By Lisa Morgan
Google Mickey Avalon and you’ll get the run down on the guy. His early life reads like a hard core drama where any minute you expect the lead character to finally succumb once and for all to the knock out punches life dealt him that would take and have taken many out early in their first chapter. But as the story reveals, Mickey Avalon is not one to stay down.
As I thought about how to write about my interview with Avalon, famous for his “hugely” popular, rap hit about his phenomenal penis as it compares to anyone else’s, there is one thing I want to make perfectly clear: If living through a shit storm without having a monster pity party and instead, kicking life’s ass into successful gear has anything to do with it, his dick is bigger and better and he has equally impressive balls. And here’s why. I don’t really want to over emphasize the hard luck part of this artists’ story, because after spending an hour on the phone with him, that’s not the essence I walked away with. Mickey Avalon is an understated bad ass on one level, who sees no option in anything but surviving and overcoming, doesn’t claim to have all the answers, doesn’t need to make life dramatic for the sake of being more creative, and is, at the end of the day, just doing his best to live a happy life and make a happy life for his family and daughter. On another level, the stage level, he’s a monster egotist, a sexual, hedonistic beast shaking the shadows out of every piece of dirt from his past, exploiting them and rendering them powerless to the thrill of those in attendance who enjoy the hell out of it.
Born Yeshe Perl in 1975 to a family that, while not practicing their Jewish born heritage, did stumble upon a bit of a legacy that they would hand down to young Yeshe. Mom worked as a marijuana dealer and Dad was a heroin addict. Avalon followed suit until, in his late teens, after drug dealing and prostituting himself to support his heroin habit, he briefly sought out Orthodox Judaism, married and became a father in his early 20’s. He battled his addiction alongside his sister in Oregon who ultimately relapsed and died from a heroin overdose.
It was his return to LA that got him started on his musical endeavors. MTV VJ Simon Rex encouraged Avalon to rap and collaborated with him developing a following. After a number of collaborations with rap artists in the industry, Avalon released his self-titled debut solo album in 2006. Released through Interscope/Shoot to Kill Records in association with MySpace Records, the album spawned the singles “Jane Fonda” and “Mr. Right”. In January 2007, Avalon contributed lyrics and vocals on Unwritten Law’s “Shoulda Known Better”. That same year, he was featured in a Boost Mobile rap commercial with fellow rappers Jermaine Dupri and Young Jeezy. Avalon was released from his recording contract with Interscope in 2011 and is currently signed to Suburban Noize Records. On March 12, 2012 he digitally released a 4-track EP entitled On the Ave. His second solo album, Loaded was released on April 24, 2012.
I asked him how he was able to turn things around. “First and foremost, not surviving is not an option. You do what it takes to survive and move forward. It’s instinctual. Animals do it. As far as turning something bad into something good…I’m not going to be all dark and Debbie-downer about it. I take it all a little bit tongue and cheek. You can find humor in the darkness, I guess, because you’ve actually lived through it. I’ve been to AA meetings before. I don’t go anymore, but I thought it was impressive how people could tell these horrific stories and laugh about things because they lived through it.” As far as Avalon’s music goes he makes it clear that he would choose a happy life as opposed to the kind of drama that some artists require in order to make “good art”. “I would choose to have a happy life and not have good art over fucking up my life just to make good art. I have a kid of my own and I can’t be selfish. I try to make life good for her too.” In regard to being way outside the box for a white, Jewish born street kid, he shares, “Being out of the box is a good thing, when it works. But you don’t have anything to fall back on either. It’s a risk, and I have to make the rules up as I go along. There’s no right or wrong really. It’s just that everything has a consequence. So I have to decide which consequence I can live with. Kind of like reaching into the fire; you make that decision based on the worth of that thing you’re reaching for and if the consequences are worth it.” He added, “I’ guess I’ve been lucky. Not lucky in the sense that this isn’t something I haven’t worked for, but I’ve been fortunate in that I found something that worked.”
I asked Avalon how he views the changes in the record industry. “The record industry changes on a daily basis. I got into the industry on the tail end of an era where if you had a demo, that meant that you saved up, planned and bought the time in the studio to make it happen. I wouldn’t have even been able to launch a career back then. I wouldn’t have had the time, the money or the dream to make this happen. Now, we can just be messing around having fun and stumble onto a really cool thing. With a little bit of equipment and about three hours you can have a product that’s playable in the clubs, and get it out on the internet. Still, anybody can put it out there. Just because there’s more garbage doesn’t mean anybody’s going to listen to it. Just like you can buy friends on Facebook, but it doesn’t make you legit.”
On a more personal level I asked him if and how he was staying clean and healthy. As is key to any recovery program I’ve ever been aware of, he answered with straight up honesty. “I don’t know if I’m clean or healthy. Addiction is hard to get out of when you’re in the middle of it. I’m not clean and sober, but there are certain things that I know I won’t do now. I know I probably drink more than I’d like to. Sometimes you have to put some distance between yourself and certain things. When I was in my addiction it was harder to get out of it. Now that I’m out of it, it’s easier to stay away. Now, there’s nothing that would make go back to that (heroin).” There are some costs to Avalon’s success. “I’m able to support my family. I’m not a bum on the street. But it is work and there’s a tradeoff. I can put my daughter in a good school, but I can’t go to her school function. But I wouldn’t trade it, I’m really thankful for it.”
MICKEY AVALON will be making his debut in Palm Desert this Friday at The Hood Bar. He’ll have local dancers filling the very tall, stilettoes of his regular girls as seen in his videos. He’s bringing the party and a lot of energy, so be ready to cut loose of any inhibitions because that’s not what this gig is going to be about. Opening for him are our own local bad asses, Chill Clinton and Thr3 Strykes.
Doors open at 8pm to ages 21 and over. There’s a $15 admission with no pre-sales, so get there early or you’ll be listening out at the curb and then everybody will know who’s ISN’T bigger.
Check all of these artists out at the following links: