John Mellencamp isn’t too keen on allowing folks backstage at his shows.
As the “Hurts So Good” singer explains it, “girls” and what he calls “hangers-on” have been barred from entering the backstage area of his shows since 1991 – when his then-wife Elaine Irwin put her foot down.
“Elaine came out on tour with me [early on] and looked at what was going on,” Mellencamp, 70, told People magazine of his former supermodel wife, from whom he split in 2010 after 18 years of marriage. “She goes, ‘This is not going to go on anymore. No more [random] people backstage.’ I said to her, ‘Why? I thought we were having fun.’”
Adds the “Jack & Diane” performer: “She goes, ‘Yeah, if you’re 15. But you’re not 15 anymore. You’re married to me, so there’s nobody backstage.’ I said, ‘You go tell the band,’ and she did. There’s not been anybody — no girls or hangers-on — backstage at my shows since then. Her advice was good.”
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Mellencamp went on to describe his parenting style as “not crazy” but “colorful” and said he always wanted to have his children with him while on the road. He pressed to the outlet he would set his kids up in hotel conference rooms in order to maintain their homeschooled education.
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“When you’ve been in a rock band since you were 12, you become colorful,” he explained. “When the kids were little, I’d say, ‘What are you guys going to do today?’ They’d say, ‘We’re going to school,’ and I’d go, ‘No. You did that yesterday. Why are you going to school? What are you going to learn today that you don’t already know?’ I was teasing, of course.”
The musician said self-deprecation is what keeps him spry and easygoing.
“I try to make sure that my kids understand how fortunate they are and that they shouldn’t take any of this for granted,” he said.
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Mellencamp and Irwin share sons Hud, 27, and Speck, 26 – while the rocker is also father to Michelle, 51, with ex-wife Priscilla Esterline as well as daughters Teddi, 40, and Justice, 36, with ex-wife Victoria Granucci.