Mojo Nixon has passed away. Cause: a heart attack. He was 66 years old. Musician, actor, radio DJ, he was on board the Outlaw Country Cruise, the themed music cruise he was participating in as a performer.
“You should die the way you live,” writes his family, and he “died after a fiery concert, a wild night, the last to leave the bar, without taking prisoners and after a good breakfast with the bandmates and friends.”
Mojo Nixon was certainly not one of the great music legends, but he embodied a certain idea of rock, his irreverence, his marginality, his irony. The King of Bullshit, his own definition, was named Neill Kirby McMillan and grew up in Virginia. In the 1970s, during the punk era, he moved to London, then returned to the United States where with the Zebra 123 he attracted the attention of security services for a concert called Assassination Ball, on whose poster hypothetical murders of Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were depicted. For him, there were no limits.
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In 1987 he unexpectedly scored a hit with Skid Roper, Elvis Is Everywhere, a quirky piece, between old rockabilly and new cowpunk, a semi-serious homage to rock’n’roll.
Among the song titles of the duo were Burn Down the Malls, Jesus at McDonald’s, and Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child. Winona Ryder appeared in the video for the latter, but MTV refused to air it.
Nixon then pursued a solo career, with a first album in 1990 called Otis in which he wanted to “compete with Replacements, Blasters, and Los Lobos.” He wasn’t afraid to shoot big, as long as it was fun. One of the album’s tracks was titled Don Henley Must Die.
He also made a record with Jello Biafra, the leader and activist of the Dead Kennedys. He worked as a radio DJ, hosting Loon in the Afternoon on Sirius XM in recent years, and as an actor, appearing in films such as the biopic on Jerry Lee Lewis Great Balls of Fire and in Super Mario Bros in 1993.
“I firmly believe,” he said just a year ago, on the release of the documentary The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon, “that you can make fun of everything, as long as it’s fun. I also believe that you can say anything, as long as you accept the consequences. There’s no need for psychopolice.”
People, he said, tend to consider him “either a novelty artist or a cartoon, and that’s fine with me. I don’t want to be taken seriously. I’m a cult artist.”
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