The legendary and sometimes controversial rocker will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
You've been nominated for the Hall of Fame before. Does that mean something to you?
Being from the Midwest, I've never really been part of the whole New York scene. But it's nice to be recognized. I guess the last 35 years weren't for nothing.
You're a big critic of the Iraq war. Are you still getting blowback from the songs you wrote about the Bush Administration?
I get it all the time. "I'm not going to buy your records anymore." "Mellencamp is too left-wing for me."
Do you have a list in your back pocket of people you'd like to work with?
Yeah. The one thing I really want to do is to get with Bob Dylan, and he and I would paint. He said, "Let's get together and paint" last time I saw him. That never happened. But it would be fun to learn something from Bob.
Have you seen the Dylan movie I'm Not There?
I haven't. But my two heroes right now are Bob Dylan and the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama?
Yeah. He held my hand for five minutes, man. It was weird. You're not supposed to touch him. I thought, Well, I kind of feel like his girlfriend.
Next Teary-Eyed T.O.