Despite years of fame and accolades, John Mellencamp still revels in the simple pleasures. Tomorrow (January 21st), Mellencamp releases his 25th album, Strictly A One-Eyed Jack, which features three new collaborations with Bruce Springsteen.

Mellencamp, who turned 70 back in October, spoke candidly about his life and work to People, explaining he’s remained pretty much unchanged over the decades: “All I’ve ever needed was a guitar, motorcycle, some girl to put her arms around my neck and a stereo. That was it. That sounds like real success to me.”

Mellencamp, who gave up booze and drugs while still in college when he was only 21, spoke about the victims of a hard lifestyle, saying, “There comes a time when you got to go, ‘Okay, I’m done with this s***.’ It’s funny and attractive to be 25-years-old and be someplace high and drunk. But when you get to a certain age, it’s not funny anymore. It’s not cute, not sexy. Nothing good about it.”

Mellencamp, who despite a still-heavy smoking habit, has tried to live more healthier than he had over the years, revealed, “I had lots of doctors going, ‘John, your cholesterol’s way too high and you smoke.’ I’d go, ‘F*** it.’ I learned my lesson after I had a heart attack at 42. . . I’ve walked down the streets of New York, Paris, and London, and people walk up to me and say, ‘You have a lot of angels.’ The first time it happened, I thought, ‘You’re f****ing wacky.’ But it’s like, ‘Yeah, I do.'”

SIDE NOTES

  • Back in December 2018, John Mellencamp‘s latest collection, Other People’s Stuff, debuted at Number One on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart.
  • The set, which was Mellencamp’s 24th album, features covers of older material recorded over the course of his career, includes such highlights as the well-worn civil rights anthem “Keep You Eyes On The Prize,” Merle Travis‘ “Dark As A Dungeon,” the great American ballad, “Wreck Of The Old ’97,” and Stevie Wonder‘s “I Don’t Know Why I Love You.”

CHECK IT OUT:┬áJohn Mellencamp on September 25th, 2021 at Farm Aid performing “Crumblin’ Down” live in Hartford, Connecticut: