John Mellencamp Discusses Idealism Vs. Realism

No midlife rocker is determined to go less gently into that good night than John Mellencamp, whose self-titled album hits stores on Tuesday.

Mellencamp hasn't lost his feistiness over the years, and he joined Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Wilco, Hootie & the Blowfish, and others at this year's Farm Aid over the weekend.

Despite the idealism that he so firmly holds onto, Mellencamp is also realistic about his chosen profession and his fans' expectations of the set list they expect to hear at one of his shows.

"As time goes on," Mellencamp told MTV News, "I realize that I'm in show business. I'm in f**kin' show business, that's what I realize now. It is my duty and responsibility to play [certain] songs for people. It's like going to see Frank Sinatra and him not singing "My Way." How pissed off would a guy be? They'd be like, 'Hey, jack, you didn't sing "My Way." Give me my money back.'"

"If a guy likes John Mellencamp," he continued, "and he doesn't hear 'Jack and Diane,' I think he has the right to say, 'Hey, John, I want half the money back. I only came to hear that song, and you didn't play it.' So, as time goes on, I'm really kind of getting to like playing these songs [more], because it's sort of like running laps in football. I [may not] like doing it, but I see the value in it. I see the value in training ... And I think the guys that won't [play the hits] are a**holes." [28.8 RealVideo]

The first single from Mellencamp's album, "Your Life Is Now," is currently hitting the airwaves now.