Mojo Nixon, currently, is God. He's got a new record out that includes such bitchin' songs as "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Chile," he's got a couple of videos on MTV, he's got a major part in the new movie about Jerry Lee Lewis, and he's going to be playing in a bar in Scottsdale tonight with his buddy Skid Roper. Which is a scene that is not to be missed. Mojo, you'll recall, is the San Diego entertainer who in the summer of 1986 released the coolest song of the decade by far, "Elvis Is Everywhere." Also on that same record was a song about barbecue. Since that time, he got married at a go-kart track in SD and talked to me on the phone from a Ramada Inn in New Orleans, where he played a concert last Wednesday.
("But, Cap'n Dave," you say, "why is this story about some marginal underground music figure appearing up here in the Snooze section when it should be back where all the Satan-worshiping, head-banging rock fans will read it?" Good question, reader. The reasoning is explained, quite thoroughly I might add, in the next paragraph. So keep reading.)
Instead of running down all the usual Hollywood-stud gossip, Mojo and I gabbed mostly about San Diego. Like every other person in Phoenix, I'll be spending a week in SD this summer, and I've grown real tired of all the usual tourist things I do there every year. I mean, if I ever get splashed on by Shamu again, it will be too soon, you know what I'm saying? So my thinking was to get Mojo on the horn and let him enlighten me as to the really cool attractions down San Diego way.
(I told you it would be a thorough explanation. This is a travel story, man!)
I've crudely assembled our rambling conversation into a question-and-answer format. The reasons I chose this Q&A format are 1) I've always wanted to do a big introduction in italics like this and, B) it's very, very easy. At the same time, I've pretty much totally rewritten all of my questions so I wouldn't look like a total doof, a process that included editing out an incredible amount of "ands," "ums" and "duhs." Some may think this a dishonest practice, but in the journalism business, we call it "great writing." Anyway, Mojo's words are presented intact, exactly as he spewed them. He is, as I say, the real deal.
Cap'n Dave: Mr. Nixon, tell me, how long have you resided in San Diego? Mojo Nixon: I been livin' in San Diego about eight, ten years. Something like that.
Q: How do you like it, sir? A: It's all right, y'know, but it's kinda dull, being the superstar of love that I am. But that's cool, 'cause I'm gone all the time.
Q: What does one do for a, quote, good time, unquote, in San Diego? A: One cool thing to do now is, the Beat Farmers [a highly regarded San Diego pop combo] have got a new album coming out, but until then they're playin' as the Incredible Hayseeds, actually down by the beach, I think at Jose Murphy's [a popular Mission Beach nightery, and if you needed that explained, you're not having any fun on your San Diego vacations]. Their record's comin' out in July, so for tourists lookin' for somethin' to do, they're just playin' some country songs, just tryin' to make a bunch of money until the record comes out. They can't play as the Beat Farmers except when they do these big gigs, but they've got this side project thing, the Incredible Hayseeds, and it's all fucked up. It's, you know, country music from hell. It's kinda like the inside of Barry Goldwater's mind or somethin'. It's just really amusing.
Q: Do you venture to the beach often? A: I go down there occasionally. I take my kid down there, throw him in the water. Scares the hell out of him and he's good for a week.
Q: Are there other attractions one could recommend? A: Another non-tourist place to go is, you could go to where Mojo got married! If you take 5 south toward Imperial Beach, if you get off on the second Palm Avenue--it's the one right before the border, right before Mexico, not the Palm Avenue in National City. You've got to get on down there. It'll say, like, "Next Exit, Border." And you get off on Palm Avenue and you cross the freeway and then you go left and there it is. [To road manager, who's also in the room:] What's it called? Yeah. Fun Farm Go-Karts and Cat Adoption Society. And you can ride go-karts there and you can ride right over the spot where the holy mackerel-mony went down. And you might want to get a cat while you're there. Q: Speaking of Mexico, do you often venture to Tijuana?
A: Yeah, I go down there, but since they dropped the donkey shows, it just doesn't have the same appeal for me. One good thing about Tijuana--people say it's trashy, it's touristy. It's all that, you know, but if you go down there looking for trashy, touristy yard art, especially right there at the border, you can get some pretty hideous stuff to put in your front yard. You know how people put jars of water on their yards so dogs won't pee? This stuff, dogs won't even come near your yard. Birds won't even fly over your house. You should go down there.
Q: What is Jerry Lee Lewis like? A: He was cool to me. He's crazy, you know. He's one of those people that believes his own myth, or can't tell the difference between his public persona and just regular-guy-takes-a-shit-at-the-house. But, I mean, you know, deservedly so, for wondrous things. He is massively talented. But he's crazy. He wasn't a dickhead to me. I never saw him being a dickhead. If I was him I would've been raising hell and asking for more money. Q: How would you describe your musical performances? A: The show is like Jimmy Swaggart on acid on Airline Highway. Q: And how would you describe your fans?
A: All kinds. We get drunk fraternity guys and we get hippie, you know, dope-smokin' earth people and we get political anarchists and just normal people, people who have jobs and people who ride around in Hyundais. We're getting more and more women, and more of a cross section. Occasionally, we do have shows where it's all guys who looked like they just fucked sheep. You know, kinda like an animal husbandry class from a reform school.
Q: Um, uh . . . A: Another thing people should do in San Diego is go see the Jesus Tree. If you're downtown and you're trying to get on Highway 94, you go right at I think 16th or 17th Street. Just ask somebody down there where the Jesus Tree is.
Q: What is it? A: It's a tree, like a palm tree on this little residential street that has a relief, like a ceramic or a plaster of Paris relief of Jesus on one side and Mother Mary on the other side. Q: It's an attraction? A: It's an attraction for the weird, yeah. [Background noise] 17th and H. My trail boss Bullethead says it's near there. And it's crazy. You can, like, leave offerings to it and whatnot.
In addition to his show at 9 tonight at Anderson's Fifth Estate, Mojo Nixon will be doing what music-industry punks call an "in-store" at the Zia Records store at 4322 North Seventh Avenue. Drop on by at about 4 p.m. and get your boob signed or something.
My thinking was to get Mojo on the horn and let him enlighten me as to the really cool attractions down San Diego way.