How did Sirius know about you?
Jeremy Tepper had a band in New York. We recorded a song together called “UFOs, Big Rigs, and BBQs” when I went there. Little Steven asked him to run this Outlaw channel in 2002. Tepper saw me at South by Southwest and told me I’d be perfect on this new channel. The audience for outlaw country is a relatively small group. It’s for rockers who like country and vice versa. If you like Wilco, Waylon, Willie, Graham Parsons, and Johnny Cash, you’ll like it. The big three artists in outlaw country are Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and Dwight Yoakam. I’ve interviewed them and everybody I ever wanted to except Bob Dylan. My plan is to have Tom Waits interview him and I’d just sit in the room.
I saw you play recently with Joey Harris and the Mentals. Some of the people watching you weren’t born when you guys played those songs the first time. Those were magic years for local music.
I was lucky to be around Country Dick and Joey. We were in San Diego, so we could do what we wanted. In L.A., there was giant pressure on bands like X and the Blasters and Los Lobos to turn out crap. There was no pressure down here. No one gave a shit. There was no cocaine-wielding manager down here to screw you up. We were able to develop what we were doing. San Diego is a cover band/military/surfer town. Country Dick was the secret engine that brought all the people together. He was the really good point guard who made everybody better.
What about the film The Mojo Manifesto?
My bass player in the Toadliquors, Earl Freeman, is going through a midlife crisis and he doesn’t want to get a job and work in a cubicle so he’s directing the Mojo documentary. He hopes to have it done by the end of the summer. The trailer is already done. It covers everything from when I was young and thin and good looking to now where l’m old and fat and don’t give a shit.
How many times do Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors play?
Like, two or three times a year. We usually don’t play unless it’s something special. Last year we played for the Bobblehead Tour. We sold out of all 500 of our Mojo Nixon bobbleheads. We may play for the 30th anniversary of [Austin bar] Hole in the Wall in June. That was where Don Henley jumped onstage with me to sing “Don Henley Must Die.” Last year he said he’s been listening to the Outlaw Country channel.... The Hole in the Wall is a tiny place. Maybe it holds 50.