Dirty white boy
Mickey Avalon on prophets, circumcision and partying with Jane Fonda
Published: June 27, 2012
Mickey Avalon could have escaped from the pages of a Bret Easton Ellis novel — Jewish, androgynous, hedonistic and possessing a discerning palate for good drugs, loose women and Smirnoff-sponsored parties. The world was not quite prepared for this scrawny, strangely pretty urchin back in '06. And just as the world was beginning to warm up to his funny, quirky raps like "My Dick" and "Jane Fonda," the guy largely disappeared, save for a few one-off singles and soundtrack appearances. But now Avalon is back with a new album called Loaded, and, delivering more of his Jesse Camp-meets-Hunter S. Thompson persona, Metro Times woke up Avalon from his afternoon nap for a quick interview.
Metro Times: So where the hell have you been? You dropped a classic debut album six years ago, put out a few singles since then, but this is your first full-length in ages. What took so long? We missed you.
Mickey Avalon: Well, I had to get off my old record label and I finally did. It was just political stuff.
MT: Are things at Suburban Noize Records going better for you?
Avalon: Oh, yeah. I got the record out right away, and that's all I was really trying to do with my last label, and it just wasn't happening. So I had to get out of there. It took me a while to realize they were lagging, and then it took even more time to get out of the contract and stuff. But I was working on music the entire time — I haven't been slacking off for six years. It feels good to finally be back out on tour.
MT: When you were recording Loaded, how much pressure did you feel about matching the success of your first album?
Avalon: Well, when I was making the first album, I wasn't even aware at the time that I was making an album. But I wasn't really worried about repeating the success. After a while, I was just so focused on getting the record out and so frustrated it was taking so long. Then when I finally got the record together and actually listened to the new music and performed some of it live, I realized it was doing exactly what I wanted it to do, which was to pretty much follow the same formula as the first record. I don't want to change the recipe. I think that my fans like and expect certain things from me. I think it's OK to be a one-trick pony as long as it's a good trick.
MT: I read on Wikipedia that your real name is Yeshe Perl. Is that the name on your driver's license or did you legally change it to Mickey Avalon?
Avalon: No, Yeshe is still on my driver's license. That's what all my friends call me. It sounds Israeli, but it's actually a Tibetan name. My folks were hippies and traveled to Tibet. It means "wisdom."
MT: You've always been very candid about your past experiences with drug addiction and prostitution. Have you told your daughter about any of that stuff?
Avalon: No. I mean, she's got access to the Internet and she can ask me anything she wants, but she doesn't really talk about that kind of stuff. She knew I had drug problems, but she's witnessed a lot of death over drugs — an uncle of hers died from that. I think she equates drugs with dying, so the fact that I'm not dead or in the process of dying puts it out of her head. But she can ask me anything and I'll tell it to her straight.
MT: How long have you been sober?
Avalon: Well, I'm not sober. I still drink, I just don't shoot dope anymore. I've been clean for about two years. I drink a lot and smoke weed and I'm sure AA wouldn't advise that, but everything is really good now.
MT: Do you still do any street art?
Avalon: I'm still in a crew called Can't Be Stopped and I do a lot of painting at home. I sometimes go tagging but I don't have much time these days.
MT: Did Jane Fonda ever say anything to you about your song "Jane Fonda"?
Avalon: Actually, yeah. She had it, and I went to her Christmas party. She was super cool. I was flattered to be invited and it was very surreal.
MT: Final question: In your song "My Dick," you say, "We've got dicks like Jesus." Does that just mean you're circumcised or does that mean that Mickey Avalon's penis can produce miracles?
Avalon: You know what? [laughs] We never knew what that line meant. It just sounded funny. But then I said to Dirt Nasty [who also performs on the track], "All prophets are born circumcised." I don't think any of us were born circumcised but that would've been cool.
Mickey Avalon performs at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 29, at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $15, $18 day of show; with Millionaires and Ajax.
> Email Jason Webber