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A Conversation With Mojo Nixon
by
Samuel Barker
and
Rayanna Barker

April 1, 2001

Do you ever wonder what you'd do in the face of one of your biggest heroes? Well, I found out what I'd do when I came face to face with Mojo Nixon. I had a melt down. I had an entire interview in my head upon reaching the Continental Club at 6:30, our scheduled time, but Mojo was still eating and wouldn't be back for a while, so it was reset for before they played. This gave me plenty of time to sit and think about everything, which is bad.

Finally we got to speak with Mojo. This was a bit overwhelming in the beginning. I was amazed to finally be interviewing the man I'd been listening to since I was twelve. So as you can guess, this is where I bombed. I totally went Chris Farley Show. I was like "You're Mojo Nixon. That's awesome!" It was kinda sad, but after moving out of the closet that was called the "band room" I was a lot more at ease. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as enjoyed doing it. The Revolution is still alive and well!

Mojo Nixon
Mojo Nixon

Mojo: Alright, fire away.

Samuel Barker: What is the year of your guitar, and are there any stories behind it?

Mojo: It's from the mid-60's, it's a Guild T-100, and it doesn't have a hole in it yet. I've been trying to wear it down until it has a hole in it.

Samuel: To kinda get the Willie Nelson thing goin'?

Mojo: Yeah, it's the same one I've been playing evernight since....well, it's on the cover of the first album and it looks brand new. I had just bought it then, even though it was from the 60's, it had hardly been played then.

Samuel: You have a large female fan base despite your songs being very sexually oriented, do you feel that's odd or do you feel they can get the joke?

Mojo: I like to say I'm pro-fuckin'. Sex is good, and nudity is natural. Anyone that says otherwise is a prude.

...after moving outside...

Rayanna: You must excuse Samuel, he's kind of intimidated by Mojo.

Samuel: Well, I'm used to doing smaller punk bands.

Mojo: Hell, I started out as a small punk band, then I got up to full size. I ate a couple of small punk bands. You know those Green Day motherfuckers, they outta send Paul Weller from the Jam a check everytime they make a song. They ought to say "Hey sorry dude, here's some more money."

Samuel: Who are some of the bands now that you think are worth a shit?

Mojo: Bands suck! I'm sick of music, and bands suck! I don't know, the ones you think I would like. Did I actually buy a CD and listen to it? Southern Culture On The Skids, I like them, but I can't think of another one.

Samuel: So it's mostly the old stuff?

Mojo: That's one of the problems with making music your business, it becomes a business. You're no longer just this kid who is a fan and going to see every show. I've been in a bar every night for the last 15 years. Going to see bands for me is work.

Rayanna: What's with the many faces of Mojo? We've seen you 3 times in the last year and you haven't looked the same once.

Mojo: I really get bored. My hair just got long enough that in a vain attempt to look younger I got the Beatles, Mojo-Peter Nu going. Sometimes I have the muttonchops, sometimes just the goatie.

Rayanna: Well, you were clean shaven in December here and it was just a shock when you walked out. Because we saw you last December and you were like...

Mojo: Fuzzy Wuzzy man? Looked like mountain man v. Planet of the Apes. I just get bored. I'm like a fur barring animal, so it grows really quick. I mean if I didn't cut my nose hair it'd be this long by now (holds fingers 6 inches apart).

Rayanna: Oh my goodness.

Mojo: These are just odd facts that I'm trying to give you.

Samuel: Has the radio station been nice to kinda get you back where you aren't playing and touring as much?

Mojo: Yeah, I was looking to get a job anyways. I don't want...bands like Southern Culture On The Skids, The Paladins, and bands like that doing 200-300 shows a year, that'd just kill me. I'm too old and too fat. I mean I could do it, but it just opens up so many doors of bad behavior.

Rayanna: Plus you still want to be able to enjoy what you're doing.

Mojo: Right, but just drinkin' and whorin' and druggin' and pretty soon you're dead. I made it this far, I didn't get AIDS....I should get an award! No, we play 20-50-80 shows a year.

Samuel: So the Toadliquors have been playing with you since '92 right?

Mojo: Yeah, actually '90. The drummer has been playing all along, and Wetdawg, the guy that owns this bar originally played piano. Earl, the bass player, has been playing with me a while now, 7-8 years. We had a couple of other bass players. So normally when we play here, Wetdawg plays with us, but no where else, maybe up in Austin. We've been doing the trio for 2-3 years now. The great thing about the trio is that it opens up more space for me to talk, extemporaneous pontification. It opens up the area for Mojo to speak his mind.

Samuel: Is that something you did all along or did you just start ranting one day?

