August 16th, for me at least, makes me think of three people: the new Queen of the Teens, my niece, Jennifer, who turned 13 today (8.16.2016); the Queen of Pop, Madonna, who turns 58 today; and, the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, who passed away 39 years ago today at the young age of 42.
As much as I love Madonna and her work (apart from the last couple of releases, anyway), there’s one song that’s preventing me from posting a Madonna “song of the day” today – “Elvis Is Everywhere” by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper.
North Carolina-born Mojo Nixon (real name Neill Kirby McMillan, Jr.) got his start in the first half of the 80s collaborating with his future music partner-in-crime, Skid Roper (real name Richard Banke). They specialized in Psychobilly music, which is a marriage-of-sorts of Punk, Rock, Rockabilly and R&B. Their 1985 debut album, MOJO NIXON AND SKID ROPER, featured the original version of the Alt-Rock gem, “Jesus At McDonald’s.”
A couple years later, in 1987, on their fourth album together, they released BO-DAY-SHUS!!!, which featured what has prolly become their best-known song, “Elvis Is Everywhere” (their own personal tribute to The King).
When Mojo and Skid weren’t singing about their hero, they were releasing songs about other musicians and other folks in the music field that you prolly wouldn’t consider tributes: his 1995 album, WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN, features a cover of The Smiths’ 1987 song, “Girlfriend In A Coma,” where Mojo actually makes fun of Morrissey in the song; 1989’s “Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child” (featuring Winona Ryder in the video); “Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin” (about MTV’s Martha Quinn); and, “Don Henley Must Die” from Mojo’s solo 1990 album, OTIS. Of the song, Don Henley said, “Personally, I think the boy just needs a good laxative.” Several years later, Don Henley joined Mojo Nixon at a show in Austin, Texas, and a very surprised Mojo said, “Is Debbie Gibson here too?” Mojo and Don performed an alternate tongue-in-cheek version of the song, called, “Rick Astley Must Die.” Of that moment, Mojo Nixon said of Don Henley, “He has balls the size of church bells!”
Mojo Nixon officially retired from the music business in 2004, though occasionally coming out for a show, and hosting a radio program on Sirius Satellite Radio. The retirement lasted five years, and in 2009, he released the album, WHISKEY REBELLION (his last album to date). If I had ever gotten an interview with Mojo at some point, I would have loved to ask him one question in particular (and a question he prolly got all the time) about “Elvis Is Everywhere”: does he really still think Michael J. Fox has no Elvis in him? (Through some interweb research, at last check, Mojo definitely still thinks Michael is the Anti-Elvis…)
Speaking of today’s wonderful “song of the day,” sure, in the song, Mojo mispronounces Bermuda, confuses Mr. Spock of STAR TREK with pediatrician and author Dr. Benjamin Spock, and yeah, maybe 29 years later, “Elvis is in Joan Rivers” and “Elvis is in your mom” sounds dirty and inappropriate, but honestly, when it comes to paying tribute to Elvis Presley, there’s no other song for me than this high-spirited and really fun classic that really comes close…
Thank you, Elvis. Thank you Mojo and Skid. And thank you, ma’am…