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Mission Man’s new video just gave us the warm fuzzies

Mission Man

We haven’t been posting as much lately, I know. What can I say? Life shit. But when our old Ohio hip-hop pal Mission Man tweeted us his latest video, we just had to share it with you folks out there in Readerland. (By the way, don’t panic: Mission Man did not die in 2012. That’s just a copyright date range in the above graphic. He’s alive and well and still rockin’ the mic.)

MM’s vid for “Love, Funk and Soul” makes us happy, and not just because it features more cowbell. Mainly, it gives us a case of the warm fuzzies because it proves what we’ve long suspected, but seen precious little evidence of: Mission Man has fans. In the clip, they can be seen taking selfies with him, partying with him, throwing snowballs at him, and, at around the 1:08 mark, getting up onstage and dancing with him. Dude’s grind is definitely starting to pay off. Let this be an inspiration to us all.

Holy crap! Mission Man is now rockin’ it out with a live band.

Mission Man

Photo by Anita Herald

It’s been awhile since we heard anything from our favorite white Ohio rapper (sorry, Machine Gun Kelly), so we were tickled silly to discover that not only is our man Gary “Mission Man” Milholland still out there on his grind—now he’s doing it with company! Yep, Mission Man now has (for some gigs, at least) a full backing band. Watch your back, Roots!

We don’t have the full details yet, but apparently The Mish has even recorded a live album with said backing band and plans to release it later this year. It will be called RnR Playdate after the open mic night in Fairborn, Ohio where this crew, The RnR Playdaters, serve as the house band. Even before I knew about the whole open-mic element, I was sure these tattooed bros would take Mission Man’s defiantly weird music and turn it into bar-band dreck, but they actually stay pretty true to the herky-jerky rhythms and random slap basslines of the original material. They throw a gratuitous guitar solo in there, too, but Gary’s obviously loving it and hey, if he’s happy, we’re happy.

More news on Mission Man, his new posse and RnR Playdate as soon as we have it.

Mission Man’s new video is “Extra” awesome

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Last time we checked in with our avant-hip-hop hero Mission Man, he had decided to finally quit his day job to pursue music full-time. Now it’s three months later and he’s…well, he’s back to the working grind again, but not to worry. The new job is just part-time and as he puts it on his website, “music is a bigger, more beautiful part of my life than it’s ever been!” So Mission Man’s, er, mission to bring “hip-hop without ego” to the masses continues apace.

Last week, Gary “Mission Man” Milholland released his latest opus: A brand-new video for the pep-talk track “Extra” off his most recent album, M”. In true MM fashion, the clip features all sorts of zany composite shots of Mission Man dancing on flowers and planets and flying away in his Chevy Cobalt, plus some scenes of him busting moves in some shitty sports bar that probably doesn’t deserve him, and a whole sequence involving footprints in the snow that hopefully he can explain to us over a beer someday. But our favorite part of the whole video is probably the part where he looks directly into the camera and raps, “You look extra today: Extra tall, extra smart, extra talented, extra sexy, extra amazing.” Back atcha, Gary!

In other Mission Man news, he recently performed a new track, “Love, Funk and Soul,” with a live band. He’s taking this shit to the next level, y’all!

Mission Man embarks on his “I Quit My Job (please don’t make me go back)” tour

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When we first encountered Gary “Mission Man” Milholland back in 2011, he was a struggling underground rapper who delivered pizzas by day and spit rhymes by night. But now it’s 2013 and guess what, bitches? He’s rapping full time! Well-played, Gary. It’s success stories like yours that give us hope for weird and misunderstood artists everywhere.

In addition to honing his mic skills at, he promises, “5 open mike shows per week, plus hopefully a full show or two each week, as well,” The Mish is embarking on some January and March (not February, for some reason) tour dates. He’s dubbed his little eight-city jaunt the “I Quit My Job (please don’t make me go back)” tour. It starts on Jan. 19th, his birthday. So buy the man some cake, Dayton.

