High Times Greats: Mojo Nixon

A fascinating interview with the highly quotable musician and actor from a 1990 issue of High Times.
High Times Greats: Mojo Nixon
High Times

With songs like “Debbie Gibson’s Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child,” and “Don Henley Must Die,” rock ‘n’ roll wild man Mojo Nixon gained notoriety and popularity on alternative radio stations and college campuses, releasing numerous albums and performing countless shows. In an interview from his palatial downtown hotel room, Mojo shared with Judy McGuire his philosophies on life, love and drugs. The result was printed in the December, 1990 edition of High Times, republished here on the occasion of Nixon’s 63rd birthday August 3.

Mojo On His Mania For Mushrooms

You don’t hear about people getting addicted to mushrooms. You don’t hear about people getting arrested for mushrooms—hardly ever. People don’t eat mushrooms and try to fly outta windows and stuff. It’s a real benign thing and it’s also natural. If you’ve never done it before you might do it three or four times in a month. And then maybe you won’t do it again for six weeks or six months. I’ve never met anyone who just kept doing it. It’s not like cocaine or alcohol. If you do it on the four points of the compass—every three months—I think every six months—winter and summer solstice—that’s fine for me.

It all began with my friend Country Dick from the Beat Farmers. He was always eating mushrooms, but he never ate very many. He would eat just a little bit and just get a little bit high—just get kind of a buzz on. Country Dick always liked to mix and match just as many different things at once. We’d have poker games at his house and there’d be people eatin’ mushrooms, people be smoking pot, people be doin’ amphetamines, people drinking…. You could see it on people’s faces, different things holding court. At one point—he had this checkered tablecloth and no one could look at the checkered tablecloth anymore-because it had begun to not be checkered. It was movin’ and oozin’ and pulsin’—we had to take it off. We had to cover that motherfucker up. So I wrote this song about Country Dick and I think the song was more about Country Dick than about me. Although I began to imbibe heavily and had some really wild psychedelic experiences. I’d usually eat a little bit and then one time I ate six grams all at once. Then, I was talking to JESUS! And Jesus was a cool guy! It took me a long time to get Country Dick to do this. I finally got him to eat a whole bunch on an empty stomach and truly have the head-in-the-dirt-floor thing. He was resisting, saying, “Hey, let’s watch some TV.” I was goin’, “Man you ain’t gonna be able to watch that, ’cause TV’s gonna be way too much information….” Within ten minutes from the time he said that we both had our heads underneath the couch goin’, ‘HAAWWHEEGGHAAAAAWGH!’ with dustballs all stuck to our faces. There’s actually a tape recording of it, but we had to destroy it—it was embarrassing way beyond belief.

It’s the kind of drug you wanna do when you wanna do it. You don’t do it because you’re bored or you’re mad or you’re tired or you’re sad. You do it because that’s what you wanna do. You say to yourself, “I’m ready to eat some mushrooms.” ’Cause if you aren’t ready to eat them—‚just like with any drug—it’s kind of a drag. It has a lot to do with what frame of mind you’re in. If you’re planning on eating all the dustballs from underneath the couch, well then you can!

There was a song on the first album called “Mushroom Maniac.” It’s the song where I beat the plastic water jug—which is not really a plastic water jug—when I beat it, it becomes a sonic love jug.

Mojo On Sex

We spend a billion dollars a day to build weapons to kill people with and then we don’t do nothing with them. You build a car and you get some use out of it. You build a bomb and it sits in some fucking hole in Nebraska for 20 years and then you gotta build another one. Instead of spending all our money on nuclear bombs we should spend all our money on a giant sex farm in Nebraska. There, we’d teach everybody how to fornicate better. It’d be a much more relaxed and happier country. You see some people walking down the street and they obviously don’t know how to fuck—they don’t even have a clue. They’re very frustrated about it and they’ve got some weird anal retentive thing going, so they’re beating their dog or beating their wife. But if people would just learn to loosen up a bit—now that’s where the mushrooms come in….

There’s a lot of people who are uptight about sex. There’s a lot of feminists—males and females—they think if you talk about sex, or you act sexual then you’re being sexist. I think a lot of those people are prudes who are hiding behind feminism. Or they’re confusing prudery with feminism. Sexism is when you’re not getting equal pay for equal work or when you think that all women are just sex objects or when you think that beating up women is OK. Everybody is a product of fucking. Everybody’s got a tally-whacker. People who get upset about that—they’re more afraid of the act of creating life than the act of destroying life.

I think the classic example would be the movie, Angel Heart. They couldn’t show Mickey Rourke thrusting into Lisa Bonet, or it’d be rated “X” and then no one would advertise it. But they can show lots of other stuff—people getting shot, blowed up, guts rolling out of their heads. We can show plenty of destroying life—and once life is destroyed it’s gone—but we can’t show Mickey Rourke and Lisa Bonet going at it. Not that I necessarily wanna see Mickey Rourke’s old saggy ass goin’ in and out—but hey, if you gotta be creating life, Lisa Bonet is someone you might wanna do it with! It’s a movie, for god’s sake—it’s not like they’re in your house watching you! If you don’t want anybody to see you fucking, then close the goddamn windows!

If parents act like sex doesn’t exist, then their kids are all confused and the parents can’t talk to them about it. I don’t know why people are so afraid of sex, it just creates babies. It’s not like it creates nuclear bombs. Everybody is programmed to try to reproduce, though not everybody is and not everybody wants to. When people aren’t frank about it, it just confuses everybody. I grew up confused—hell, if my parents fucked, hell if I knew where it happened! Sex is nothing to be afraid of. You don’t wanna be 14 and get pregnant unless you want to, and you don’t wanna catch some weird disease—fatal or not—just big bumps all over your dick. It’s no different than eating or taking a shit—it’s part of life. Somehow the church got involved and wanted to turn it into some mystical experience—and it can be. But taking a shit can be a mystical experience too—I’ve had some really great shits.

Mojo On MTV

We made a video for “Debbie Gibson’s Pregnant with my Two-Headed Love Child” and Winona [Ryder] plays Debbie Gibson and MTV wouldn’t show it. Because essentially we’re making fun of Debbie Gibson and Rick Astley—”Rick Astley is a panty-waist”—is one of the lines from the song. We also make fun of Tiffany. MTV, in their own swine-ish way, never came out and said, “Mojo, we can’t show this—we can’t make fun of these people.” Because I would’ve said, “Makin’ fun of these twits is what rock ’n’ roll’s all about.” But they just kept dicking me around. They never would come out and say we couldn’t show this video. They’re weak. I’m strong and they’re weak. After the Apocalypse and I’m leading the rebel alliance, will there be any mercy?—I DOUBT IT!

Mojo On Don Henley And The State Of Rock ’N’ Roll

He’s an insipid boring twit. I don’t know if he should be castrated, but maybe spayed and neutered so he can’t reproduce. We’re not even gonna make a video for “Don Henley Must Die,” ’cause we know they won’t show it. Don Henley’s on MTV all the time and he’s got pseudo-serious boring, heartfelt songs. I think Don Henley should wrestle Earnest—the Earnest Goes to Camp guy. He wants to be earnest—hell, let him wrestle Earnest.

I’m getting some backlash from Don Henley, ’cause Don Henley’s this redneck from Texas. So we’re gonna have a fight or wrestle or something. He just heard the title—I don’t know why he got upset, he can’t take a joke—fuck him! It was rhetorical—I meant it spiritually. His wretched swine pig heart…. He said something to the effect that the song had no commercial potential and no one would ever hear it. He implied that he was this million seller super-hit artist and I was this small bug bothering him. I think the tell-tale sign is that Don’s biggest come-back is that [the song] doesn’t have any commercial potential. Don’s not interested in writing good songs, he’s interested in writing hits. And those are two completely different things. The trick, in rock ’n’ roll, is to write a great song, that’s also a hit. Like “Tutti-Frutti” or “Satisfaction.” A song that’s dangerous and wild and crazy. Any fool can have a hit with some kind of Billy Joel sing songy thing that no one’ll remember. Paula Abdul has a hit and five years from now no one’s gonna be able to hum word one of those songs, ’cause they’re hardly songs—they’re dances.

Mojo In The Movies

There’s a Mojo movie coming up—Citizen Mojo. The script is done and hopefully we’ll find somebody to finance it and shoot it relatively soon. But you never know with this movie stuff. With records there’s me, the producer, maybe five or six main players and maybe $100,000. But for movies there’s always at least $1 million and 20 main players and any one of them can stop the whole thing dead. Boom! But I’m incubating on that….

