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John Mellencamp Says Race Has Always Interested Him

Out today (October 16) is Cuttin’ Heads, the latest album from John Mellencamp. The album is marked by several songs that deal with race relations, including the title track (which features a rap by Public Enemy’s Chuck D) and the first single, “Beautiful World,” which features newcomer India Arie.

Mellencamp tells LAUNCH that he’s no newcomer to the topic. “I’ve always been interested in race: the white and black relationship. ‘Pink Houses’ starts out, ‘There’s a black man and black cat, livin’ in a black neighborhood.’ And in ‘Cherry Bomb,’ I had, you know, a black guy dancing with a white girl-which, you know, in the mid-’80s, people kinda go, ‘What the f-k is that?’ When it was in the ‘Cherry Bomb’ video, you know, I got letters from the (Ku Klux) Klan about it,” he says.

Mellencamp will perform at the Paul McCartney-led Concert For New York City at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (October 20). Others on the bill include the Who, Elton John, U2 lead singer Bono and guitarist the Edge, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, and James Taylor. The show will air on VH1.

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