In a recent interview with USA Today, Mellencamp explained of his relationship with Springsteen, "Bruce and I have known each other since we were kids, but I was always kind of considered the poor man’s Springsteen. That didn’t bother me. I thought it was just lazy journalism. But Bruce and I have grown to be almost brothers, and I love the guy. He’s been an inspiration and I told him, you made me work harder, I’ve gotta compete with that. Bruce was a blessing to me all along. Maybe I didn’t see it that way, but I do now."
He added of working with Bruce on their Strictly A One-Eyed Jack collaborations, "Bruce came to Indiana and stayed at my house. I have a studio (nearby). He stayed for four or five days. Bruce is a good guy. He’s a sweet guy, and I think the world of him. We come from very similar backgrounds – small towns. I think I had it a little easier than Bruce as a kid. I had a motorcycle, my dad was vice president of an electrical firm, I never wanted for money. I was singing in rock bands and playing in bars when I was 12. I was making money. I was the best-dressed kid in my class."
Strictly A One-Eyed Jack follows Mellencamp's 2017 album Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, and his live album The Good Samaritan Tour 2000, released in August 2021. The new album showcases twelve new songs, including two other tracks with Bruce Springsteen ("Wasted Days" and "A Life Full of Rain").
Mellencamp will be celebrating his new album and incredible career during his exclusive iHeartRadio ICONS show on January 21st. Fans can listen and tune in free for a stream of the exclusive concert at 7pm local time via an exclusive stream on iHeartRadio's YouTube channel. Fans can also listen to the show via iHeartRadio's The Classic Rock Channel.