News Roundup: Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan, Mel McDaniel

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Despite the massive headache U2’s Broadway debut Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark has turned out to be, John Mellencamp and author Stephen King are going forward with their plans for their own musical. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, described as a “riveting Southern gothic musical” concerning a trio of dead children in the late ’50s, will debut in Atlanta next April. T-Bone Burnett will provide musical direction; Mellencamp wrote the score. Let’s hope there’s no wire work required.

Bruce Springsteen’s not just a songwriter — he can also write a mean thank you note. Springsteen penned a letter to his “hometown newspaper,” the Asbury Park Press, responding to their March 27 cover story on shrinking budgets and rising poverty. Read the Colt Neck, New Jersey resident’s letter here.

It’s the Super Bowl of hippiedom — jam band kings Phish will once again throw their own festival, Super Ball IX, this summer in Watkins Glen, New York. Tickets for the summer throwdown (July 1-3) will go for 200 dollars, and will be available here on April 4. The Vermont rockers will release their first live vinyl album, Two Soundchecks, for Record Store Day on April 16.

On April 26, two classic Bob Dylan documentaries will make their Blu-ray debut:The Other Side Of The Mirror – Bob Dylan Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 and seminal rock doc Don’t Look Back. The latest version of Don’t Look Back will contain a new, exclusive interview with director D.A Pennebaker and rock scribe Greil Marcus.

Don’t expect to be reading about Billy Joel’s adventures with driving and trees any time soon. HarperCollins says the Piano Man has backed out of his $3 million dollar contract to release his memoir, “The Book Of Joel,” which the publishing company acquired in 2008. Joel told the Associated Press that working on the book made him realize he was “not all that interested in talking about the past.”

Country artist and Grand Ole Opry member Mel McDaniel, the man behind the no. 1 hit “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On,” died March 31 at the age of 68. McDaniel was known for such songs as “Gentle To Your Senses,” “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Stand Up,” “Anger and Tears,” and “I Call It Love.”

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One More Round: A Q&A With Josh Thompson