There’s nothing we love more than a musician, except maybe a vegetarian musician, which is why Ian Mellencamp is essentially our dream man. He’s everything a Potatohead could wish for: an animal lover, as obsessed with avocados as we are, comes from a fabulous Hollywood family, not to mention way talented and super dreamy. Just look at his photos; what’s not to love? Before his next NYC show is on December 17 at the Mercury Lounge, we asked Mellencamp about everything from his snacking habits to why he’s a vegetarian. Read below for his answers, including life tips from Lady Gaga and Neil Young…
What would be your ideal food day from start to finish?
I start off everyday with a tea and either a yogurt/fruit parfait or eggs with avocados. I typically miss lunch and have an early dinner. I would have Indian food for dinner, which I could eat everyday.
Words to both perform and eat by?
Practice what you preach because you are what you eat.
What’s your new EP all about?
‘FREE AF’ is about liberating yourself and trying to express what that means to you as an individual. I was at a place in my life where I was freeing myself from labels and agencies, etc. when I began to work on this EP.
I finally had the freedom that I always wanted. In its best and scariest way, I was Free AF.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from another musician?
Gaga told me to work hard. Neil Young said to have fun. I think you have to work hard everyday, but you’ve also got to appreciate the journey.
What’s the best advice your Dad’s given you and vice versa ?
My dad came from a poor family. He is a great example of what hard work and honesty can do. I’ve given my dad a lot of advice over the years, but only to find out later that he already knew what I was suggesting.
I’ve probably influenced him most by eating a more vegetarian diet and being more conscious of recycling.
How do you start your day? What is your typical breakfast?
I usually start my day off by playing guitar and singing followed by meditating or going for a jog. It’s good to clear your head first thing in the morning and do something creative before daily intrusions take over. A typical breakfast is a cup of tea and either a fruit and nut parfait or some eggs and avocados. I also love the bagels from my neighborhood cafe.
You never liked X till you tried it at Y…
I never liked granola till I tried it at 5 Leaves.
We know you’re a vegetarian – how did you come to make that decision?
Vegetarianism began as a health conscious practice for me at first. I read a book about singing and how a performer should view their body as an instrument. I became much more aware of what I put into my body. Also, due to some genetic health issues, I was more conscientious of my cholesterol levels and found that eliminating animal products was an easy way to reduce it.
Around that same time I was also studying biology and ecology. Vegetarianism provided the most environmentally sustainable food source.
Do you cook? What are your favorite meals to make?
I haven’t had that much free time lately so I don’t get to cook all that often. When I do, I like trying things that I’ve never made before. I like to be able to provide a delicious vegetarian option at dinners. I usually make Brussels sprouts for holidays and a friend of mine recently gave me a recipe for some amazing carrots.
What do you snack on between sets?
I have a dangerous sweet tooth. However, my ideal snacks are blueberries and almonds. They make me feel light and energized.
If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead who would you have over? And what would you serve?
Albert Einstein, Janis Joplin, Dali, Freddie Mercury, and Cleopatra with the hope that Warhol and Bowie would crash it. Ethiopian food and champagne would definitely be on the menu.
What issues are you particularly passionate about? Why?
I’m an avid believer in holistic health remedies and organic foods. I am particularly concerned with societal dependency on the pharmaceutical industry. I am also passionate about the practice of mindfulness and hope to see it implemented more and more into our society.
One thing women don’t know about men that they should…
Men care more than they may admit.
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
I actually love my city of New York for food culture. You could eat at a new restaurant every day. When traveling, I usually seek out the local favorite spot or find a hole in the wall bar.
In the same vein as the new black in fashion, what is the new potato right now?
Avocado toast and edibles.
*Ian Mellencamp, photographed at Divya’s Kitchen in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.