Mellenheads invade Huntington


Ryan Fischer

John Mellencamp fans line up Wednesday outside the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center on Fourth Avenue. Mellencamp came to Huntington on his Plain Spoken Tour, which will move on to Mount Pleasant, Michigan on its next stop.

John Mellencamp’s tour triggered a migration of fans from across the U.S. to land on Huntington’s Fourth Avenue Wednesday.

Dedication is the name of the game when it comes to fans who have followed musicians for as long as Mellencamp has been a superstar and the Mellenheads set the standard for this musicians entourage.

“We both have his autograph tattooed on our bodies,” Mellenhead Christine Herndon said.

Herndon, who traveled to the Midwest from California, received a new forearm tattoo on the night of the Keith Albee show reading “the crazy one” in Mellencamp’s handwriting.

“It never gets old.” Herndon said. “It’s the same show every time and it never gets old. I mean he walks out on stage and the lights go down and that’s what its all about.”

This stop on the tour is Herndon’s 192nd time seeing Mellencamp perform since becoming a fan at 15 and the 80th of her local friend Jane Shawver.

Shawver, a Mellenhead from Columbus, Ohio, said their group had just left a show from the Plain Spoken tour in Muncie, Indiana Tuesday night and they will travel to Wheeling, West Virginia for Mellencamp’s next show.

The group met up through Mellencamp’s fan club, which still has members from across the U.S. that have maintained contact and tour regionally together.

Radiology major Bethany Legge worked a shift a The Bodega while people crowded 4th Avenue, waiting for the Keith Albee’s doors to open.

“A lot of people have been in here because of the show,” Legge said.

The Bodega played host to an extra helping of customers while Mellencamp’s fans sought wine and beer to pair with the show.

“I know my parents like him a lot,” Legge said. “I’ve heard his music and its good, I just don’t know enough about it to name off any songs.”

Although Mellencamp drew a crowd to Huntington, Marshall students were far and few between in the flood of long time followers.

Hurricane resident Stacey Drehobl said as natives of Indiana, she and her husband are “lifelong” fans.

“We’re in it for a little bit of everything,” Drehobl said, “We’ve been fans since, well, forever.”

Ryan Fischer can be contacted at [email protected].