acid logicpresents...

An Interview with Mojo Nixon

Part One

Curtis Armstrong in Revenge of the Nerds


By Wil Forbis
September 16th, 2001

I have to admit, I was a little nervous at the thought of interviewing Mojo Nixon. So nervous, in fact, that I found myself engaging in the Mojo-approved activity of taking a few nips at the whiskey bottle before our mid afternoon phone interview. But I needn't have worried. Despite Mojo's reputation as a blustering agitator and screaming maniac, most of his barbs are hurled with pinpoint precision at political foes or egomaniacal celebrities - neither of those being categories that include beleaguered web site operators such as myself.

If you don't recall Mojo's presence in the 80's and 90's as a musical humorist, well, you should flog yourself. With his then partner, Skid Roper, Mojo garnered radio and video airplay with songs like "Elvis Is Everywhere" and "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two Headed Love Child" as well as inspiring punk band, The Dead Milkman, to pen the lines "If your store don't have Mojo Nixon, Then your store does need some fixin'." Since then, he's formed a new band (Mojo Nixon & The Toadliquors), appeared in films (such as Super Mario Bros.) and established a second career as a radio personality.

Our interview started off with Mojo trying to establish just who he was being interviewed by...

Part One: Country Dick and San Diego Punk

Mojo: So what's this for? What kind of communist front organization are you?

Wil: It's the Moonies. It's for the Moonies.

Mojo: (Laughs) Ahh, the Moonies!

Wil: Yeah, we're back in action. People think we're down for the count but we still got it going on.

Mojo: Still having those big weddings and whatnot..

Wil: Actually, this is for, which is sort of a popular culture web site.

Mojo: Have you got Evel Knievel? It's popular culture, so you gotta have Evel Knievel, right?

Wil: You know, we haven't touched on that yet.

Mojo: Well, see, you're not at the most popular end of culture, unless Evel Knievel is involved!

Wil: Well, we're moving up to that. You start with Curtis Armstrong from Revenge of the Nerds who we had recently; then you go to Mojo Nixon and then to Evel Knievel.

Mojo: Oh, okay, I'm the link!

Wil: Exactly. you're bringing those two worlds together. a unification of love and spiritual harmony.

Mojo: Right on, baby!

Wil: It's interesting that you bring that up, because I do know someone who was friends with Evel Knievel in the seventies. and said he was kind of a dick, actually.

Mojo: Oh, everybody says that. I got a painting from him. Me and Bullethead, my old manager, went to his sister's restaurant in Butte, Montana and she reluctantly sold it to us, while she was muttering under her breath that he's a dick and an asshole and all this stuff. I just wanted to get one of the paintings. A friend of mine plays guitar in Johnny Cougar's band and he came to town the other night. I was talking to him and I said to him, "Look, I got a Knievel. If I could just get a Cougar and a Hitler, I'd have the big three of the art world!"

Wil: So that's John Cougar whose keyboard player was just caught for child molestation?

Mojo: That's one of his old keyboard players. Not the one I know. (Laughs)

Wil: Well. I've been listening to your "Sock Ray Blue" album and really enjoying it.

Mojo: It's pretty good!

Wil: That's true. I'm sure you're sort of partial to it.

Mojo: Yeah, you know, we were talking about it the other day in the van. Most albums, you're lucky if you've three good songs that kind of continue on two years after the album is over. This one's got five or six!

Wil: One that caught my ear that I wanted to talk about was the song about Country Dick Montana entitled, "The Ballad of Country Dick."

Mojo: Right, it's "The Ballad of Country Dick" and it's to the tune of "Jesse James" which is an American folk ballad. So I wanted to make Country Dick into a Paul Bunyun, Americana, folklore kind of character. I didn't have to do a lot of work

Wil: He's a guy you had a lot of history with. He did the liner notes to your "Frenzy" album, and you were also in the band "The Pleasure Barons" with him, but how did the original Mojo/Country Dick relationship begin?

Mojo: Oh, it started out way early. When I first moved to San Diego in '80, or whatever year that was, he was in three of the five good bands in town, and I met him. And there was a whole bunch of people kind of having the same idea all across the country. people who liked Chuck Berry, Hank Williams and Punk Rock. And they all had flannel shirts!

Wil: Okay.

Mojo: And everybody wanted to somehow fuse that together. I had that idea and Country Dick had that idea, as did the Blasters and the Del-Lords and the Del Fuegos.

