Retired psychobilly singer, Mojo Nixon celebrated 10 years of being at the helm of the SiriusXM Outlaw Country satellite radio show Thursday with a special appearance in Austin. Broadcast from a makeshift radio control room at ACL Live, Nixon's tenth anniversary party show was joined by Austin acts Joe Ely, Dale Watson, Paula Nelson, Justin Townes Earle, Jessie Dayton, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis and Rosie Flores among others.
Nixon is known for his bawdy humor and bombastic personality on air. The man who once had a hit with Debbie Gibson is Pregnant with My Two-Headed Love Child is prone to loud fits of laughter, off-color jokes and signing off each segment of the show yelling (more like yodeling) "Outlaaaaw Country!" More than once during the four-hour show Nixon mentioned his surprise that he was still alive let alone celebrating his tenth year working with SiriusXM. "I thought for sure I would have gotten fired by now," stated Nixon. Prior to joining SiriusXM he was a DJ at San Diego classic rock station KGB-FM.
In reference to those early days on radio Nixon proclaimed, "F--k Foreigner, f--k Journey... I can say whatever I want over here." Despite his unrefined persona on air, Nixon revealed himself to be an intelligent and sharp radio host with a quick mind. He easily recalled the name of the song guest Kelly Willis directed a video of for him more than 20 years ago. Nixon harbors a well-spring of humorous anecdotes about his touring days at one point declaring, "I did so much coke I was moving at half speed just to match the pace of everyone around me." The man is nimble around the mic and seems to relish his current role.
The show featured a number of musical guests who performed on air in between sound bites. Nixon spent a few minutes catching up with Justin Townes Earle before the singer played an acoustic song. Earle joked he thought the tour bus had driven to the wrong venue when he awoke at the new Emo's on East Riverside Drive. "The last time I played Emo's it was this tiny place downtown and now it is giant building."
Joe Ely read from new novel,"Reverb: An Odyssey" that chronicles a young man in Lubbock, Texas during the Summer of Love when it seemed the entire country was on one side or the other of the Vietnam War. Nixon invited Continental Club owner, Steve Wertheimer, his manager, Bullethead, his bassist, Matt Eskey and Rosie Flores to trade stories.
The radio host asked Wertheimer to relate the story of Nixon's band performing at the Continental not long after he had bought the club. As the set ended, Nixon looked up to see the young club owner holding up a hand-lettered sign that read, "We love you Mojo Nixon." Wertheimer elaborated, admitting those days were not as successful as today. He held up the sign because he was elated at how many fans Nixon attracted to the venue.
Austin icon, Dale Watson brought along his stand-up bass player and drummer, then invited Paula Nelson and Flores to join in on a ribald country tune about a man with a big penis. Nixon howled his delight at the song topic and professed his amusement at being able to put the material on the air without fear of reprisals.
The highlight performance of the afternoon was turned in by longtime Austin musician, Jesse Dayton who introduced a new tune written about his father. The storytelling, folksy yarn about his father's exploits had the perfect amount of rhythm and a good dose of humor. Dayton talked about directing his film, "Zombex" featuring Malcolm McDowell. The Beaumont native shot the film in New Orleans and Austin.
Dayton holds longtime weekly residency at The Broken Spoke, Austin's oldest dancehall. The singer earned acclaim for his solo record, Rasin' Cain (1995) which hit number one on the Billboard Americana chart. Dayton has written music for Rob Zombie directed films prior to directing his own movie.
Mojo Nixon's show, "Loon in the Afternoon" airs on SiriusXM radio weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Outlaw Country. Nixon also hosts “Manifold Destiny with Mojo Nixon” Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NASCAR Radio.