By Ky Junkins
Rapper Mickey Avalon is not an egotistical performer and he never sought to become a celebrity. He simply says being a rapper is better than the “minimum wage, going-nowhere” food-service jobs he’s worked in the past, and attributes his success in the industry to the intersection of good fortune and hard work. The content of his lyrics might intimidate some, as he spits out dark topics like sexual perversion, prostitution, illegal drugs and violence borne of poverty. Yet chatting with the 35-year-old who once dabbled in Judaism and whose daughter just started high school, one gets the image of a calm, businesslike soul. His slightly nasally voice and laid-back approach bring to mind the image of a stoner and former surfer. This description seems appropriate for a rapper born and raised in Hollywood (all you skirts know what’s up with 213, as the infamous-and-missed Nate Dogg sang), and the authenticity is strong even on a cell-to-cell phone call as Synthesis caught up with Mr. Avalon.
Eschewing the polite expectations of entertainment journalism while adhering to the salacious interests of modern life, your Synth scribe got straight into the dirt. Such as: Twice while performing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mickey has had conflicts with crowds — what was that about?
“The first one was they were doing a makeup show in Oklahoma City,” Mickey began. “The original show was supposed to be them and Gnarls Barkley, but they canceled it. Then, like a year later, they did a makeup show. So then I opened and they just didn’t like the God stuff, like ‘God’s one sick motherfucker,’ or ‘dicks like Jesus,’ they weren’t into that, so they booed. And then in Europe [the] Red Hot Chili Peppers’ tour manager said, ‘They’re gonna boo, they’re gonna throw stuff, but the main thing is you just gotta get through it.’ So I went and played the first song and no one booed, no one said anything. And then stupid me goes, ‘Oh, they said you guys were gonna boo and throw…’ and before I’m even done talking they started booing and for the rest of the show they’re booing and throwing stuff [laughter]. I learned from that one. They weren’t gonna boo me until I said something about it.”
It seems extremely unlikely that Mickey will have that problem elsewhere. His songs have become anthems for most young people. Chances are most audiences will be singing along at his upcoming shows. Though humble in accepting the praise, Mickey had to agree.
“I got the set pretty tight, so I think they’ll be happy with it,” he said. “I got a bunch of new stuff, so hopefully they’ll dig the new stuff; we got a medley in the middle of the set that’s pretty cool — all the old classics.”
Those classics include “Mr. Right,” “My Dick,” “Jane Fonda,” “Friends and Lovers” and “What Do You Say.” The new stuff includes songs from his new six-track EP, Rock Bottom, set to release in mid-November and unreleased tracks coming out every couple weeks for an album debuting at the start of 2012. This means that fans catching his late-October shows will be able to turn around and pick up the new hotness right after the sneak peak. Returning to our interrogation of Mickey’s affairs, I had to explore the purported falling out between him and Dirt Nasty.
“We don’t really talk that much,” Mickey said, his voice tinged with a bit of regret. “Not like a specific thing happened, but we don’t really talk. We made good music together, so it’s kind of a drag. Me and Andre Legacy still talk and we weren’t talking before, so, I mean, you never know.”
At this point in the conversation, Mickey apologizes, perhaps feeling that he seems distracted, though his ability to multi-task is apparent, as I had no clue he was organizing his vintage spray-paint collection that he keeps on display.
“I have spray paints from the beginning of when spray paint started, from the very, very beginning in 1950, to the early ‘90s,” Mickey said.
This interest stems from the fact that Mickey uses spray paint and other paints, though not the vintage stuff, to paint portraits and figures. None of the pieces can be seen online, though a few fans have hit him up online to buy pieces. The chill vibe Mickey presents goes hand-in-hand with the personality of an artist. His demeanor seems antithetical to that of a rapper glorifying humanity’s base desires; it’s hard to understand how he even got into the profession.
“It wasn’t anything I planned on, it’s just good to have a career,” Mickey drawled. “I was just having fun at my boy’s house making tracks. He passed ‘em out and people dug ‘em. I happened to get a manager and he booked shows for me. Once people were into it, I started busting ass.”
And there you have it, folks. Another blueprint for The American Dream.