After a career spanning 20 years, hillbilly-roots-rocker-cum-social-satirist Mojo Nixon has announced his retirement from the music industry. He will play an alleged final show March 20 at The Continental Club in Austin, Texas during the South by Southwest Music Festival.
"Not too long ago, some kid on the Internet started a rumor that I was retiring or had played my last show or something," he said. "It got back to me and I just thought, "Well shit, sounds good to me!'
"I'm probably already starting to suck and I don't wanna continue down that path.
"I've made a lot of albums and toured for 20 years-it's all been done," Nixon continued. "I made a great album four or five years ago with a lot of great songs on it and no one really cared. That album is as good as I can do, man-I really had to drag it outta me. Since then I've only written four or five more songs, and that was a real struggle."
Nixon is currently happy to just continue with his current gig as afternoon drive-time DJ on San Diego's classic-rock station, KGB 101.5-FM. He insists he means no disrespect towards his fans by saying no one cares. It has more to do with record sales-he's not impressed with the 5,000 to 10,000 copies he sells of each release.
"Well, I know people care, but not in a big way," he said. "The people who like me really like me, and the people who don't just don't get it and never ever will.... They're just like, "Why's the fat hillbilly yellin' "motherfucker' so much?'"
Nixon said even if he stuck with music, he couldn't muster the energy to play more than 30 shows a year. When he plays three nights in a row, it wipes him out.
"And no one cares about the new stuff, anyhow," Nixon added. "They just come to shows to yell out the names of old songs. That's all they want to hear." Some perennial Nixon favorites include "Elvis is Everywhere," "Debbie Gibson is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child" and "Don Henley Must Die."
Nixon's music career has launched him down some strange side-paths, including starring in a handful of "shitty" movies (Super Mario Brothers, Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever and Buttcrack). He's also been an honorary captain of the Olympic luge team, a sometimes-MTV VJ and he once debated Pat Buchannan on CNN on the topic of censorship in the music biz.
One doesn't stumble into a successful film, radio and recording career as a zany outsider-it takes a keen mind for self-promotion. The announcement on Nixon's website all but confirms it's a publicity stunt: "Following in the tradition set forth by entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, The Who, Kiss, David Bowie, Judy Garland, Michael Jordan and George Foreman, Nixon decided to end his career...."
Still, Nixon's pseudo-retirement has attracted international attention from the press and torrents of e-mails and letters begging him not to throw in the towel. He just laughed when asked if it's all a big ruse.
"Nobody in this or most any other business ever really retires for ever and ever," he said. "I've got some really heartfelt e-mails from a lot of very nice, kind people. People say things like, "Mojo, I heard you when I was 14 and you changed my life-I was planning to be a lawyer and now I'm a bum and thank you, thank you, please don't quit.' I mean all that stuff is really great and I appreciate it so much, but one thing I really gotta stress is just don't believe everything you read."
Still, Nixon's claims of being at a creative block are legitimate and it's likely he will be slowing down. But one has to ask: why no farewell to the city where he staked his initial claim to fame in the early '80s, hauling alongside his pals in San Diego's legendary Beat Farmers?
"We'll see," Nixon said.
All we are saying
Paul McGrath with the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) was in town Feb. 25 to work on a documentary about the recording of John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance." They're trying to locate every voice present when John and Yoko recorded the song in Room 1742 of Montreal's Queens Hotel on June 1, 1969. McGrath interviewed Encinitas resident and author Paul Williams, who can be seen on camera in the video.
"They showed me outtake footage they found," Williams said. "[It] reminded me of how very sweet and what a wonderful presence John was during that day and a half." Making the trip particularly fruitful, McGrath was able to score a second interview in town with Tommy Smothers prior to his appearance at Sycuan Casino. "His was the only other guitar beside Lennon's on the recording," remarked McGrath. "We're doing pretty well in tracking 80 percent of the people in the room. We can push that to 90 probably, but the last few anonymous kids will likely never be known."
After 16 years together, Unwritten Law has fired drummer and founding member Wade Youman, according to a news item posted on the band's website. At press time, Youman and the band were not available for comment. Unwritten Law are currently in the studio working on their fifth album. Youman, meanwhile, has his own website (www.wadeyouman.com), where he's posted a rather, er, odd drum 'n' bass track called "Robotman Backslash Comma Earthman."
Post-punk legends Mission of Burma have reunited and will cover "Class War" by former Carlsbad band, The Dils, on the vinyl edition of their new album, ONoffON.
Encinitas classical violinist Reginald Clews releases his debut, Preludium in the Park on March 21. He'll be a soloist that day in the California Consort's performance at the Neurosciences Institute in Torrey Pines.
Local label Can't Never Could Recordings will release the 7-inch vinyl edition of The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower's new album, If You Cut Us, We Bleed. The label is also taking the plunge this month into mail-order music distribution, hoping to become a one-stop shop for San Diego punk and indie rock. The Plot is in the midst of a seven-week tour, riding the buzz created by the current issue of national rock mag Alternative Press naming them as one of the "Top 100 Bands to Watch For in 2004." The band will contribute a track to a Birthday Party tribute album due out on local label, Three One G.
Local popsters Allotic will represent San Diego in the national "Shake Stuff Up! Battle of the Bands Tour." The band submitted a demo to the contest, sponsored by the Got Milk? Corporation and won based on audience voting. They went head-to-head with another band, Of Hearts and Shadows, at the Mission Valley Mall on March 6. Allotic received $200 and advanced to the regional finals, though they won't know if they've advanced further until October.