Mickey Avalon: I Don't Just Do What I Think People Might Want
Mickey Avalon is constantly loaded.
He's loaded with clever rhymes and catchy hooks, played by DJs to writhing Hollywood club kids who don't understand that half of the dark memories Mickey shares are actual experiences. When he started out around 2004, he was loaded with the burden of family members dying; of drugs and that all-too familiar feeling of being lost. In 2012's Loaded, he brought us a soundtrack to live out our most debauched rock 'n' roll fantasies, dripping in hedonistic energy and comical admissions. And during our interview, he's loaded with "whatevas" and "I don't knows" as he rambles on about his new EP I Get Even that will be released on October 1.
Anyone who is a Mickey Avalon fan--or foe--knows about the electro-influenced Hollywood glam-rapper's past. Some would say it's drenched in decadence, but to me it's the opposite. Even now with his success, he seems to relish the gritty, back-alley way of doing things. Sometimes it seems to relate more to rock music than rap, so maybe that's where his broad appeal comes into play. 30 years after Iggy Pop described himself as "a street-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm" on the Stooges' 1973 hit "Search and Destroy," Mickey Avalon has brought that same stance to the stage--as well as Iggy's tradition of upholding an underground following early in his career with a somehow sickly sweet yet forbidden lyrical imagery.
But Avalon has paid his dues times 10. You can read just about every other article about Avalon out there and hear about it--raised in Hollywood, sold pot as a kid, became addicted to heroin, lost his family to drugs and alcohol, married young, had a daughter--not necessarily in that order. It would be a cop-out to touch on those subjects once again with Mickey. Almost two years ago to the date, we had our first interview, and he was much more pensive.
I Get Even brings five tracks as the usual outlet for Avalon to peel back the curtain on his desperate yet beloved lifestyle. He's still selling out clubs all over the country with his legendary live show and the raw honesty that helps him turn tragedy into triumph through music. And this Friday, September 13, he's playing at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix.
Up On The Sun talked with Avalon about his oil paintings, his favorite lyrics, his love for country music, and having a 16-year-old daughter.
Last time we talked it was right before the release of On The Ave in 2012. Your album names include your I'm Loaded, On The Ave, and now I Get Even. What is the significance of the title "I Get Even?"
Honestly, it's just one of the names of the songs on the record. And with the photo for the cover I thought that song went best with it. No significance connected with all the other ones.
So with the song "I Get Even" there was no significance behind it?
Maybe, I guess I had to be mad at something... I mean, I guess I had a falling out with some people and it's not better yet, but I would be okay if it was.
I wasn't sure if it was pertaining to the industry, past haters, former dealers.... like, "look bitches, now we're even!"
Oh no, no no... [Laughs]
Tell me a bit about the song "Hollywood," which you've called an anthem for the hometown you love.
After hearing Jay Z and Alicia Keys' song about New York, I knew I wanted to write one about Hollywood. I could've done a song about Los Angeles, since that's where I was born and raised, but Hollywood is a loaded word, that has a lot more meaning than just a town. As a kid, me and my dad would walk up and down Hollywood Blvd.
And now I'm a part of the industry here. I hit up my boy Paul Oakenfold to produce the song, and he nailed the beat. Then I wrote up as much imagery as possible about Hollywood.
When it comes to music, you're talented at making lyrics and vocals that people love. Then you team up with people to make the beats. Can you describe the process behind "I Get Even?"
With my writing process, I don't really know where the words come from--it's just my subconscious. Half the times the titles don't have to do with what I'm currently feeling, I guess.
A lot of it is just, once we have the beat, I match up some stuff I've written, and we match what works best for my style.
Did you feel like you did anything different with this EP?
I feel like...I've heard some people that, like, really pay attention to what works and what doesn't work, and then write it down for future use. They'll try to relate their new albums to their old ones, like they'll say, I don't know, 'I drank this exact amount of booze or smoked this many joints,' and then they'll go back to that place to see if they can get to that same place to write. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Obviously you want it to work. I just try to let go as much as I can and see what I come up with. Quality is more important than quantity, but sometimes you have to make quantity to dig out the quality, if that makes sense.