Lock ’N‘ Load
By David Jenison
“I remember it exactly to the day,” laughs Mickey Avalon, recalling his most surreal chat with his mother. It was the day she called him out for selling cannabis . . . and then taught him how to do it right.
“Not only did I not know she sold smoke, I didn’t know she knew I did,” he continues. “One day she walked into my room and showed me this really nice bud, and I’m like, ‘What the f*@k is going on?’ She wanted to help me. My daughter is 13, and I cannot imagine doing this with her, but it was a necessary evil. She didn’t want me to be a liability. If I got in trouble, it might come back to the house.”
Still in his early teens, Avalon started with half-an-ounce per week, smoking an eighth and selling the rest, and progressively sold more over the years. In his late teens, he started using heavier drugs, which required another heart-to-heart talk.
“My mother knew what I was doing, so she took me for a walk and said the party’s over,” he recalls. “She let me do my last sale, but that was it.”
Avalon—who is scheduled to perform at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac on June 29—never went back to selling smoke, though ironically he was initially resistant to the medical marijuana movement. He explains, “I was against it because my friends sell, and I wanted to support them. I didn’t want anyone to take their jobs. These days, my friends and even my mom’s husband all grow and sell to the stores, so I am now in full support. It’s stupid that I don’t have a [medical marijuana ID] card yet.”
During the interview, exhaustion is evident in Avalon’s voice, but not all of it stems from a rock ’n‘ roll weekend. Back in 2007, his eponymous debut cracked the airwaves with “Jane Fonda” and “My Dick” and provided the rapper with an ardent cult following. Likewise, Avalon claims a shocking personal narrative—heroin addiction, family tragedy, prostitution—that made him a popular interview with the press. His record label, Interscope, imagined huge dividends and invested in his future, but this imperfect marriage merely produced delays. Avalon’s residual fatigue stems from years of unsuccessful collaborations (e.g. Katy Perry muse Dr. Luke), release-date delays, the eventual divorce from Interscope and the recording of a whole new album. Now half a decade later, his sophomore album Loaded (Suburban Noize) finally hit the retail racks last month.
“Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” Avalon says of the new album. “It is still the same types of stories, the same cast of characters, but it’s tongue in cheek. I would never say this stuff with a straight face. Rap is very braggadocious, and instead of going away from that, I try to do it more.”
Such as, “I got 99 problems and your girlfriend’s one”?
“That’s the joke,” he exclaims. “People want ‘bigger than life.’ They want the fantasy. I want to go big and let people dream about how regular people live that life.”