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Mojo Nixon, Alt-Rock and Psychobilly Icon Known for ‘Elvis Is Everywhere,’ Dies at 66

Mojo Nixon, the psychobilly and alt-rock pioneer best known for his 1987 cult hit “Elvis Is Everywhere,” died early Wednesday morning from a “cardiac event,” the singer’s family announced. He was 66.

“August 2, 1957 — February 7, 2024 Mojo Nixon,” the family said in a statement posted on Facebook. “How you live is how you should die. Mojo Nixon was full-tilt, wide-open rock hard, root hog, corner on two wheels + on fire…”

“Passing after a blazing show, a raging night, closing the bar, taking no prisoners
+ a good breakfast with bandmates and friends. A cardiac event on the Outlaw Country Cruise is about right… & that’s just how he did it. Mojo has left the building. Since Elvis is everywhere, we know he was waiting for him in the alley out back. Heaven help us all,” the statement concluded.

Nixon, whose real name was Neill Kirby McMillan Jr., was an important figure in the development of what became known as alternative rock and, as an early pioneer in the punk/rockabilly fusion genre known as psychobilly, also played a major role in the rise of alternative country.

Born in Virginia, he established his music career after moving to San Diego where, in the early 1980s he teamed up with like-minded instrumentalist Richard Banke — better known as Skid Roper. The duo’s 4 albums, released between 1985 and 1989, blended absurdist and sarcastic humor with country, punk rock, surf and rockabilly influences that stood in utter opposition to the state of pop music at the time.

Their breakthrough, such as it was, came in 1987 on their third album “Bo-Day-Shus,” via “Elvis Is Everywhere,” a minor hit on Billboard charts and a staple on Mtv.

Though remaining basically unknown to mainstream music fans, Mojo Nixon was highly respected by other artists. The Dead Milkmen shouted him out on their 1988 single “Punk Rock Girl,” as did Beck in his 1994 song “Piss on the Door.”

Nixon and Skid Roper recorded one more album before parting ways in 1989. As a solo artist Nixon continued along similar artistic lines, making joke-heavy, country-influenced, foulmouthed bangers that reveled in redneck tropes and ruthless mockery — for instance “Don Henley Must Die,” from his 1990 solo debut “Otis.” Hilariously, in 1992 Henley himself crashed one of Nixon’s shows in Austin, Texas and performed the song with him.

Nixon also acted occasionally, appearing in the 1990 Jerry Lee Lewis biopic “Great Balls of Fire!” and in the 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” movie, among other roles.

Nixon retired from music in the late 1990s and focused his efforts on radio DJing, eventually landing at Sirius in 2008 and continuing to host a weekly show on the network’s Outlaw Country channel until his death.

He eventually returned to performing music, starting in 2006 and in 2009 released “Whisky Rebellion.”

Read on for some of what you might have missed if you’ve never encountered Nixon’s music before.

The post Mojo Nixon, Alt-Rock and Psychobilly Icon Known for ‘Elvis Is Everywhere,’ Dies at 66 appeared first on TheWrap.