John Mellencamp Exits Columbia Records

John Mellencamp has amicably parted company with Columbia Records, with whom he issued his past two studio albums. "It was a good arrangement at a good time," Mellencamp says in a statement, "because

John Mellencamp has amicably parted company with Columbia Records, with whom he issued his past two studio albums. "It was a good arrangement at a good time," Mellencamp says in a statement, "because the company I had been associated with for 20 years, Mercury/Polygram, was passing into history, and my former manager, Tommy Mottola was at Sony, so the fit was a helpful one. Now, with the whole business in transition, it'd be nice to explore more options."

Mellencamp's two sets for Columbia, a 1998 self-titled effort and last year's "Cuttin' Heads," sold a combined 928,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Soundscan. They spawned the hits "Your Life Is Now" and "Peaceful World" featuring India.Arie, both of which reached the top-15 of Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart.

The 2001 Billboard Century Award winner is currently working on a career-spanning boxed set, "Nothing Like We Planned," due by the end of the year on Universal and promised to include a wealth of previously unavailable tracks. A comprehensive DVD is also being compiled, featuring archival footage, a performance segment, and additional unreleased songs. In addition, he is nearing completion on his stage musical in collaboration with author Stephen King.

The artist says he's been approached by various labels but that he's "only interested in doing things I haven't ever done before. For me, frankly, that's the way I've always preferred it."

Amid all of these projects, Mellencamp has a month-long summer tour on the schedule, beginning July 3 outside Pittsburgh and wrapping Aug. 3 in Las Vegas.

Here are Mellencamp's summer tour dates:

July 3: Burgettstown, Pa. (Post-Gazette Pavilion)
July 5: Milwaukee (Marcus Amphitheatre)
July 6-7: St. Paul, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center)
July 9: Clarkston, Mich. (DTE Energy Music Theatre)
July 10: Columbus, Ohio (Polaris Amphitheatre)
July 12: Noblesville, Ind. (Verizon Wireless Music Center)
July 13: Tinley Park, Ill. (Tweeter Center)
July 15: Cincinnati (Riverbend Music Center)
July 17: Uncasville, Conn. (Mohegan Sun Casino)
July 18: Mansfield, Mass. (Tweeter Center)
July 20: Wantagh, N.Y. (Jones Beach)
July 21: Holmdel, N.J. (P.N.C. Bank Arts Center)
July 23: Atlanta (HiFi Buys Amphitheatre)
July 25: West Palm Beach, Fla. (Mars Music Amphitheatre)
July 28: Bonner Springs, Kan. (Sandstone Amphitheatre)
July 30: Denver (Fiddler's Green)
Aug. 2: Los Angeles (Staples Center)
Aug. 3: Las Vegas (Aladdin Hotel & Casino)
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