Where on earth did Mickey Avalon go? That’s a question that’s been on many people’s minds since he seemingly dropped off the face of the earth after releasing his darkly perverse eponymous debut album back in 2006. Where he was, was in limbo. Attempting to get off of one label, sign with another, and release an album he’s been amped to get to people for quite some time. Loaded is that album, and on April 24th it will finally see the light of day on Suburban Noize Records.

This week RapReviews.com caught up with Avalon to find out about the long delayed Loaded, and what was going on with the band that wanted to fight him at SXSW. Avalon also opened up about his relationship with drugs and alcohol, working with Cisco Adler, and having Ke$ha open up for him on his 2009 tour.

Adam Bernard: I want to start this off by talking about the incident that happened at SXSW. What happened that caused the band that was supposed to follow you to get so upset and try to fight you during your set?

Mickey Avalon: {*laughs*} It was a misunderstanding, I guess. I was the headliner and normally the headliner goes on last, but since bands go till three or four (at SXSW) there were actually bands after me. So I was playing and the next band’s equipment was up there. I was supposed to be in Australia at that time, then Australia got pushed back so we did that gig, and not to sound egotistical or anything, but all the fans there were for me, so we were gonna give em a good set. We were like three songs in and the ladies (running the show) were like “that’s it” and I’m like… there’s no rush to get this next band on stage, no one’s there to see them, so we’re not gonna end the set early. So then they came on the stage like to get me off or something. When the guy hit me I went to go back to get him and my DJ tackled me because I’ve had lawsuits for that kind of shit, so I think he was just trying to keep me out of trouble.

AB: So this other guy basically tried to PM Dawn you and you weren’t havin it.

MA: Yeah, I guess. {*laughs*}

AB: That obviously wasn’t a fun moment, but do you have a favorite moment from all the shows you’ve done over the years?

MA: No. I think when it’s on it’s like a subtle thing. It’s like sex. Again you probably remember the things that weren’t fun, and even those I don’t remember. Luckily I have that one hour (on stage) where time kind of stands still, and that’s how I prefer it. I just try to have everyone have a good time and it usually works, so I don’t really remember it after. Not that I’m intoxicated or anything.

AB: Not to quote a Britney Spears album title, but you’re “in the zone.”

MA: {*laughs*} Did she have a record called that?

AB: Yeah. Moving to your latest album, Loaded is finally ready to be released, and while still being lyrically perverse, it isn’t quite as dark musically as your debut. What inspired you to create more dance oriented fare this time around?

MA: God, I would probably have to talk to the producers about that. I don’t know. I think I definitely liked the irony of the dichotomy of having darker stuff over kind of jingly, more bouncy stuff. I wanted to try to pull that off, but I didn’t do that on purpose. Now that I know that I want the next record to be even darker musically.

AB: You had Dr. Luke do half of an album. Did you get to keep those tracks for this, or did you have to scrap em?

MA: Scrap em. Well, it’s not scrapped, I guess Interscope could do something with them. A lot of those songs I wasn’t too into. A lot of people dug em and stuff, but I think stuff like that probably just gets leaked at some point. It’s more like a money making issue. If you do something and it comes out OK then you want people to hear it, even if you couldn’t make money off it. If you work towards some gallery show and then the gallery burned down you’d still want people to see the paintings even if you couldn’t sell them.

AB: Definitely. Your first album had a really interesting critical reception. For instance, I ranked it as one of my favorites of the year, while another writer on the same website ranked it as one of his least favorite. Why do you think people were so divided on it?

MA: I don’t know how much of it has to do with the music because if you looked at (the album) Mickey Avalon and how important that was to music, I don’t know how important the actual music part of it would be. I think people get behind me and think I stand for something that I don’t even know if I stand for or not, and then they either really like me or really hate me. Obviously the liking part’s nice. The hating part’s just kind of silly because they don’t know me. I don’t know how someone can feel so strongly against somebody that they don’t even know. I think for a while it was guys would hate me and I’d think maybe it had something to do with their chicks, or people get all homophobic and it’s like I’m not even gay but I’m glad that you’re gonna take out your hatred against gays on me. Just stuff like that.

AB: Do you feel Loaded may turn nonbelievers into believers?

