Jello Biafra collaborator and 'cowpunk' outlaw Mojo Nixon dead at 66

Mojo Nixon
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Mojo Nixon, the North Carolina-born musician, actor and radio host, has died, aged 66. 

Nixon's family tell Rolling Stone that the cult hero - real name Neill Kirby McMillan Jr. - passed away from a “cardiac arrest” aboard the Outlaw Country Cruise, an annual music cruise which he co-hosted.

The family statement sent to Rolling Stone reads: “August 2, 1957 — February 7, 2024 Mojo Nixon. How you live is how you should die. Mojo Nixon was full-tilt, wide-open rock hard, root hog, corner on two wheels + on fire… Passing after a blazing show, a raging night, closing the bar, taking no prisoners + a good breakfast with bandmates and friends.

“A cardiac event on the Outlaw Country Cruise is about right… & that’s just how he did it, Mojo has left the building. Since Elvis is everywhere, we know he was waiting for him in the alley out back. Heaven help us all.”

The “Elvis is everywhere” reference is a nod to Nixon's 1987 manic cow-punk hit single of the same name, recorded with his former partner, Skid Roper.

Nixon also hosted the Loon In The Afternoon radio show on Sirius XM.

“We are absolutely devastated,” Jeff Cuellar, CEO of Sixthman, which organized the Outlaw Country Cruise, tells Rolling Stone. “Our thoughts and hearts are with Mojo’s family and the Outlaw community.”

Last year, Louder contributor Alex Burrows included Prairie Home Invasion, Nixon's 1994 collaboration with punk provocateur Jello Biafra, among Biafra's finest post-Dead Kennedys albums.

"Political punk twinned with country shouldn’t work," Burrows wrote, "but with a heavy dose of Jello’s biting lyrics, this collaboration with psychobilly musician Mojo Nixon is an irreverent cowpunk classic. It's most notable for the devastating satire of anti-abortionists in Will the Fetus be Aborted (performed to the tune of standard Christian country-folk hymn Will the Circle Be Unbroken): more topical than ever, a video for the track was released in August. 

"Much like the DK’s subversion of Viva Las Vegas, from the comical boogie of Where Are We Gonna Work (When the Trees Are Gone?) to the hilarious Christian bluegrass style ode to Atomic Power, Mojo Nixon’s musicianship provides Jello free rein to deliver some of his most sardonic derision in the style of the music most at odds with his lyrics."

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.