Mojo Nixon

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Mojo Nixon
Mojo Nixon - SXSW 2006 - Ron Baker.JPG
Mojo Nixon at Continental Club in Austin, Texas. Photo – Ron Baker (2006).
Background information
Birth name Neill Kirby McMillan Jr.
Born (1957-08-02) August 2, 1957 (age 57)
Origin Danville, VA, U.S
Genres Cowpunk, Psychobilly, Rock'n'Roll
Years active 1985–2004
Labels Enigma (1985–1991)
Needletime (1997)
Shanachie (1999)
Associated acts Skid Roper
Toadliquors
Jello Biafra
Pleasure Barons
The Degenerates
Website MojoNixon.com

Mojo Nixon (born Neill Kirby McMillan, Jr.; August 2, 1957) is an American musician, known for playing psychobilly music. He has officially retired from playing live and recording, though he does host several radio shows on Sirius Satellite Radio and has come out of retirement for one-time events, such as an event to support fellow musician Kinky Friedman's candidacy for Texas governor.[1][2][3][4]

Early career[edit]

Nixon was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He 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, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper. 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 his best known song (Nixon later declared his personal religious trinity was Presley, Foghorn Leghorn and Otis Campbell).

Acting and cultural parodies[edit]

Nixon made his acting debut, as drummer James Van Eaton, in the 1989 Jerry Lee Lewis bio-pic, Great Balls of Fire![5] The film starred Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder, with Ryder also concurrently appearing in Nixon's video for "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child."[6]

Throughout the late 1980s, Nixon and Roper produced several satirical pieces lampooning 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 not to show the video for "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child" 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."

Nixon and Roper parted ways late in 1989. The following year Nixon recorded a solo album on Enigma called Otis. On this album Nixon 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 a new version of the song called "Rick Astley Must Die." When Henley jumped out of the crowd, the dumbfounded Nixon immediately asked, "Is Debbie Gibson here too?" Nixon later praised Henley in this way: "He has balls the size of church bells!"

Later career[edit]

Shortly after Otis was released, Enigma Records went bankrupt, which in turn 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.

The nineties also saw Nixon appear in a further five films including Super Mario Bros. (1993) and Car 54, Where Are You? (1994).[7]

In the mid-1990s Nixon collaborated on albums with Jello Biafra (Prairie Home Invasion), Dave Alvin, and members of the Beat Farmers, including Buddy "Blue" Seigal (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 1999 album, The Real Sock Ray Blue, after his 1995 death onstage of a heart attack. Before his death the two enjoyed poking fun at each other such as Country Dick saying on stage that he'd been "fucking Mojo's Mama" which led to Nixon to retort: "Country Dick can keep on fucking my mama, as long as he keeps on sucking my dick".

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.

Politics[edit]

Nixon is an ardent supporter of free file sharing of recordings in MP3 and other formats. He once publicly declared his support because he said he's "not an asshole like Metallica."[citation needed] In October 2009, several of his albums were available free on Amazon.com in mp3 format for a limited time as part of a promotion for his CD Whiskey Rebellion.

A supporter of the Libertarian Party, he has a degree in political science and history from Miami University in Ohio. He was also the honorary captain of the United States luge team at the 1998 Winter Olympics.[8]

Post-musical career[edit]

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 Kinky Friedman's bid to become governor of Texas. As Nixon said at the time, "If supporting Kinky for Governor is what it takes to drag my ass out of retirement, consider my ass dragged."

In the late 1990s Nixon worked as a radio DJ in San Diego (on KGB-FM) and Cincinnati (on WEBN-FM). As of 2008 he hosts three shows on Sirius Satellite Radio: The Loon in the Afternoon on Outlaw Country (channel 60), the NASCAR-themed Mojo Nixon's Manifold Destiny on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio (channel 128) and the politically themed Lyin' Cocksuckers[9] on Raw Dog Comedy (channel 99). In October 2005, Mojo Nixon began appearing on the Sirius Howard 100 channel as the “General Manager.”

"Unretired"[edit]

In October 2009, he announced his "unretirement" on his website with the release of his album Whiskey Rebellion, a collection of previously unreleased tracks he claims he had found in "an old shoe box full of cassette tapes" under his front porch.[10] To promote the CD, he announced the temporary free downloads of the CD tracks and several of his solo albums (and albums with Skid Roper) on Amazon.com, along with a tour of several Texas locations. In a press release, he stated,

Can't wait for Washington to fix the economy. We must take bold action now. If I make the new album free and my entire catalog free it will stimulate the economy. It might even over-stimulate the economy. History has shown than when people listen to my music, money tends to flow to bartenders, race tracks, late night greasy spoons, bail bondsman, go kart tracks, tractor pulls, football games, peep shows and several black market vices. My music causes itches that it usually takes some money to scratch.[10]

Cultural references[edit]

Mojo Nixon is mentioned in four songs:

In the final episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike Nelson has a suitcase monogrammed with the initials M.N., which he says he bought at Mojo Nixon's garage sale.

Discography[edit]

With Skid Roper

Solo

  • Otis (1990)
  • Mojo Nixon Live at The Casbah 12/28/2003 (2003) {MP3 Only Release}
  • Whiskey Rebellion (2009)

With the Toadliquors

Other

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart position Album
US Modern Rock
1989 Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child” (with Skid Roper) 16 Root Hog or Die
1990 “Don Henley Must Die” 20 Otis

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]