Mojo Nixon, the psychobilly musician and radio host who gained cult status for his rabble rousing and celebrity spoofs such as the 1987 hit “Elvis Is Everywhere,” died Wednesday aboard a country music cruise that he was co-hosting. He was 66.
His death was confirmed by Matt Eskey, director of a 2020 documentary film about Mr. Nixon. He said that Mr. Nixon had a “cardiac event” while he was asleep as the Outlaw Country Cruise was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A statement posted by the film’s official Facebook page said that Mr. Nixon had died “after a blazing show, a raging night, closing the bar, taking no prisoners.”
Mr. Nixon was best known for his celebrity spoofs, such as “Don Henley Must Die” and “Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child,” and for satirical tirades like “I Hate Banks” and “Destroy All Lawyers.” “All of it was performed in maximum overdrive on a bed of rockabilly, blues, and R&B, which earned Mr. Nixon some friends in the roots rock community but had enough punk attitude — in its own bizarre way — to make him a college radio staple during his heyday,” the All Music Guide wrote.
“I’m a rabble-rouser who does humorous social commentary within a rock 'n' roll setting,” he told The New York Times in 1990. In another interview with the paper, he described himself as a voice of “the doomed, the damned, the weird.”
Born Neil Kirby McMillan Jr., on Aug. 2, 1957, in North Carolina to a father who owned a soul music station, Mr. Nixon was drawn to music from a young age because, he said in 2017, “it’s exciting, it’s dangerous, and it makes the church people nervous.”
In the 1980s, he began performing with Richard Banke, better known as Skid Roper, in San Diego. Their third album, “Bo-Day-Shus!!!” was the first to make the national charts, thanks to the satirical song “Elvis Is Everywhere.” The song, which posited that Elvis was responsible for everything from building the pyramids to making ships disappear in the Bermuda Triangle, and its music video, got the attention of MTV, which made him an occasional host in 1988.
He went on to record several more albums, both solo and with other collaborators, including with the backup band the Toadliquors, and also worked as an actor and radio DJ. In recent years, he became a radio host on Sirius XM, where he hosted the afternoon show on the Outlaw Country channel under the name “the Loon in the Afternoon.”
He came up with the name Mojo Nixon in 1983, he told the Times, while drinking at a bar during a bicycle trip across the United States. He chose the name because “it’s two words that shouldn’t go together,” he said.
“I just want to be a tiny piece of the great American crazy myth,” he said in 2017. “Not the story they tell in schools, not the story they tell in the movies, but the wild, crazy, free, nut job on the outskirts of town story."
Mr. Nixon is survived by his wife, Adaire McMillan; his sons, Rafe Cannonball McMillan and Ruben McMillan, a sister, Jane Holden McMillan; a brother, Arthur Reese McMillan; and a granddaughter.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.