was the most raw was to express ourselves. And at the same time is was an escape, a rebellion. What did I learn? Too much to tell.

Would you like to share some anecdote you remember fondly? When my uncle was talking to me backstage and put on a Robert Johnson record. He said, “This is real music.”

I know musicians don’t like labelling things, but give it a try, could you tell us about your music? How would you describe what you do to someone who has never listened to you? Electronic folk rock. It’s part of the challenge but I love to tell a story with the lyrics – each song needs to have an underlying message – like the great myths. I like my melodies to be very forceful and precise, or fluid and fluttering.

Dry Land is your first single ever published; tell me about the story behind the song. Since when have you been with this solo project? I am asking this because, up to now, we’ve only been able to listen to this song, have you any more prepared? I just released my first EP, Visions, last November. It’s a concept EP (I love having themes and hidden meanings within everything that I do) that will have video footage incorporated with it. It is based upon the idea of a modern vision quest. The first song reveals the insatiable appetite humans have – that often we seek something for happiness and once we get it, we realize we’re back where we started, wanting something else. The first song is my own personal example of how that played out at one point in my life. Dry Land is the last song on the EP and is the revelation and ultimately elevation beyond that type of thinking for myself. The music videos will also help to show what I’m talking about.

What are you like when composing? I wonder whether you are one of those composers who take their time and go through one song a million times until it feels right; are you a nit-picking person? Am I ever! I’m a perfectionist when it comes to recording my own music. I definitely go a little overboard with the precision of somethings in my songs – a bit of OCD if you will. The initial idea for a song on guitar may come quite quickly. But the production of it – I compose and play all the music on “Dry Land” and the other songs on my EP – can be a very grueling process. It can be very difficult. But I see that music is my muse, and the pain that I go through only makes the end result that much better and satisfying to me. Does that make me a masochist?

When do you know a song is right and ready, when do you decide to stop, how does it feel when you say: now, it’s perfect! It’s a very delicate process, the listening and reviewing part. I try to be completely present with every second of it – like mediation. I listen through the whole song, making mental notes when something doesn’t feel right. I go back, fix them. It’s such a gratifying feeling to say ‘finito’. I’ve taken this concept, this idea, as far as it can go. It’s a natural high.

Your first concert as a solo artist was on the 27th of October in New York. You should be both nervous and excited, even though you’ve been on stage with your band before, I am sure the sensations are pretty different, don’t you think? I was excited. It was like a first date. With it being my own show, I had creative control of how the show goes, and I wanted it to be as exciting, spontaneous, and special to the audience as it is to me. I love the experience because I get to take part in this creative event with fans. I want us to feel like children at recess/play time.

Now, lets talk about your life behind the lens. On your Facebook page you say that with both photography and video you want to communicate different things to what you communicate with your music. What sort of things? Do you use one medium or another depending on your mood? Definitely. I strive to be in a moment of inspiration as much as possible. That inspiration presents itself in different ways depending on the environment and what senses are most attuned for me that day. We’re very sight based creatures and so I’m naturally tuned some days to the visual aspect of human beings. Other days I hear song after song running through my head. It’s then that I’ll sit at my instruments, or voice recorder, and try to capture them – like butterflies in a net – and it’s not always easy! Plenty of them have gotten away. It’s like the theory of the genius, speaking to the artist.

What ties up everything you do? Obviously you connect it all but is there anything else? Do you see it as part of a whole, a global creative project which takes you through a variety of paths or do you prefer keeping each facet independent from everything else? It’s as I said before – I just consider myself to be an artist. It’s almost trying to make everything one does art. I learned that with meditation and the practice of being mindful. I definitely see it all coming together into one – as you will see with the release of my first EP. There are both music and videos incorporated.

And beside of all this, you are a model too! I am sure more than one out there hates you, even if it is just a tiny bit… Ice T – “Don’t hate the player hate the game”. Or Gandhi, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

Photographers in general don’t usually like to be photographed; I guess it’s different in your case. How does it feel when being on the other side of the lens? I feel privileged and blessed to be able to create and perform and have someone document it. To have someone pay attention to it, like it means something. A word of advice for artist out there – keep creating no matter how many or how little people are paying attention. Creation is the fuel for my soul.

Don’t you think it’s a bit weird? I mean, getting your picture taken by others… I bet more than once you’ve been posing and thinking at the same time how would you take that shot. For sure. Plenty of random thoughts creep into my head at all times during the day. But I’ve also come to grips with the fact that I don’t and can’t know everything. The photographer taking those shots has been doing if for a lot longer than I have and must be doing something right. I believe that we can learn something from almost anything or anyone.

Have you thought of coming here for a gig at some point? Barcelona and other European cities maybe…?

Definitely! I may even sit in for a jam session or two while I’m here. A European tour is something I very much want to do in the near future. - Metal Magazine

"The Setlist: A new Mellencamp launches music career"

With the looks of a runway model and the name of a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Ian Mellencamp may be destined for music stardom.

Mellencamp, who issued debut EP "Visions" on Nov. 5, is a fashion model who's been featured in Calvin Klein, Gap and Ralph Lauren ad campaigns. He's also the nephew of Hoosier rock star John Mellencamp.

Ian grew up in suburban Cincinnati, and he played soccer at IUPUI in 2001 and 2002. During a phone interview, he said he left school in Indianapolis to spend more time on Bluf — his rock band back in Ohio. (Mellencamp finished college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio).

After making his mark as a model, Ian said he's fine with any positive or negative attention that comes with being a new Mellencamp in the music industry. His uncle John, if a refresher course is needed, recorded 1980s hits "Pink Houses," "Jack & Diane" and "Paper in Fire."