Jan 19     Blind Bob’s         Dayton, OH
Jan 20     One Eyed Jack’s     Fairborn, OH
Jan 21     Southgate House Revival Newport, KY
Jan 22     Stadium Bar and Grille     Oxford, OH
Jan 23     Scarlet and Grey Cafe     Columbus, OH
Jan 24     King Avenue 5         Columbus, OH
Mar 09     Southgate House Revival Newport, KY
Mar 14     Annabell’s         Akron, OH
Mar 16     Checkers N Trophies     Kent, OH

Here’s hoping Mission Man becomes enough of a force in 2013 that he can finally play the West Coast. As much as we enjoy his YouTube videos, something tells us you really need to see the man live to fully appreciate his unorthodox approach to beats and rhymes.

Weird Album Review: Mission Man, “M””

It’s been about a month since Gary “Mission Man” Milholland sent us one of the 100 CD copies of his 11th (11th!) album, M”. Jake and I have been fighting ever since over who should review it—because honestly, neither of us wanted to do it. I mean, what are we supposed to do? Tell you it sucks? Tell you it’s the work of a misunderstood genius? Tell you it’s both those things?

Here’s the thing about Mission Man: His approach to hip-hop (and yes, it’s fair to call what he does hip-hop, even if bears little resemblance to the shit they play on mainstream rap radio) values self-expression over art. Or, maybe more accurately, the self-expression is the art. Mission Man sounds like no one else not because he sucks (which is what most people think when they first hear him), but because he’s just being who he is—and he’s a self-taught white rapper/musician from rural Ohio with no real interest in molding himself to the mainstream. “I don’t need validation from the masses,” he raps on album opener “Open Mic,” over a lurching, clattering beat that may as well as be telling the masses to go fuck themselves. (Except that The Mish never, ever swears—so maybe it’s just politely telling the masses this might not be their jam.) Plenty of rappers love to drop verses about the many obstacles they’ve had to overcome—but with Mission Man, those obstacles include his own inability or unwillingness to make palatable music.

They also include all the pitfalls that come from being a totally D.I.Y. musician with limited funds and an even more limited fan base. Even though most of Mission Man’s songs are beamingly positive on their surface (with titles like “I Can Feel the Love,” “Wonder Years,” “It’s Good to Be Back,” etc.), they’re all shot through with the pain and sadness of someone who’s suffered more than his fair share of rejection and loneliness. The love in “With Love We Find Hope” is the kind of love that saves you after you’ve been “punched in the face”; the idyllic childhood in “Wonder Years” is contrasted with an adulthood in which “we started to want too much.” and in which all Mission Man wants is to “live today like I’m a kid, OK?” But you get the sense that he doesn’t quite succeed.

Musically, it’s not all the tuneless noodling of a self-taught outsider. “I Can Feel the Love” adds a little dubstep whomp to the chorus; “Livin'” features wah-wah guitar and a full-on disco beat, although it does eventually dissolve into a chaotic mess of noisy piano runs. This is still a Mission Man album, after all.

The most striking song on the album is “Wonder Years,” in no small part because it’s a cappella: Stripped of his quirky instrumentation, and without a beat to follow, Mission Man’s lyrics get to stand on their own, and in places, they’re startlingly beautiful: “There were no sad truths to get in the way/There wasn’t hope, I didn’t need it/I already lived like I was dreaming.” If Mission Man’s palpable desire to return to that carefree childhood (real or imagined? who cares?) doesn’t tug at your heartstrings a little, your heart might be in need of a tuneup.

Mish ends the album with “Extra,” a song about how a casually offered compliment can turn around your whole day. “You look extra today,” goes the chorus. “Extra tall, extra smart, extra talented, extra sexy, extra amazing.” And in this live clip shot last month, extra smooth, if we do say so. Gary’s got some new dance moves!

