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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mojo Memories 

Flipping though the new entries on my Bloglines RSS reader, a throw-away reference to Mojo Nixon on Drink at Work sent me down memory lane. Reading through his bio, which is beyond funny got me started stumbling through more than a few memories of Mojo shows at Tipitina's and other venues.

Even better, it lead me to Mojo's Bootleg Shack where there's a 1987 recording from Baton Rouge. I wasn't at that show, but I was at Tip's a few days earlier to see Mojo and Skid Roper. If I recall correctly, the opening acts were The Dick Nixons and Too Much Joy, but that might have been a different bill.

The thing that stands out was that during "Mushroom Maniac" (a call-and-response ode to psychedelic mushrooms) Mojo decided he wanted to jump off the stage into the crowd to try to throw the water bottle he was using to pound out the rhythm through a basketball hoop. He started by working the line "Y'all gonna part," which the crowd parroted back to him, "Like the Red Sea." It took two or three times and much arm waving before we in the audience got the hint.

After leaping to the floor, Mojo took a few throws at the hoop, and then went to jump back on to the stage. He slipped and hit the floor hard. Skid leaned over the stage and quickly said "Uhm, show's over."

After a little confusion, a quiet call is heard: "Who the fuck?" A few voices in the crowd provided the response: "Who the fuck?" "Spilled their beer?" "Spilled their beer." "I think I broke." "I think I broke." "My leg." "My leg." Pretty quickly after that Mojo was back on stage for the rest of a very raucous show.

Two other Mojo memories:

Another evening at Tip's, I got the chance to talk briefly with Mojo before the first act started — he was waiting by the bar for food or a drink or something when I was trying.

And I saw Mojo's with the Toadliquors backing him up during South by Southwest in 1991. He had the audience do the "Magic Mushrooms Dance," which turned out to be the MC Hammer "Hammertime" shuffle.

Blogger Commenting:
Wow, I'd forgotten all about Mojo... took the mention of Elvis is Everywhere in his bio to ring some bells. And I LOVED Too Much Joy... saw them live once and it was incredible.
For that show, Too Much Joy was the first band on the bill (it was before they were signed to Warner Bros.) and I remember they were trying to encourage people to get up and dance/move/do something but the bar crowd wasn't into the quirky poppy stuff, so the band decided to just sit on the edge of the stage to play until the audience finally started moving.
Oh, and I enjoyed Too Much Joy quite a bit; I think I need to pull out Son of Sam I Am to see how well it held up.
Guess I didn't hear about them till they got the record deal -- Cereal Killers is the album I loved. I think I could still sing most of King of Beers if I had to (ahhh, college days....)
wow, you were at SXSW in 1991? that's so freakin' cool.
Cool? Or just old? I was general manager for my college radio station and my music director and one DJ drove out to Austin from North Louisiana and crashed a the hotel room of a record rep (which might have been some violation of payola rules, but we didn't think of that at the time).

I saw a few good panels and shows by Mojo Nixon, Course of Empire, Laura Love, Roger Manning, Dread Zepplin, and I can't remember who else...
And Cowboy Mouth!
Dude, that is some jealousy-inducing commentary right there. Gah. I've never even been in the same city as Mojo.

A few years back, Rob Savoy who was my old pal from the Rocking Shapes and the Blue Runners came through SLC with Cowboy Mouth. Of course, he had no clue I was living here, so when I walked up to him on the corner at lunchtime, it was truly brilliant to watch his face go through about 10 emotions of disbelief. The last time we'd seen each other, he was biking around Lafayette. Unfortunately, although the show was okay (I stood out like you'd expect an uber-goth to do in a crowd full of flip-flop wearing people with *tans*, ugh - I swear they made a HUGE space around me like I was contagious or something) CM was never that exciting a band for me. Fred LeBlanc embodies everything that annoys me about college rock. I didn't even like DashRipRock when I finally got to see them, but maybe they were just done by then.

I'm just dropping names, and doing so poorly, though. You *always* got to meet much cooler people than I did. Ptbptbptbptb.

TOTALLY a different genre, but I think the best new(ish) band to go see these days is called ThouShaltNot. They just played 2 shows in DC this summer, unfortunately, and as their singer just got a job as a professor at William & Mary in the fall, I don't know what's happening with them now. But yeah, if that opportunity ever presents itself, check them out if you can. They are smart, nice, literate, and too talented to be allowed to live.
The saddest thing is the last show I went to was Black 47 (Great Big Sea opening) at Pearl Street in Northampton, MA, way back when I lived up there. That must have been 1997 or 1998 ... argh. We did go see John Pizzarelli back in 1999, but while that was fun, it wasn't a bar band sort of thing ...
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