It’s been a long time since Mickey Avalon was passing out demos at Hollywood nightclubs and scrambling to secure a deal with MySpace Records. If you slept on his self-titled 2006 debut — an insanely profane, gutter-hugging punk rap manifesto featuring the classics “Jane Fonda” and “So Rich, So Pretty” — might I suggest you boost a copy from the cut-out bin of your local used record store? (It’s what the old Mickey might have done.)
A few years removed from his more sordid days of street chaos, Avalon has been grinding away on his second album for the past few years, recording more than 70 tracks with a bevy of bold-faced names and a couple of unlikely hotshot producers. Calling in from Los Angeles on Thursday (don’t worry, Governator — Mickey’s mom was driving the car), Avalon gave a preview of what fans can expect from the tentatively titled Electric Gigolo, which is penciled in for release in the first quarter of 2010 on Interscope Records.
“I’ve been working this whole time, then I got an executive producer named Dr. Luke,” he said, speaking of the mega-producer behind hits for Kelly Clarkson (“Since U Been Gone”), Avril Lavigne (“Girlfriend”), Katy Perry (“I Kissed a Girl”), Flo Rida (“Right Round”) and Miley Cyrus (“Party in the U.S.A.”). “He’s been a fan of mine and I already had so much work done with [good friend, Shwayze members and Dyslexic Speedreaders band mate] Cisco [Adler] and other producers. He came in and we reworked some of the stuff I did with other producers and put his touch on them.” In the meantime, Avalon has also been dropping songs like the just-released Luke-produced Billy Squier-sampling sex rap “Stroke Me” and “What Do You Say,” a hop-along party rhyme that was on the soundtrack to “The Hangover.”
With so much music sitting around, Avalon said he’s planning on releasing a few mixtapes (or just leaking out a song or two every couple weeks) over the next couple months, while he keeps working on new songs with other producers including Benny Blanco (Britney Spears, Jordin Sparks, 3OH!3), Kool Kojak (Dirt Nasty, N.A.S.A., Ke$ha) and frequent collaborator Sunny Levine (Pete Yorn, Happy Mondays).
Avalon has some big-name guest spots he’s hoping to nail down for the new album, only one of which he could talk about now. “I did a song with [Blink-182 drummer] Travis Barker called ‘Fast Life,’” he said. When Avalon opened for Blink recently, Barker was supposed to come out and play that song with the rapper, but because he’s such a fan, the monster drummer sat in for the whole set.
He has also collaborated with pal/Deadsy frontman Elijah Blue on the song “Mickey’s Girl,” which samples Lou Reed’s “Charley’s Girl,” a song from the cantankerous punk godfather’s 1976 album Coney Island Baby. “We had to get permission from Lou Reed for it and he loved the song and was glad that someone finally did something cool from his songs from the ’70s rather than just sample ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’” Avalon boasted.
And, if the idea of the grimy Avalon working with a slick pop producer like Dr. Luke confuses you, Mickey said not to worry. “Even with all the guest appearances and a pop producer, it’s still my sound,” he promised. “That’s what is taking so long. I wasn’t going to do it any other way. They had to go my way … It’s a little smoother, but the sound is just as raw. That’s where having a good producer can take it to where it works for the mainstream, but the subject matter is still raw and it sounds raw.”