I had to write the script. I tried to get Kinky Friedman to write the script. Tried to get Joe Bob Briggs to write the script. And they didn’t quite understand the form so me and this other guy, who’s a professional scriptwriter, wrote it. I gave him the story and he put it into script form. It’s quite wild—in fact it involves eating psychedelic mushrooms. There’s a scene where you can’t tell whether I’m hallucinating or not—just like my show.

I just did this movie called Rock ‘N’ Roll High School Forever, which is a remake of Rock ‘N’ Roll High School. Corey Feldman is in it and he got busted for heroin the day after the wrap party. I do a song in it: “High School is a Prison,” and I get to drag Corey Feldman all around his little bedroom. That’s supposed to come out sometime—supposed to coincide with his trial I think.

Mojo On Censorship And Personal Freedoms

If you don’t wanna listen to Two Live Crew, no one’s gonna make you buy the record, no one’s gonna keep you from changing the radio station. All that censorship stuff has to do with either wanting to control what other people do—this is completely un-American— people came to America to get away from that. Or they want the state to tell their children, or other people’s children, what to do. That’s not the state’s job, it’s the parents’ job. Parents have to be strong enough to do it. I think this whole idea that 16- and 17-year-olds are innocent vessels of purity is pretty naive—even in the wilds of Iowa. Anyone old enough to reproduce is old enough to start taking responsibility for their own life. That’s what America’s supposed to be about—as long as you don’t hurt anyone—you can do anything you goddamn want! It’s none of their business! If you’re in your house and you’ve got bondage gear on, and an inflatable sheep and you’re running around screaming out Madonna’s name—it’s nobody’s business.

Mojo On The Drug War

Prohibition didn’t work in the ’20s and this War on Drugs ain’t gonna work now. It ain’t gonna work because no matter how many guns they get, no matter how many police they get, the drug guys are gonna get more. This is because of the money involved. They’ve [the drug lords] got a lot more money. The cops don’t want drugs to be legalized. It’s big business for them. They get new ships and cars and they know they’re only catching ten percent. The whole thing is really ludicrous. It is encouraging that more and more allegedly respectable people are saying that the way to cure the drug problem is to legalize. Legalize all drugs, put them under some kind of control. Anybody over 18, if they wanna do drugs, they walk in, get a pamphlet saying this is what cocaine will do to some people. ’Cause cocaine is not completely addictive to everybody. Same thing with alcohol. The same thing is true with anything. That’s the individual’s problem—not the state’s.

The real key to the legalization argument is that everything they’ve done over the last 20 years hasn’t done shit. Nothing. If anything, it’s getting worse. They all say the drug problem’s getting worse—it’s a crisis—so they’re in complete agreement. Their methods have been completely futile. It’s like the flag-burning thing—it’s a smokescreen. There are a lot of real problems in America. This gangster thing could be eliminated tomorrow. Burning the flag is not a big problem. The national debt is a big problem. The environment is a big problem. It’s the general apathy of everyone.

The whole thing [Drug War] is insane. Cocaine is obviously very
addictive to a lot of people and can cause a lot of trouble—but so can chainsaws. People gotta make their own decisions. The same people that think making drugs illegal is gonna cure junkies are the same people that think making 2 Live Crew illegal is gonna stop teenagers from thinking about fucking. Well, you aren’t gonna stop teenagers from thinking about fucking. Everyone knows that. And everyone also knows that just by making something illegal doesn’t cure addiction….

Mojo On Politics

Twenty percent of people over 18 voted for George Bush. The others either didn’t vote or voted for somebody else. And soon, if things don’t shape up, they’re gonna be votin’ for me! And the rebel alliance. I’ll be the first honest politician—”Yeah, I fucked her and it was great!” I’m a fucked up guy, just a regular American guy. I’m not a saint. I’m not perfect. Me and my wife have fights and wrestle in the backyard and throw lawn chairs on the roof. That’s why I think we need a SEX MO-SHEEN in the White House. Push the Love Button, not the Nuclear Button. Like I said before, if we spent a lot more time fucking and a lot less time killing, this would be a lot happier place. To settle America there was a lot of killing and slavery and fighting the Indians and the Mexicans—just a big cluster-fuck. We need to go beyond that into the glorious orgy of the ’90s!

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