Wil: All the "Del" bands.

Mojo: Right, all the Del bands. Lots of people had it, the Long Ryders had that idea.

Wil: I remember them. Didn't they do the beer ads in the eighties?

Mojo: Yeah, they probably did. So Country Dick was going to form a band like that. He had a band called "Country Dick and the Snugglebunnies." I used to go to everyone of their shows and demand that they play the "Wreck of the Old 97." The Wreck of the Old 97 took place in the town I grew up in, Danville, Virginia. So the fact that these kind of punk rockers pretending to be cowboys played the "Wreck of the Old 97" was perfect.

Wil: Okay.

Mojo: So I was going to all their shows. And then Country Dick was going to form another band with this guy, Jerry Raney. (The band was) The Beat Farmers and I was demanding to be in it. I was claiming I was going to learn how to play the bass or something. Anyway, I didn't get in it but it all worked out, you know, in the long run. I was able to go off and do my thing. Uhhh. hang on a second, I gotta tell these kids to stop doing something.

Wil: (Laughs. Line goes silent. In the background a loud voice is heard.)

Mojo: (returning) They're tearin' up the porch!

Wil: That's very appropo, because in a second I do want to ask you about the "When Did I Become My Dad" song. But there's one line from "The Ballad of Country Dick" I wanted to ask about and the line is "But that evil Rotten turd/ Mr. Mike Perv/ Laid Country Dick in his Grave."

Mojo: It's supposed to be Mike Curb. But the chickenhearts and Shanachie - who are going out of business, 'cuz every record label I hook up with goes out of business - the chickenhearts at Shanachie made me change it.

Wil: And he (Mike Curb) worked for MCA (Records).?

Mojo: Yeah, he was from Sacramento. He was Lieutenant Governor of there for a while. He signed the Beat Farmers, and when Country Dick would get all drunk, he would start railing against Mike Curb. What had happened is Curb signed the Beat Farmers, but he had no idea what to do with them. He thought, "Maybe they're country, maybe they're rock." They (MCA) didn't know how to promote them, so they just killed them.

Wil: You've also got this song called "When Did I Become My Dad" which is really more of a poignant song than a humorous song.

Mojo: Well, I did get a line in there about the old man butt cream, just so everyone knew it was Mojo Nixon.

Wil: Yeah, you gotta throw that stuff in.

Mojo: Back in '85 when Springsteen did Nebraska and Johhny Cougar was saving all the farmers and stuff.. Wait, hold on a sec. (Mojo puts down phone to deal with kids again. In the background he can be heard saying "What'd I just say? When I say something I mean it!")

Wil: (to nobody in particular) This really is quite ironic.

Mojo: (returning to the phone) Awright.

Wil: So did your dad say "When I say something I mean it?"

Mojo: Yeah.. Yeah, I just found out that my cholesterol is 328.

Wil: You. you're not serious?

Mojo: I'm dead serious.

Wil: Literally!

Mojo: I went to the Doctor with a earwax problem.

Wil: And it turned out to be cholesterol?

Mojo: .And he said, "Well, let's check your cholesterol," and I somehow agreed to do it. So now I have to, you know, eat more fish, and eat more chicken, I gotta exercise and take these damn pills. (no form of text markup can really denote the derision that Mojo applies to the words "fish," "chicken" and "exercise.")

Wil: I've got some salmon recipes you might like.?

Mojo: Well, I like fish.

Wil: .And that's supposed to lower cholesterol.

Mojo: .But I really like deep fried pork covered cheese sauce!

Wil: .That's not quite salmon.

Mojo: .Washed down with some whole milk and a couple of deviled eggs! Now that's good eatin'!

Wil: I'm beginning to see your problem.

Mojo: Apparently the only thing keeping me alive is the fact that I don't smoke. I did this whole thing about it at work, at the radio station. I told the whole story and was ranting and raving about it. Some guy called up and he was all mad 'cuz he'd had two hearts attacks and his cholesterol was only 250!

Wil: So he figures you're due for a heart attack.

Mojo: Yeah, he was mad that I hadn't had one yet!

Continue to Part Two of the Mojo Nixon Interview


Don't forget to check out these recent Acid Logic Interviews that delve deep into the inner psyches of American celebrities and expose them as the senstive artists they truly are:

Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds)
Rikki Rockett of Poison
The Great Kat - female speed metal guitarist
Gerald V. Casale of Devo
Teller, stage magician from "Penn and Teller"

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