MA: Maybe. Maybe that was the thinking behind the music not being so dark. I definitely would like to be heard by more people than just my fans. I think it’s a good record, and it’s not like I’ve been working just on this record since the last one. It hasn’t been like a Chinese Democracy thing. It was just politics. I’ve been moving forward the whole time and then things happened with Interscope. It wasn’t really that anything happened, it was that it was taking forever to get my record out, so I’m like now I have to leave, and that takes a long time. It was just stuff like that. I like the record. I think we covered all the ground I was trying to cover. I think me and Cisco (Adler) do the best work together, and there are six or seven tracks of his on the record. Me and him are probably going to do a mixtape together because we have tons of songs. His dad produced Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke, and on their license plate, it’s the old California license plate that’s blue with the yellow writing, and it says YESCA, which means weed, and my real name’s Yeshi and Cisco Adler’s initials are CA, so… YESCA. We’re just gonna make that (license plate) the cover of the mixtape.

AB: You rap a lot about drugs, some of it is clearly tongue in cheek, but some of it sounds serious. What is your relationship with drugs right now?

MA: Not to get too preachy or anything, but if you’re a drug addict or alcoholic, that seems to be something that you keep with you for your whole life. Even the ones that are in recovery, which I’m not, say that it’s something that they’ll have forever, that they’re just not using at that time, but it doesn’t go away. Some diseases aren’t cured, and I guess you don’t cure that one. You can put it in remission. When I’m in darker times, maybe, I can make jokes about it. I never romanticize the thing. You always have to pay the piper and that’s something I’ve always been clear about, and I’ve definitely had way more bad things happen to me and my health and my relationships and friends and family from drugs than like a party type thing. Now I just try to be on the more happier ones that are more social, like weed and alcohol.

AB: It sounds like a marriage where there’s a lot of separation, but occasionally you get back together, and then you realize why you were separated, so you separate again.

MA: Yeah, that’s a good analogy. Plus the older you get, if you do know that’s something that you’re stuck with forever you try to find the combinations that work the best for you and that are the safest and most legal. I’m not really looking to go get put on lithium or thorazine and just kind of walk around. I definitely am on a quest for happiness, and joy is something that’s to be attained, but I’m not really looking to be numb, so to speak. Even the drugs that I would do that were kind of numbing drugs, they never really quite worked so well because so much drama ends up coming around and it’s far from being numb, and every time I’ve ever been on any anti-depressant type thing I never really liked the way I felt. I didn’t feel like me, whereas on the drugs I still feel like me.

AB: So you’re not a fan of prescription drugs.

MA: Yeah, I’m sure there are better ones now than when I was a kid because it’s been a long time, but it still fees like cheating for whatever reason. I don’t know why, but it just seems like the easy way out.

AB: Moving to a different kind of marriage, you are now happily betrothed with Suburban Noize. How did you land there?

MA: They have a management company called Regime, but not everyone on Regime is necessarily on Suburban Noize, and not everyone on Suburban Noize is necessarily on Regime. Basically I got with them for management and we wanted to put the best record out that we could, but we didn’t want to waste a lot more time shopping it. Since at Suburban Noize they do so much stuff in-house, what they can do with $100K maybe it would take someone else $300K, and we felt they could do the best job with the time tables we were looking at. And everything they said they would do they did. They put their money where their mouth was. I had gotten so used to getting the runaround that it was nice to have somebody say something was going to happen at a given time and then have it happen at that time. My next record could also easily be on Suburban Noize. A lot of the other bands are kind of like a crew, and I’m not necessarily in that thing, but some of the other bands have hit me up to drop verses and I’ll definitely do that.

AB: I’ve been to some of their concerts, and my lord do they have a supportive fan base.

MA: Yeah, that’s another thing. I could see us having the same kind of fans. I could see my fans going to those concerts and vice versa, so I would embrace it if I was to become part of that, but that wasn’t necessarily the angle, and they were the first ones to tell me that. They also have a clothing company called SRH and he’s like “I don’t see you wearing this kind of stuff because it’s not really your style.” They just let me be me, which has been cool.

AB: Finally, you put Ke$ha on before anybody had really heard of her when you had her open for you in 2009. Did you see something in her that made you say “this girl’s gonna take over the world?”

MA: Well I knew it was gonna happen. It was more a Dr. Luke thing. I did it as a favor for him. I’m the only project he’s ever worked on that didn’t go far {*laughs*}, so I knew. That was just to get her feet wet. I knew that everything was all lined up. Her first big song was already playing, people just weren’t putting the face to the song yet. I knew they just wanted her to practice being on stage and stuff, so I knew it was gonna happen, but I wouldn’t necessarily take too much credit for it. I had a tour, me and Luke were about to do the record, so he asked if I would take her out and I said yeah.

AB: Not to ruin anyone’s image, but on a scale of 1 to 10 how much of a sweetheart is she?

MA: She’s a sweetheart. Nine or ten. I haven’t seen her for a while, so hopefully that hasn’t changed, but my DJ still talks to her and he says she’s still cool so I don’t think she’d let it get to her head.