Ken Leighton 6 p.m., May 6
Sound description: Psychobilly at its most crass and awesome.
RIYL: The Blasters, Commander Cody, the Beat Farmers, the Pleasure Barons
Upcoming Local Shows
- "Mojo Working" · March 12, 2014
- "We Opened the Bar" · Sept. 5, 2012
- Jam Session: "Mojo Nixon Says, "My Doll Head Is Throbbing!" (Not What You're Thinking)" · Nov. 6, 2011
- Blurt: "Whiskey Rebel" · Jan. 28, 2009
- Blurt: "Skewed" · March 1, 2007
- Blurt: "Nixon Barnstorms" · Jan. 19, 2006
- Blurt: "The Only F-Word" · Jan. 27, 2005
- Blurt: "You Wanna Know" · Jan. 20, 2005
Inception: San Diego, 1957
Influences: Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, the 13th Floor Elevators, the Blasters, the Pleasure Barons, the Penetrators, the Beat Farmers
Mojo Nixon was born Neill Kirby McMillan, Jr., on August 2, 1957 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A part of the psychobilly movement, he is known for his boisterousness, his often scathing critiques of pop culture, and his libertarian political views.
Nixon paired with Skid Roper (aka Richard Banke) in the early 1980s in San Diego. Roper mostly provided instrumental backup to Nixon's lyrics. Nixon and Roper released their first album in 1985 on Enigma Records. Although the album's title is officially Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper, many fans refer to it as "Free, Drunk and Horny." The song "Jesus at McDonald's" from that album was the duo's first noteworthy single.
Nixon and Roper's third album, 1987's Bo-Day-Shus!!! featured the song "Elvis Is Everywhere," a deification of Elvis Presley, which is probably Nixon's best-known song (he later declared that his personal religious trinity was Presley, Foghorn Leghorn, and Otis Campbell).
Throughout the late 1980s, Nixon and Roper frequently insulted contemporary celebrities such as MTV VJ Martha Quinn ("Stuffin' Martha's Muffin"), Rick Astley, and Deborah Gibson ("Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child"). Nixon appeared in several promotional spots for MTV during this period, but the network's decision to not show the video for "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child," which starred Winona Ryder, prompted him to sever ties with the network. Meanwhile, the duo also lampooned contemporary American culture and social issues in songs such as "I Hate Banks," "Burn Down the Malls," and "The Amazing Bigfoot Diet."
In 1998 he had a short run as an advice columnist with "Life Fixin' with Mojo Nixon." Only two columns were authored, and both ran in the short-lived Peterbelly magazine.
Nixon and Roper parted ways late in 1989. The following year Nixon recorded a solo album on Engima called Otis, on which he continued his assault on pop culture, most notably in the song "Don Henley Must Die." Several years after its release, Henley jumped onstage with Nixon at the Hole in the Wall in Austin, Texas to perform the song. Although since Henley didn't actually know the words, the pair agreed to sing "Rick Astley Must Die" instead. When Henley jumped out of the crowd, the dumbfounded Mojo immediately asked "Is Debbie Gibson here too?" Nixon later praised Henley thusly: "He has balls the size of church bells!"
Shortly after Otis was released, Enigma Records went bankrupt, which left much of Nixon's early catalog in legal limbo. In the 1990s, Nixon released a handful of albums on several labels with a backup band known as the Toadliquors. These later albums included songs such as "You Can't Kill Me," "Orenthal James (Was a Mighty Bad Man)," and the controversial "Bring Me the Head of David Geffen," which was ultimately released on a B-side collection due to pressure from album distributors. Also among his later work was "Tie My Pecker to My Leg," which featured lyrics about bestiality, incest, and coprophilia.
In the mid-1990s Nixon collaborated on albums with Jello Biafra (Prairie Home Invasion), Dave Alvin, and members of the Beat Farmers (Live in Las Vegas by the Pleasure Barons). Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, who was a close friend of Nixon's, was eulogized on Nixon's final album, The Real Sock Ray Blue, after his 1995 death onstage of a heart attack.
Nixon officially retired from the music business in 2004, playing his last live show on March 20 of that year at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas. His first comeback was in 2006 when he came out of retirement in support of author Kinky Friedman's bid to become governor of Texas.
In the late 1990s, Nixon worked as a radio DJ in San Diego and Cincinnati. As of 2006 he hosts two shows on Sirius Satellite Radio's Outlaw Country channel 63 ("The Loon in the Afternoon" and "The Saturday Night Demolition Derby"), and a politically themed talk show called "Lying Cocksuckers" on Sirius Raw Dog 104.
In 2009, Nixon was still claiming to be retired, but performing occasional shows, including a mini-tour in 2006 in support of politician/author Kinky Friedman. In late 2009, he announced a "new" album, collecting unreleased tracks, called Whiskey Rebellion.
As of 2012, he’s back to performing and touring regularly, as well as hosting several Sirius radio programs. A Mojo bobblehead doll was released by Aggronautix, limited to 500 numbered “throbble”-heads and priced at $19.95.
In late September 2012, Nixon reunited with Skid Roper for a performance at the 31st annual Adams Avenue Street Fair. “Me and Skid? We haven’t played in 20 years,” he told the Reader. So is the door is open to future Mojo-and-Skid collaborations? “You never know. Cash talks and bullshit walks,” he laughs.
“I see Skid every now and then. People say, ‘When’s the big reunion tour? When are you guys gonna play again?’” Then, Nixon, shock jock to the end, says this: “I’ll try not to get in trouble by saying motherf--ker too many times. I think they give you a three-motherf--ker limit.”