It’s properly after midnight someplace off the coast of Florida, and Mojo Nixon is main a cruise ship stuffed with lubricated and rowdy country-music followers in a bawdy singalong of a music titled “Tie My Pecker to My Leg.”

We gained’t get into the lyrics right here, however the verses contact on all the things from barnyard intercourse to fornicating at a county truthful. “This man simply heard the music for the primary time,” Nixon, 65, and wearing his customary Hawaiian shirt and uneven denim cutoffs, says, pointing to a man within the entrance row. “He’s grinning ear to ear!”

If there’s a protected house for Nixon and his unfiltered model of worldly-redneck commentary and rambunctious cowpunk songs, it’s in all probability in worldwide waters, free from any legal guidelines that will impede his capacity to spout off. “It’s a actual divider. If you’ll be able to’t deal with ‘Tie My Pecker to My Leg,’ you’re not gonna like the remainder of the present,” Nixon says a few weeks later, again on dry land at his house in Cincinnati. “But if I don’t run a few individuals off, I haven’t carried out my job.”

Nixon, a shouting singer, button-pushing songwriter, unrepentant shit-stirrer and, since 2004, on-air persona for Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country channel — which is what finds him aboard the 2023 Outlaw Country Cruise — has been making a profession out of each entertaining and appalling audiences because the early Nineteen Eighties. That’s when he and washboard whiz Skid Roper fashioned a duo and started releasing songs like “Jesus at McDonald’s,” “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin,” and “Burn Down the Malls.”

His 1987 video for “Elvis Is Everywhere,” low on finances however large on go-karts and sideburns, made the 30-year-old Nixon a staple of the MTV period. Soon, he was performing the frenetic tribute to Elvis Presley’s die-hard followers on Arsenio Hall’s discuss present, casting Winona Ryder in his music videos, and filming a sequence of promos for MTV during which he sang just-shy-of-dirty harmonica ditties and smashed tv units on a seashore.

But round 1989, he and Roper (the Silent Bob to Nixon’s loquacious Jay) went their separate methods and Nixon set out on a solo profession. That’s the place The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon, a new documentary now available to stream, picks up. Directed by Matt Eskey, the movie opens with Nixon, using excessive on a wave of what would right this moment be known as “viral” fame, getting into a Memphis studio with producer Jim Dickinson to make his 1990 solo debut, Otis.

“That’s when issues obtained actually loopy. I needed to have a band and I needed to compete with the Replacements and the Blasters and Los Lobos,” Nixon tells Rolling Stone. With what he estimates to be a $100,000 finances, he employed Dickinson to supply, fashioned a “cowpunk supergroup” with mates like Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers and John Doe of X, and, to piss off the accountants, purchased a go-kart with record-label cash. “We needed to have ‘go-kart’ within the finances. Some accountant with a inexperienced visor has to see it and go, ‘What the hell is that this?’”

The go-kart story, recounted within the film by Nixon’s supervisor of 37 years, the chrome-domed “Bullethead,” is without doubt one of the highlights of The Mojo Manifesto

, a long-in-the-works documentary that premiered final 12 months at South by Southwest. At simply 88 minutes, it someway covers all of the Mojo bases: his upbringing in Danville, Virginia, the place he was born Neill Kirby McMillan Jr.; his “Road to Damascus” transformation into the Mojo Nixon character; his devotion to what he calls “uncooked, primitive rock & roll”; and his sudden rise to, properly, actually simply a cult hero. That’s so far as Nixon obtained.

He’s OK with that. “People dismiss me as a novelty artist, or, ‘Oh, he’s a cartoon.’ And that’s fantastic,” he says. “I don’t wish to be taken critically. I’m a cult artist.”

But each cult artist (or chief) has to have a doctrine. And Nixon’s is knowledgeable by free speech and expression. Not surprisingly for a man who as soon as mentioned, “I obtained a boner in Daytona’r” whereas internet hosting a dwell MTV spring-break particular and sparred with Pat Buchanan on CNN, he abhors censorship and predicts this current second of fastidiously watching language is non permanent.

“We undergo phases and this is only one of them,” he says, spelling out a credo that some could disagree with. “I firmly consider you may make enjoyable of something so long as your joke is humorous. And I additionally consider which you can say something, so long as you’re prepared to endure the implications. We don’t want a thought police.”


The Mojo Manifesto echoes that time too. By utilizing Nixon’s unconventional profession as a barometer, it supplies a device for asking, “How far is just too far?” For Nixon’s relationship with MTV, it was the music “Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child,” which they refused to play. For his relationship with the mainstream music enterprise, it was one titled “Bring Me the Head of David Geffen.” According to Nixon, “That was the music the place everyone within the music enterprise mentioned, ‘Hey, Mojo, that is humorous, however I ain’t placing my title on it.’”

Mojo Nixon performs aboard the Outlaw Country Cruise. (Photo: @WillByington © 2023 – Outlaw Country Cruise 7)


Ultimately, nonetheless, there was no lasting fallout for Nixon. To this present day, he nonetheless will get paid to be Mojo Nixon, whether or not on satellite tv for pc radio, on a boat, or, like at this week’s SXSW, on a stage. As Nixon says in The Mojo Manifesto, “Whatever line there may be, we’ve crossed it and taken a shit on it.”

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