Rocker John Mellencamp likens Internet to A-bomb

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:20am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rocker John Mellencamp said on Tuesday that the Internet was the most dangerous invention since the atomic bomb, although new technology could paradoxically delay the inevitable demise of rock 'n' roll.

But before then, "some smart people, the China-Russians or something" may have already conquered America by hacking into the power grid and financial system, he warned during a public seminar at the Grammy Museum.

Mellencamp, 58, has established a reputation during his career as a bit of a loose cannon disdainful of music industry niceties. He still lives in his home state of Indiana, saying he never fit in elsewhere.

Famed for such hit songs as "Hurts So Good," "Jack and Diane" and "Small Town," he is also a political activist who campaigned for President Barack Obama. He has also helped Live Aid organizer Willie Nelson put on the annual Farm Aid charity concerts for small farmers.

His comments on the Internet coincided with the release -- in stores and at digital retailers -- of his new album, "No Better Than This." While he said the Internet was useful on a personal level for communication, he worried about its destructive potential.

"I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb," he said. "It's destroyed the music business. It's going to destroy the movie business."


For starters, the popularity of digital downloads, which fans listen to on their MP3 players and computers, has come at the expense of sound quality, he said.

He recalled listening to a Beatles song on a newly remastered CD and then on an iPod, and "you could barely even recognize it as the same song. You could tell it was those guys singing, but the warmth and quality of what the artist intended for us to hear was so vastly different."   Continued...

<p>Singer John Mellencamp arrives at The Huffington Post Pre-Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC in this January 19, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mitch Dumke</p>