An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

One of the wild-men of rock 'n' roll has died. MoJo Nixon was 66

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One of the wild men of rock 'n' roll has died. Mojo Nixon fused the fire of punk with the twang of rockabilly and the stage presence of an agitated carnival barker.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

He was a hit on college radio in the 1980s and '90s with a series of novelty songs like this one, "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEBBIE GIBSON IS PREGNANT WITH MY TWO-HEADED LOVE CHILD")

MOJO NIXON: (Singing) Debbie Gibson is pregnant with my two-headed love child. It's a bigfoot baby all covered in fur now.

INSKEEP: Nixon's greatest successes came when he served as a provocateur. He berated a rock legends solo output with this song, "Don Henley Must Die."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DON HENLEY MUST DIE")

NIXON: (Singing) He's a tortured artist, used to be in the Eagles. Now he whines like a wounded beagle.

INSKEEP: Ow.

FADEL: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: Go on.

FADEL: Luckily for Nixon, Don Henley had a sense of humor about it. He once joined Nixon stage to perform the song with him. Nixon told the Austin Chronicle, quote, "I was surprised he was so magnanimous and that he didn't punch me."

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Now, Mr. Nixon was born Neill Kirby McMillan Jr. in North Carolina. He eventually moved to San Diego, where he became part of a duo, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper. Nixon told NPR in 1989 that becoming a rock star was about his only career option.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

NIXON: I really couldn't do anything else. Like, I went to college, and I was supposed to go to law school and all this stuff. And I tried doing that and I just derailed. It just, you know - this is just one way to keep me out of prison, I think.

FADEL: His biggest hit was fueled by MTV exposure in 1987, and it was a tribute to a kindred spirit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ELVIS IS EVERYWHERE")

NIXON: When I look out into your eyes out there, when I look out into your faces, you know what I see? I see a little bit of Elvis in each and every one of you out there. Let me tell you, well, (singing) Elvis is everywhere. Elvis is everything. Elvis is everybody. Elvis is still the king.

INSKEEP: A little bit of country preacher in that delivery. Rolling Stone magazine reports that Mojo Nixon suffered a cardiac event and died yesterday aboard the Outlaw Country Cruise, which is an annual music cruise that he co-hosted and where he performed. He was 66. His family said in a statement, quote, "since Elvis is everywhere, we know he was waiting for him in the alley out back."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ELVIS IS EVERYWHERE")

NIXON: Say, Elvis, heal me. Save me, Elvis. Make me be born again in the perfect Elvis light. That's right, you got that Elvis inside of you and he's talking to you. He says he wants you to sing. Everybody gotta sing like the king. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.