Mickey Avalon brings the party
Makin’ some mistakes with party-rapper Mickey Avalon
Mickey Avalon is one of those strange Hollywood car wrecks who, despite one’s best efforts, is hard to look away from. His music, likewise, at first might sound like a perverted joke, but upon repeat listens becomes more of a wild, if heavy-hearted, party mix.
So goes the story of Mickey Avalon, the Jewish rapper (his birth name is Yeshe Perl) who appears to be living up to his tagline: “Live fast, die young, and look good in your grave.” To make ends meet, he once sold pot … with his mom. His father, a heroin addict, upon getting clean was killed by a drunken driver on the way home from AA. And Avalon used to prostitute himself on the streets of Portland, Ore., to pay for his own smack habit.
Then he started busting rhymes, bringing his hard-life experience and the Hollywood party lifestyle to his music.
“We weren’t even trying to get big or anything. We were just making songs for fun,” said Avalon from his hometown of Los Angeles. He was explaining the origin of his name, which is actually not his “rap name” but rather his “porn name.”
“You know, you’re supposed to take the name of the street you grew up on [and add it to the name of your first dog]—well, my mom’s street was Avon,” he started. “But Avon wasn’t too fresh so we changed it.”
Avalon never had a dog, so he and his buddy chose Mickey for the nice ring it had. “It’s worked out for me,” he said, a slight laugh in his voice, which was a bit lazy and relaxed (kind of like his rap cadence), though he was quick with his answers.
Avalon just returned from an extensive East Coast tour and is back on his home coast, with dozens of shows booked up and down California over the next few weeks—including one at Chico’s El Rey Theatre this Friday, Oct. 21.
“I love Northern California,” he said. “The people are cool, the weed is good.”
Avalon broke out in 2004, releasing his first, self-titled album two years later. Though rumors have abounded the past five years that another is in the works, he said he’s been waiting out his old record company. Now that his contract is over, he’s ready to release new stuff. Just two weeks ago, in fact, a new single, “Tight Blue Jeans,” complete with a racy video, hit the Internet.
“I’ll have a full-length record by next year,” he said, adding it will be pre-empted by the release of an EP in December. “We’re just doing the EP first, releasing a song with a video every few weeks, and after the fifth one comes out is when the EP will come out.”
“Tight Blue Jeans” picks up where his previous club singles like “Jane Fonda” and “My Dick” left off. With lyrics like “I’ma take the low road/ Meet me at the bottom,” critics often describe his songs as being autobiographical. That’s only a half-truth, Avalon admitted.
“They’re tongue-in-cheek, exaggerated,” he said of his songs, which have also been described as dirty and lacking much regard for humanity. “Maybe names are changed. Maybe one character could be five characters put together. So, they’re kind of autobiographical, but they may not have happened to me. It’s kind of like I’m journalizing things that happen when you flip up a rock or something.”
Avalon says his true passion is being on the road, and when it comes to playing his songs live, there’s definitely more of an edge to them onstage. He likens the difference between hearing one of his songs on a CD or online and listening to it live as “the difference between playing acoustic and playing electric.”
When asked to sum up his message to the world, Avalon, a man in his mid-30s who’s admittedly seen and done more than most, said, “People should just loosen up and have a good time. People should do whatever they want to do, but know that some things have consequences. You should make your own mistakes.”