Mojo: The original idea was to somehow combine Richard Pryor, John Lee Hooker, and Woody Guthrie. The whole idea was to make everything crazy. My talent is bullshit, the music is just the circus aroudn the monkey act.

Samuel: Well, over the years the guitar playing has gotten a hell of a lot better.

Mojo: Well, that just shows how far I started down below.

Rayanna: What about your degree? You have a Political Science degree right?

Mojo: Yeah, I have a degree and I'm working on my book the Mojo Manifesto. In fact, I got a big hair up my butt last weekend and wrote the proposal and my manager is going to shop it around to some publishing houses and hopefully by this time next year it will be out. I will fix everything

Rayanna: Does it suprise anyone that you're educated....

Mojo: No one believes anything I say anymore. I've lied so much. There has been so much misinformation, I'm like a wrestler, you can't believe anything I say. Fact/Fiction, Mojo/Kirby it's all confused into a big mish mash, that's the way I like it.

Rayanna: What about the revolution? Is that over with the coming of Y2K?

Mojo: No, no. Once you read the Manifesto, you will see the light and you will join the cause and you will smite the Philistines.

Rayanna: What's a good Mojo story?

Mojo: Well, you gotta cue me, you have to mention the pink poodle or something.

Rayanna: What's up with the inflatable sheep?

Mojo: Well, the sheep...we were actually playing in Montana. Bozeman, I think, or Livingston. We're in Montana and we're playing with Evan Johns and Firehose. It's was like the biggest alt show ever in Montana, and this guy says they have inflatable sheep up here, plastic anatomically correct inflatable sheep. I didn't believe him and these guys just took off in their truck and headed over to the next town where they have them in a porno shop or something. They brought them back and they became part of the show. And during "Don Henley Must Die," Wetdawg would start playing "Desperado" or "Hotel California" and I'd punish him by making him fuck the sheep on stage. He had this similated..he'd get a beer bottle and act like he was fucking the sheep and it'd explode and he'd "cum" all over the sheep. Now Wetdawg took like 8 years of piano lessons, and his momma pulled me aside one night and says "I gave my son 8 years of piano lessons so you could have him up there fucking a sheep?!?" Then people started bringing their own sheep, someone had a sheep last time we played here. In Utah they had live sheep. It got out of hand. We had to stop fucking the sheep. In fact, before we played people would be out there, because the chant before we did it was "FUCK THE SHEEP! FUCK THE SHEEP!" And it'd be like before we went on people would be like "FUCK THE SHEEP! FUCK THE SHEEP!" and we hadn't even played note one. We also had the "Sonic Love Jug" too, a 5-gallon plastic water jug, we had this song about eating mushrooms, there was this tribal dance, call and response, but I got tired of doing that. In the old days you couldn't find those things. We used to jump over fences at water companies. One time in Vancouver, British Columbia, I pulled one that was half empty out of a cooler in an office and ran out the front door with water dripping everywhere.

Samuel: Nice! Have you ever done any live albums?

Mojo: No, but we're talking about doing that. The songs exist live. There are like 10 songs we always play. You know these other bands go out and play all these new songs, and no one wants to hear them. We give the people what they want. They want to hear "Debbie Gibson," they want to hear "Louisiana Liplock", they want to hear "Tie My Pecker."

Samuel: That's what I was thinking about after the last show. One album the songs were about 30 minutes, but the set ran nearly two hours.

Mojo: Well, there's a lot of bullshit. So you guys were here when we played here in...

Rayanna: December.

Mojo: Yeah, the night after Wetdawg...I mean, Wid almost killed himself in New Orleans.

Rayanna: Yeah, drinkin'.

Mojo: Yeah, we had to institute rule #5, No juzzling Jamesons

Samuel: One through four?

Mojo: Can't tell you 1-4, it's a trade secret.

Rayanna: So are you guys going to exclusively play here now since Wetdawg owns the bar?

Mojo: Probably, unless he doesn't give us enough money, then we'll go play somewhere else, then come back over here. No, Steve's also our buddy, the guy he's in cahoots with who runs the Continental Club in Austin. It's all intermingled, it's like incest.

Samuel: My burning question is, did we set the bar record in December?

Mojo: Probably, though I think Joe Ely may have played here, but Mojo fans tend to drink a lot. We're you guys here the night we played the secret show when the place first opened and there was no air conditioning?

Samuel: No.

Mojo: Man, it was hotter than two foxes fuckin' in a forest fire. Anything else?

Rayanna: A lot of people describe you as a hollerin' hillbilly, do you get that a lot?

Mojo: Oh yeah, that's what I am. A lot of people who like me and they come to the shows and buy the records, but there are a lot of people who are like "Why is the fat, drunk hillbilly yellin' motherfucker so loud?"

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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