You can pick up M” in Mission Man’s online store for just $10 for the CD or $5 for the download. Buy a copy and you’ll make him feel extra amazing. You might even feel kind of amazing yourself.

Mission Man is hitting the road (and Kickstarter)

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Brace yourselves, Chicagoans: Mission Man is coming your way, and he is gonna blow your freakin’ minds. Even in the city that gave the world Common, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, they might not be ready for hip-hop this far off the grid.

For those of you new to these parts: Mission Man is Gary Milholland, a mild-mannered pizza delivery guy from Oxford, Ohio who onstage transforms himself into a rhyme-dropping ball of WTF. Even though his stuff is technically hip-hop, he probably has less in common with Kanye and Common than he does with another legendary Windy City denizen: Wesley Willis. Except The Mish isn’t black or schizophrenic and, as far as we know, is not prone to head-butting his fans. So on second thought, scratch the Wesley Willis comparison. Let’s just call him a true original and leave it at that.

In addition to his big Chi-town gig (tix available here), Mission Man is also playing multiple shows all over his home state all summer long. If you happen to be in the Buckeye State, catch him if you can. He’s by far the wackiest thing that place has produced since DEVO.

May 30    Mickey Finn’s Pub    Toledo, OH
Jun 08    Blind Bob’s    Dayton, OH
Jun 14    ELBO ROOM    Chicago, IL
Jun 23    Relay for Life    Oxford, OH
Jun 30    Symposium    Lakewood, OH
Jul 01    Scarlet and Grey Cafe    Columbus, OH
Aug 10    Greenwich Tavern    Cincinnati, OH

In other Mission Man news: You have just 13 days left to back his Kickstarter campaign, which will fund the release of his 11th studio album, M” (yes, with one quotation mark—even his titles are outside the box). Pony up, people! He’s only asking for $700, for Christ’s sake. As a pizza guy in a college town, he probably makes that much during finals week.

Watch the new Mission Man documentary, “Do What You Love”

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I have to be honest: When I first heard that someone had made a documentary about Gary “Mission Man” Milholland, I was really hoping it would suck, because I was jealous that someone beat us to the punch. Actually, it’s surprising it took this long. Given the success of other documentaries about struggling outsider musicians (Anvil! The Story of Anvil, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, etc., etc.), Milholland and his defiantly weird brand of homemade hip-hop is practically begging to be the next great cause célèbre of the film festival circuit.

I’m not sure Lawrence Kim’s 30-minute day-in-the-life snapshot of Mission Man is going to be the toast of Sundance or anything, but it does not suck. In fact, it’s really, really good. Damn you, Kim! We’ll have to set our sights on making the first documentary about Dwarr now instead.

Kim’s doc, very fittingly titled Do What You Love, can be watched in its entirety on the film’s Facebook page. Or you can peep the first nine minutes of it below. It might not make you a fan of Mission Man’s music—you either “get it” or you don’t, and most people don’t—but if it doesn’t make you a fan of Gary Milholland, then you probably have no soul.

Weirdify Playlist 7: Hip-Hoppish

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I once wrote in these virtual pages that there was “a severe shortage of truly weird hip-hop acts out there.” I’d like to now officially apologize for making such an ignorant and obviously untrue statement. I was listening to way too much formulaic Top 40 rap back then. I’ve broadened my horizons since then.

To illustrate, this week’s Weirdify playlist is all about the beats, rhymes and turntable wizardry. Shout out to Ian Frost and Army of Gay Unicorns for some helpful suggestions to round out the playlist. So fire up the ol’ Spotify and for God’s sake, make sure you’ve got a sound system with some decent bass. Even weird hip-hop needs to bump.

1. Die Antwoord, “Fok Julle Naaiers.” South Africa’s twisted “zef rap-rave” crew strikes again. Apparently the title is Afrikaans for “Fuck All Y’All.” I figured we oughta get the playlist off to a warm, fuzzy start.

