Strokin’ with Mickey Avalon
There’s been a plethora of white rappers such as Eminem, 3rd Bass, Beastie Boys, Bubba Sparxx, House of Pain, Insane Clown Posse, Kottonmouth Kings, Paul Wall, Rehab and Vanilla Ice, just to name a few. Each has had their own niche whether it was rapping clowns, dancing or straight up lyric-slinger. But none are Mickey Avalon.
The 35-year-old rapper has released just one album, which was a self-titled record in 2006 and included the song “Jane Fonda” that quickly gained national attention.
After a few bootleg songs were released, Avalon played several shows with pop phenom Ke$ha opening and the two even recorded a song together. His popularity soared as he was offered a spot on Snoop Dogg’s Blazed and Confused Tour in 2009.
While working out his logistics to release a new album, he recorded “Stroke Me,” which was a play off of Billy Squier’s 1981 hit single, “The Stroke.” Avalon’s version was picked up by Columbia Pictures and used for the trailer of the comedy Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz.
The Examiner spoke with Avalon via telephone from his home in Hollywood before he hit the road to play shows in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Clear Lake.
How did music play a role in your life?
My dad was into music. He collected the old 45 records so I was around music when I was a kid. My dad and I would go to like record swap meets and stuff. When I was 11 or 12, I discovered rap music. I listened to Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Too Short was already out but I didn’t find him until later on. It wasn’t anything I saw myself doing. I didn’t play any instruments or anything. I did take piano lessons but I quit because I didn’t learn any Jerry Lee Lewis right away. It was all scales and stuff.
What was the first concert you attended?
My mom took me to a Run-DMC and Beastie Boys concert when I was 11 and that was awesome. I also won tickets to see Boogie Down Productions then my dad took me and a friend to see Eazy E and King Tee in concert. It was cool to hear them on tape then come into town and see them perform. I saw Chuck Berry when I was a kid too. Not too long ago, I saw Jerry Lee Lewis in concert. It was probably his last concert. He looked like death.
How did it all get started?
I would always write rhymes in my head, I just never thought I would do anything with them. The way technology has changed, it has made it easier on me. Back then you had to save up a bunch of money just to record a demo. I probably wouldn’t have done that. I was living in a halfway house and going to my friend Dirt Nasty’s (aka Simon Rex) place and recording some stuff. I had to be home early and he would go out and hand the stuff out. I was kind of embarrassed about it because I didn’t want anyone to hear it, but it worked out.
Your lyrics aren’t like others in this industry.
I think rap is the folk music of today — storytelling. Two different stories could be totally different but the one thing in common is their story. Instead of doing this over an acoustic guitar, it’s storytelling over a drum machine. It’s a tongue and cheek thing as well. I’ll journalize pimps, prostitutes and junkies to flip the stones over. I’ve lived through a bunch of things that if you sat around long enough and thought about it you would get depressed so sometimes it pays to turn it around and make fun of the situation you were in.
The 2 Live Crew had trouble rapping about some of the things you rap about, but now your music is embraced by those who called their music disgusting.
I think it’s an even playing field. In general, people appreciate the truth as long as you treat everyone the same. I also think women are more aggressive now than they ever were. Some of these girls think some of these songs are written about them. Like it’s a compliment. HA!
Can you clarify the rumors about your new music?
In a nutshell, there have been a lot of things going on but I finally have new management and everyone is on the same page. I still have to get my masters back from my old record label but in the meantime I will put out some new material. It will be an EP or mixtape along with a video while we are working to getting the record out.
I heard you did some collaboration with Katy Perry, Travis Barker and Perry Farrell. Will those be on the new record?
No, those will probably be on a bootleg record that will finally make its way out.
Mickey Avalon will perform alongside DJ Kid Mac with special guests CB Kings and Evak & Babel Fish at Scout Bar in Clear Lake. Advance tickets are $16.50. For more information, view scoutbar.com.