His two current concerns, however, are a showing of his paintings coming up in November and a Broadway production he's been working on for years with horror writer Stephen King.
"We're trying to get to the stage in the next year. That's really what my focus had been," he says. "We had our first read-through about three months ago in New York. We're going to have another read-through before the first of the year. And then hopefully make some final changes, put it out and see if we can get it made."
As the pairing might suggest, fans shouldn't expect the typical Broadway production.
"The musical takes place in the present day but also in 1948, '49 and 1950. It takes place in Mississippi," he says. "I'm able to write a lot of blues songs, a lot of zydeco-type material. The songs aren't traditional Broadway songs. Steve and I hope we're making something for Broadway that they've never seen before. It's a dramatic show with music."
Both have long had an affinity for the era of music from the '30s to the '60s.
"The best music ever made, as far as rock and blues and folk, came from that era. Songs that Robert Johnson had written, songs that Bob Dylan was just starting to write," Mellencamp says. "There was so much a wealth of material in that society and culture and time period.
"As time went on and people got involved with record companies and radio stations and yakkity yak - the further we got away from the originals, the worse it got."
Thanks to Rocky Wood.