Music News

Mojo Nixon "un-retires" with Whiskey Rebellion

Mojo Nixon's music and the reputation of his outrageous stage persona precede him. The hilariously wrong songs that he wrote with his then-partner in crime, Skid Roper, such as "Elvis Is Everywhere" and "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child" were songs everyone knew, even if they weren't necessarily on the radio. The video for the latter was even banned from MTV. 

Nixon and Roper parted company in 1989, but Nixon kept recording with artists like Jello Biafra and the Beat Farmers. His most recent release is the humorously profane Whiskey Rebellion, which essentially served as his "unretirement," meaning that he will occasionally play a show when he's not talking politics, NASCAR and country music on XM radio. We spoke with the outspoken opponent of organized religion and uptight American culture about some noteworthy episodes in his career.

Westword: Why was Michael J. Fox the anti-Elvis?

Mojo Nixon: Michael J. Fox always played a yuppie twit on TV, and in two movies he pretended to be a rock-and-roller. I don't pretend to be an evil yuppie twit. In Back to the Future and in that terrible Paul Schrader movie with the Springsteen song, Light of Day, Michael J. Fox desperately wanted to be a rock-and-roller. He's not! He is an evil yuppie twit, and he always will be an evil yuppie twit. He can't be a rock-and-roller. People think I can have sympathy for him now because he's sick. Oh, no! Fuck it, I know how to hate. You people don't know how to hate!

Obviously, you're familiar with the Dead Milkmen referencing you in "Punk Rock Girl"?

That all came about because the Dead Milkmen were on the same label: Enigma Records. They were in Southern California on Thanksgiving and they had nowhere to go, so I said, "You all come stay at my house and you can sleep on the floor." Rock-and-roll band, they didn't have no money, riding around in a van, stinkin' all to be damned.

So they come to my house, and I went to the store and bought thirteen Hungry Man turkey pot pie dinners and three bottles of Wild Turkey, and we proceeded to have a big old time. We became big buddies after that. Enigma put this big tour together, and we toured all across the country. At some point, they put me in their song, and the song was fuckin' huge on MTV. Maybe not every day, but every other day, somebody mentions that damn song.

And Wesley Willis wrote a song about you?

Oh, yeah. We played with him a couple of times up in Chicago. One memorable time down in Springfield, Illinois, there was a huge fistfight. A lot of people pretended to be crazy. Wesley was crazy — crazy-crazy. So I thought it was a great honor to be in a Wesley Willis song.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.