From today’s “I Has A Sad” Department: Mojo Nixon has passed away at the age of 66. Mojo, real name Neill Kirby McMillan Jr., died of a cardiac event on February 7 while on an Outlaw Country cruise where he was a featured performer and entertainer. Mojo is survived by his wife Adaire and their two sons, Ruben and Rafe, as well as a granddaughter. My condolences to his family. He will be missed.
When I was in college at the University of Georgia (1985-1988) Mojo got a decent amount of airplay on WUOG 90.5 FM and showed up late at night on MTV in strange commercials with his bandmate Skid Roper. He was known for songs such as “Elvis is Everywhere“, “Don Henley Must Die” and “Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child.” All are worth a listen, and FWIW, the video for “Debbie Gibson” starred the actual Winona Ryder playing Debbie Gibson.
My favorite bit of Mojo trivia: he was performing “Don Henley Must Die” in 1992 in a small club in Austin, Texas called the “Hole In The Wall” when Don Henley himself jumped onstage and sang along with him. Mojo, stunned, said “Is Debbie Gibson here too?” Henley was a very good sport about the whole thing — props to him.
My favorite memory of him is from a time (circa 1994 or 1995) I went to see him perform at a club on Hillsborough St in Raleigh near NCSU. I forget which club it was, but that’s not important. It wasn’t the best show — he played a lot of stuff off his not-so-good later albums and, other than Elvis is Everywhere, didn’t play much from my college years. Also, he and his backup musicians were drinking Jägermeister shots between every song.
By the break, he was three sheets to the wind. When they did take a break, he leapt off the stage and headed toward what I assume he thought was the door to the men’s room, or backstage, or something. What he actually did was run straight into me, started to fall down, grabbed at my jacket and clothing to hold himself up, and scrabbled at my chest gibbering something incoherent. Then he got his balance back and headed off in another equally random direction, ping-ponging his way through the audience. (The second half of the show was blessedly short; I’m not 100% sure he knew which end of a guitar to hold by that point.)
I told people later that I would never wash the clothes I had on again; they were wet with Mojo’s sweat and I considered them a holy relic.
Rolling Stone’s obituary: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/mojo-nixon-dead-obituary-1234964257/
Rest in peace, Mojo. Or give them hell. Whichever suits your fancy. Say “Hi” to Elvis up there in heaven for us all.