Ian said he "never had a plan" to use his last name in the recording studio and onstage.

"I've always wanted to do things on my own and not necessarily rely on that connection or association," he said. "I think it's coincidental that I've chosen to use that name. It's just what I've gone by."

John Mellencamp was saddled with the stage name "Johnny Cougar" early in his career and famously fought for the right to be known by his given name.

While John Mellencamp is synonymous with heartland rock, Ian Mellencamp explores electronic textures on "Visions," a three-song project he recorded on a laptop computer.

"I love technology and electronics, especially when it comes to creativity," Ian said. "I've always dabbled in circuit bending and being hands-on with electronics. I'm interested in what's possible with music these days."

Ian's sound can be heard on the song "Dry Land," and its accompanying video made in Friendship, Ind. (an unincorporated community about 50 miles west of Cincinnati).

"Visions" is the first release for Rocket Tone Records, a label co-owned by Eric Mellencamp (Ian's cousin). Ian said Eric's previous work in promotions for country label Curb Records and John Mellencamp's folk-themed storytelling influence him as much as samplers and synthesizers.

"I don't want to exclude one sound or the other," he said.

To sort out the Mellencamp family tree, Seymour, Ind., native Richard Mellencamp is father to three sons: Joe, John and Ted. Ian is Joe's son, and Eric is Ted's son.

Ian, a left-handed guitarist, is ranked as the world's No. 25 male model at Models.com. He said he views that work as a transition into music.

"I was working full-time for my father's company in Cincinnati (Beacon Electric) for a couple years when I was basically writing songs in my bedroom," he said. "This opportunity to come to New York came up. I jumped on it, and it's proven fruitful and allowed me to really dig in and focus on my music."

Ian said he caught John Mellencamp's performance at this year's edition of Farm Aid in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Referring to John as a musical mentor, Ian said his favorite albums by his uncle include early 1990s releases "Whenever We Wanted" and "Human Wheels."

"It might not have been his most prominent time in music, but I definitely was most aware of what music was happening," he said. "Growing up and watching my uncle perform was great. It was like going to school on how to put a good show together." - Associated Press / The Indianapolis Star

"Ian Mellencamp: American Rock Royalty"

Mellencamp's new EP, "In the Land of the Midnight Sun", is a tripped-out James Blake-meets-David Bowie electronic-based melange of songs about love and politics, all bathed in geological imagery. - V Magazine

"Profile: Ian Mellencamp"

When did you start performing?
I was six years old singing on stage with my dad and his band. The first time I played my own music for a crowd was at my high school talent show. It was so innocent, naive, and fun. I still have video of that! haha It would make for some good blackmail material.

Who inspires you?
Artists, scientists, philosophers, innovative people overall. Too many to mention but a few are David Bowie, Bob Marley, Prince, David Byrne, Bjork, Frank Zappa, Tool, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Jung, oh and my cat Voodoo.

Which decade would you choose to live in?
The 20's. The economy was booming, music and jazz were hot (maybe I'd go to Paris to see Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue) and and my favorite art, surrealism, was on the rise! Then I'd teleport back to now, just in time for dinner, before the Great Depression kicked in.

What are your favorite NYC hangouts?
Watching music in Prospect Park or grilling out with friends on rooftops.

How do you see Ian in 10 years?
Older and wiser. That's my favorite part about age. Wisdom is like a fine wine that you can't rush. I'll live in a community that is 100% self-sustaining, that runs on solar power and has a massive garden. We will also take occasional trips to the moon where we'll have picnics watching the world rotate while we drink bottled wisdom and wine. - Nylon Magazine


"Visions" - December 2013 (Rocket Tone Records)

Upcoming EP - Summer 2014 (Rocket Tone Records)



"Rock connoisseur Ian Mellencamp releases stylistically ground-breaking EP." -NY Times 

 "...sets an example for anyone who wants to fuse influence from classic rock into a new modern sound."   ~Carly Galvin - Celebrity Cafe

     Ian’s unique experimental rock style has become a universal invitation to those he engages as they travel through electronic sounds and into unknown psychedelic realms. His live performances are a tasteful concoction of hypnotic accents blended with his exclusive vocals.  However, his penchant for electronica allows him to transition into a new type of storytelling. Mellencamp’s new sound is a musical maelstrom of house, dance, and rock ready for both club goers and rock fans alike. Completely self-produced, his newer tracks show him venturing closer than ever before into the world of dance music; combining elements of indie-rock, art pop and dark 80’s synth-electronica. His lyrical fluidity with a natural playfulness and fortitude, not unlike Dylan and Bowie dosed in hip hop, allows Mellencamp to emerge into a unique style that is his own.

     His self-produced EP, 'Visions', debuted in 2013 and is just a taste of this well-crafted songwriter, producer, and performer. He released his second self-produced sophomore EP, 'Free AF' in 2016 and has begun releasing a number singles this year with his 'new sound'.

     Ian Mellencamp hails from deep Brooklyn, NY. He has graced the stages of many venues such as Highline Ballroom (NYC), The Bowery Electric (NYC), The Viper Room (LA) and The Space (CT) just to name a few, and is a regular fixture at Farm Aid alongside Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, and many more. This experimental psych-rock troubadour also lends his talents to the club kids, producing electronic music and moonlighting as a DJ at various events and clubs regionally.

    While stage aesthetics are equally important to Ian, his interest in the visual arts extends beyond the lyrical sphere.  He works with fashion houses around the world collaborating with designers such as Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, and Ralph Lauren and is an advocate for sustainability and repurposed fabrics. 

Band Members