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John Mellencamp Calls Being a Rock Star a 'Pain in the Ass All Around'

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Joe Robbins/Getty

John Mellencamp is a reluctant star.

In fact – in the June/July issue of AARP The Magazine – Mellencamp asserts, “Being a rock star has been a pain in the ass all around.”

The 65-year-old crooner covered a variety of topics in the interview, revealing that these days, his passions outside of music have taken priority.

“Painting is harder on me than being onstage,” Mellencamp shared of his artwork. “I stand eight or 10 hours a day. I used to consider it a hobby, but now I don’t. It’s hard to be taken seriously because I’ll always be considered a celebrity painter.”

Just last month, Mellencamp extolled similar view points about fame in a PEOPLE interview, asserting that he doesn’t like “playing the game.”

“I remember when I was a kid, people would tell me, ‘You have to move to New York because there are clubs and stuff you gotta be seen in,’ ” Mellencamp said. “I was like, ‘I’m not doin’ that. I don’t give a s— if people see me in a club. What do I care about that? What’s that got to do with music?’… I was not put on this earth to make small talk.”

Marc Hauser

Mellencamp – whose tour for his latest album, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies kicks off in Colorado on Monday night – also opened up to AARP about aging, admitting that while he still has vices, he tries to counteract them.

“I lift weights and I run, but my exercise is not about vanity,” said Mellencamp. “I work out because I smoke. If I’m going to afford myself the luxury of smoking, I’d better do something to offset it.”

With age, Mellencamp said, he’s also learned some things: “Here’s what I told my son Speck, who’s always fighting everybody and fighting himself. I said, ‘I know you consider yourself a dangerous young man, but I’m a dangerous old man.’ ”

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“A dangerous old man can use anger to his advantage. He’s cagier and smarter. He knows what he’s doing. A young man just has outbursts.”

And Mellencamp has some advice for the ladies as well.

He advised, “Girls, never trust a man under 40, because he’s still a boy. I’ve met thousands of tough guys, thousands of nice guys; they’re all the same.”