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I would lie there, listening to Roxy Music, right next to the record player so I wouldn't have to get up to flip the record over. There would be four or five days like that when I would be completely gone." Upon graduating from Vincennes University in 1974, Mellencamp played in several local bands including the glitter-band Trash, which was named for a New York Dolls song, and he later got a job in Seymour installing telephones.At this time, Mellencamp, who had given up drugs and alcohol before graduating from Vincennes University, decided to pursue a career in music and traveled to New York City in an attempt to land a record contract. Mellencamp has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning one. In addition, he holds the record for the most tracks by a solo artist to hit number one on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, with seven.Mellencamp attended Vincennes University, a two-year college in Vincennes, Indiana, starting in 1972.During this time he used drugs and alcohol, stating in a 1986 Rolling Stone interview, "When I was high on pot, it affected me so drastically that when I was in college there were times when I wouldn't get off the couch.
De Fries insisted that Mellencamp's first album, Chestnut Street Incident, a collection of covers and a handful of original songs, be released under the stage name Johnny Cougar, insisting that the bumpy German name "Mellencamp" was too hard to market.When I objected to it, he said, 'Well, either you're going to go for it, or we're not going to put the record out.' So that was what I had to do...but I thought the name was pretty silly." Mellencamp recorded The Kid Inside, the follow-up to Chestnut Street Incident, in 1977, but De Fries eventually decided against releasing the album and Mellencamp was dropped from MCA records (De Fries finally released The Kid Inside in early 1983, after Mellencamp achieved stardom).Rolling Stone contributor Anthony De Curtis said: "Mellencamp has created an important body of work that has earned him both critical regard and an enormous audience.His songs document the joys and struggles of ordinary people seeking to make their way, and he has consistently brought the fresh air of common experience to the typically glamour-addled world of popular music."John Mellencamp is arguably the most important roots rocker of his generation.