By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
It’s raining hard as I navigate through Hollywood with Avalon and Rex in my car. They had planned to hit a particular strip club to “scout dancers” for an upcoming show, but the establishment has inexplicably closed down, so instead we’re heading for a nightclub to check out the scene. The two of them are already high, and plan on drinking, so we’re rolling my undeniably sensible station wagon as we pull up to the valet stand and disembark among the beautiful people.
Because of Rex’s celebrity status and Avalon’s emerging notoriety, we are able to breeze past the line and are quickly ushered into a simultaneously sleazy and lavish nightclub. A DJ is spinning a set of oddly disconnected greatest hits, while Amazonian waitresses in tight hot pants cut through the crowd with illuminated bottles of expensive champagne. The girls hanging around the dance floor are, for the most part, young, pretty and overtly sexy — lots of blond hair, ultratight jeans, miniskirts and bare midriffs. The guys seem a cross between the neo-Guido, hair-gel-encrusted Growing Up Gotti kids and horny junior talent agents. Avalon assures me that anonymous sex in bathroom stalls is not at all uncommon.
Several girls pass by, recognize Rex and exchange knowing looks. Avalon tells me that even a periodically employed actor rates far higher in the pecking order than most of those in attendance, who have yet to achieve even a small modicum of fame. It also doesn’t hurt that Rex has been publicly linked to several high-profile party girls, including the scene’s high priestess, Paris Hilton.
Avalon seems a less natural fit for the surroundings — he is neither tan nor rich, and far too grimy for the status-conscious, designer-label crowd. Yet, somehow he has emerged as an unintentional troubadour for the hedonistic scene, and, while admittedly glad for the newfound attention, he remains somewhat of a tourist.
“It’s really because of Simon that I’ve even been able to infiltrate this world,” he explains. “I’m still pretty much an outsider. I have a song called “So Rich So Pretty” that has become a theme song for a lot of these Newport and Malibu girls. They tell me, ‘That’s just like me.’ But it’s really a song about how hollow all of it is. How it’s just this coked-out scene where all the girls are anorexic. But then, I suppose I’m making fun of myself, too. Because I’m saying that, and then I’m hanging out here and rubbing shoulders with it all.”
Later, I’m standing off to the side with Avalon, watching a skinny blond girl do a strange herky-jerky drug dance, when Rex arrives with actor Kevin Connelly, from the hit HBO show Entourage, who smiles and tells Avalon he is a fan. He says he recently bought his CD and brought it home to his girlfriend, Nicky Hilton, who told him that she was already totally into Mickey Avalon.
When they head off, Avalon tells me that Paris Hilton recently had him on an episode of her reality show The Simple Life. Both Hilton and co-host Nicole Richie were supposed to plan a wedding, and Hilton chose Avalon as the musical entertainment for hers. It turned out to be two girls getting married, and Avalon serenaded them with a song called “Friends and Lovers,” about murder and suicide. He says he and his pal Rainbow got so loaded during the shoot that they crashed into a production truck and fled the scene afterward. As we prepare to leave, Rex comes back and says Connelly mentioned having the two of them appear on an episode of Entourage as themselves, which seems — perfect.
In his late teens, Avalon was an Orthodox Jew. He grew a beard, wore the black hat and started attending the strictest temples he could find around West Hollywood, voraciously reading the texts and intensely debating the rabbis.
“Looking back, I was a zealot,” he admits. “I didn’t grow up very religious, so it actually felt pretty rebellious at the time.”
The conversion, he says, was motivated by a belief that he was doomed to end up like his father and that God might be able to save him. His dad was already sick by then, his body breaking down after years of heroin and methadone and a particularly devastating crack run. His teeth were gone, and his legs painfully swollen from hepatitis and tuberculosis. Avalon was trying to get him into long-term treatment. Avalon’s ex-wife was living with them at the time, and when we meet for coffee, she recalls his desperation.
“Their relationship was really reversed at that point,” she says. “It was like Mickey was the father and his father was a child. The rehabs wouldn’t take his dad until he had been clean for a month, even though he could hardly walk. Mickey literally turned the doorknobs around and locked his dad in so he couldn’t go out and buy drugs.”