Mojo Nixon's appeal comes from a riotous combination of his rockabilly-inspired adolescent humor and his disdain for icons. For the better part of 15 years, Nixon has laid his cards out on the table. It's all there in the song titles: "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child," "Destroy All Lawyers," "Rock and Roll Hall of Lame," "Disney Is the Enemy" and the classic "Stuffing Martha's Muffin" (about former MTV VJ Martha Quinn). And in his fake run for president he used the slogan "Put Another Nixon in the White House: Mojo Ain't No Dick." One part revival preacher, two parts liquor-fueled rock maniac, Nixon is the kind of guy who's great at parties, but you don't want him as a houseguest. He may have worked with John Doe, Dave Alvin and Jello Biafra, but he's twisted enough to blame Elvis for giving us the Bermuda Triangle ("Elvis Is Everywhere").
Oddly, Nixon's current day job is as a sidekick on a cock-rock radio station in Cincinnati. He also does occasional talk radio gigs on a normally conservative station there. A cross between Jerry Lee Lewis's shouting and Louis Farrakhan's bizarre rhyming, Nixon's lengthy, liberal rants never fail to shock but still make you laugh.
He harbors similarly fanatical beliefs in the ability and function of music to bring out lust and laughs, which is why Nixon's an American classic. His live show is raw and unkempt, with Nixon stomping the floor, barreling through Southern-fried punk and roll and testifying to the saving grace of guitars and guts, especially when he's singing "Are You Drinking with Me Jesus" or "I Like Marijuana." How strong is his conviction in the power of rock and roll and the ability to convert audiences? Don Henley himself once jumped on stage with Nixon -- just to sing backup vocals on "Don Henley Must Die."
Mojo Nixon performs Thursday, December 30, at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington. For more information, call (713)-869-COOL.
Get the Music Newsletter