I recently heard the story of when Mojo Nixon met Don Henley. You see, Nixon had released a great song called, “Don Henley Must Die” on his album Otis. It’s a very funny song and is not nice to the six-time Grammy Award-winning musician. But in 1992, Henley showed up to a Mojo Nixon concert and sang the song with him.
Truly, I don’t give Henley that much credit for this. I know he’s a smart guy so what else is he going to do in response to a song that mocks him for being over-serious? Sure, Donald Trump wouldn’t be able to deal with it. But that’s a low bar.
Professionalism vs Chaos
The story does not, however, mean that the two of them became great friends. The truth is that they personify two trends in art. And it just so happens to be the difference I’m most interested in film, as I discuss at ridiculous length at Psychotronic Review.
Don Henley represents professionalism. And that does not mean that he doesn’t put his soul into his work. But necessarily, professionalism requires that you block a lot of the chaos of the id.
Mojo Nixon represents that id in about as pure a form as you can get while still creating work that people want to consume.
Neither trend is more authentic than the other. You can’t watch Mojo Nixon and miss that he’s performing. In that way it is no different than Henley’s “sensitive music idiot poetry.”
But I want to listen to Mojo Nixon far more than I want to listen to Don Henley. I realize that’s a minority opinion.
Image via Amazon under Fair Use.