May 31st, 2012, 8:52 am · · posted by KELLI SKYE FADROSKI, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
It has been almost six years since L.A. rapper Mickey Avalon released an album. The 36-year-old says he struggled with his former label, Interscope Records, to release a follow-up to his self-titled debut, which spawned several hits including “Jane Fonda,” “Mr. Right” and “My Dick,” a hidden track that went viral and was later featured in the film Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.
After finally breaking free, Avalon has found a new home with Suburban Noize Records and on April 24 released his sophomore effort, Loaded. He immediately booked a tour to finally share some of the tracks live that he had been sitting on. He stops by the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on June 6.
I caught up with Avalon for a quick phone chat as he was driving somewhere around Orange County, trying to find a parking spot. It wasn’t entirely clear what he was doing or where he was going, but he did say that O.C. is one of his favorite places to perform.
Q: I listened to the new album Loaded and I have to admit I feel a little dirty afterwards. Is there a point where you feel you may have shared a little too much or been a little too honest?
I always feel like I’m being more tongue-in-cheek. I’d say my real feelings are kind of protected by making it that way. I don’t think I’d be able to do like diary entries – I don’t know if guys do that kind of stuff or if that’s just a chick thing – but I would never want to, like, go autobiographical with specific stuff. I think by making it kind of more messing around and taking it a little over the top, it kind of protects my own feelings.
Q: Are these songs all somehow related to things that have happened to you in real life?
Well, they’ve happened to someone. I haven’t had my (bleep) licked by a (bleep) (bleep) in a black Trans Am, if that’s what you mean. But I’m sure someone has, and I can take you to where that would be. It will probably be somewhere around like Santa Monica and Highland.
Q: Why has there been such a long wait between albums?
That was just record label and political (crap). A lot of the songs have been done for years, and that’s why I left my record label. It was taking so long already, then the process of leaving takes forever. It has all been a nightmare. My next record was going to come out next year, but I think I want to put it out even earlier now because I want people to have this record for a minute. But I think I might put the next one out even sooner, like in six months, just to keep it moving and not have such a long wait again.
Q: Do you already have another album’s worth of songs ready?
I have a couple albums’ worth of songs. I work all of the time and I don’t like to go in and set out just to make a record. I just like to always be making songs and see which ones group together best. I want to finish touring right now and then record with some people and finish some half-done stuff and regroup in a few months, take all of those songs and see what goes together the best. I was listening to stuff today and putting songs aside with what I thought could be on the next record.
Q: What’s it like for you now, to be out on tour and finally have a new album to promote?
I’m relieved. I was so frustrated. I was playing some of the songs just to see how they worked for an audience, but without a record I would book like one-off shows or a few shows in one city. It’s kind of hard to book a proper tour without having a record out. Now I’ve toured half of America and just got back from Australia, and now I’ll do the other half of America. Next year we’ll do Australia again, but I’d like to book some festivals and get over to Europe. All of those things were kind of blocked for me by not having the record. It was a lot of frustration, and then by the time it did happen, I just wanted to put out anything. But luckily, when it all came together, it was kind of exactly what I wanted it to be … just a lot of years later.
Q: On this one you collaborate with Cisco Adler, Andre Legacy and Scott Russo from Unwritten Law. Are there any other collaborations you’d like to do?
There were a lot of collaborations that didn’t make it onto the record that are still owned by Interscope — like I did songs with Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Perry Farrell and Kid Rock. Those are all songs that will probably get leaked sometime, I’m sure.
Q: Who is on your list of people you’d like to get to work with in the future?
I’d like to work with Lucinda Williams, Hank III … there are tons of people I like.
Q: You’re known for putting on provocative live shows, and these songs certainly lend themselves to that. Which track for you is the most fun to perform live? Which ones have people responded to the strongest?
“Mr. Brownstone” people responded real well to. They kept saying to play it, and I played it and they were going crazy every night I did that. “California Crack Cocaine” would be good live, and “Dance” — I’ve been playing that for years, actually. That always goes over well. We’ve also been playing, after MCA passed away, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party),” and people have been going nuts for that.
Q: You haven’t hidden the fact that you struggle with addiction. Have you been able to stay clean?
I’m clean off of street drugs. I mean, I guess I smoke weed, that could be considered a street drug. But I’m off heroin.
Q: What’s it like to finally be off that?
Life is different, and not to sound too corny, but I think life is better. The drugs I liked … it gets to be where everything is the same and all the cliches are true and you’re stuck. The drugs always work. People say, ‘Oh, it stops working.’ They never stop working. It just comes to where it’s the only thing that works and there’s nothing left in life.
Q: You quit smoking cigarettes, but you still drink?
I guess trade one for the other. Addiction is still addiction and I probably went back a few times to make sure — you know, you go back and you realize that you’re very happy with what you’re doing now. It’s like you’ve moved to a new neighborhood but you kept going back to your old one a few times before you realize that you moved out of there for a reason and that I like it over here a lot better.
See Mickey Avalon at 8 p.m. June 6 at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano. $25. All-ages. 949-496-8930.
The latest from Encore: