Though his glitter eyeliner, tight pants and fluffy Jew-fro make him seem more Marc Bolan than Marky Mark, lanky L.A. rapper Mickey Avalon knows a thing or two about the streets. The grandson of Auschwitz survivors, Avalon went from being a drug dealer to studying Orthodox Judaism to having a serious heroin addiction by his early 20s. When he found himself turning tricks with men in the slums of Portland, Ore., for drug money, he knew it was time to chart another course. Avalon headed back to L.A., where he crashed on the couch of friend and MTV VJ Simon Rex. Rex passed out demo CDs at trendy L.A. clubs and, as the cliche goes, the rest is history.
Avalon's self-titled first album, released on Shoot to Kill/Interscope in association with Myspace Records, was met with surprising success. Songs like "Friends and Lovers" blend punchy synth beats with hauntingly autobiographical lyrics like: "All my friends and all my lovers are dead / Some from cheap narcotics and others from lead / The filthy rich and the dirt-dirt poor / Are all the same when they can't take no more."
Known for his theatrical live show and cadre of scantily clad, pelvic-thrusting ladies, Avalon has a unique sound that's been able to reel in an impressive array of music fans. His upcoming show at the Knitting Factory with fellow Dyslexic Speedreaders group Dirt Nasty (featuring Simon Rex) will most certainly be a glittery, sexy mess.
Thursday, Nov. 13, 11 p.m., $15, 18 and over. Knitting Factory, 416 S. Ninth St., 208-367-1212, bo.knittingfactory.com.