2. TTC, “(pas la peine d’appeler je ne réponds pas au) TELEPHONE.” From South African rave-rappers to French rave-rappers. TTC are sort of France’s answer to the Beastie Boys, a bunch of smart-alecky white dudes who rap over everything from candy-colored electro (as on this track) to cheesy old-school disco. Je ne parle pas Français, but I hear the lyrics are hilarious.

3. Das Racist, “Happy Rappy.” Das Racist is a bunch of smart-alecky brown dudes (MC Heems and hype man Dapwell are of Indian decent, Kool A.D. is Afro-Cuban and Italian) from Brooklyn. Their big claim to fame is a novelty blog hit called “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” but they’re smarter than that. Mostly.

4. Birdy Nam Nam, “Engineer Fear.” Back to France again, this time to hear the crazy-quilt cut-and-paste sounds of a four-member DJ collective who can sample just about anything and make it sound funky, creepy and awesome.

5. Amon Tobin feat. MC Decimal R., “Verbal.” Tobin is another sample-based producer whose music is often only tangentially related to hip-hop. I just love the way he’s able to chop up this MC’s verses in a way that renders them completely unintelligible, but keeps their rhythm and attitude fully intact.

6. Goldie Lookin Chain, “Half Man Half Machine.” Imagine a bunch of Welsh lager louts putting their own sophomoric spin on the comedy rap of Flight of the Conchords and Lonely Island, and you’ve got Goldie Lookin Chain. It probably wouldn’t be half as funny if it weren’t for the drawling, gap-toothed accents. Apparently Wales is Great Britain’s answer to Mississippi.

7. Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, “Thou Shalt Always Kill.” More British hip-hop, this time from a producer/rapper duo who sound like characters from a Charles Dickens novel, except for the state-of-the-art, blippy production and the sardonic torrent of hipster one-liners. Say it with us now: “Thou shalt not shake it like a Polaroid picture.”

8. Mission Man, “These Are the Moments.” Gary “Mission Man” Milholland is the only artist featured in each of our last two playlists (this one and Weirdify 6: When You’re Strange, our tribute to outsider music). Yes, he’s that amazing. That free-form guitar solo at the end of this track? Genius.

9. Buck 65, “Spread ‘Em.” Richard “Buck 65” Terfry is, to the best of my knowledge, the only successful hip-hop artist ever to come out of rural Nova Scotia. Apart from that, he’s not actually that weird—although the Deliverance-like pervy cop he channels on this track is pretty incredible.

10. MC Frontalot, “Charisma Potion.” The first and still-greatest nerdcore rapper, MC Frontalot fills his tracks with references to role-playing games, tech blogs and other über-nerd touchstones. And he still manages to sound cool doing it. Also, he debates the correct pronunciation and usage of “attribute.” As a writer, I cannot tell you how deeply I appreciate this.

11. Yea Big & Kid Static, “We’ve Built a Time Machine That Runs on Beats. We Shall Only Use It for Good.” More geeky sci-fi rap, this time courtesy of a cult duo from Chicago. Turns out there’s a lot of this stuff out there; we could have also included tracks from Dr. Octagon or MC Hawking, but we decided, in the interest of equal time, to include an Insane Clown Posse track instead.

12. Busdriver, “Unemployed Black Astronaut.” Yeah, Busta Rhymes is pretty great, but this L.A. rapper is the underground’s undisputed master of tongue-twisting, warp-speed wordplay. He’s got weirder tracks than this one, but none cooler.

13. Sage Francis, “Zero.” Francis is chubby, bald, white and from Providence, Rhode Island. And he can rhyme circles around just about any mainstream rapper in the biz. This is from his most recent album, Li(f)e, which featured collaborations with members of Death Cab for Cutie, Grandaddy, Calexico and the late Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse.

14. Techno Animal, “Cruise Mode 101.” No weird hip-hop mix would be complete without a little industrial hip-hop. This angry little number comes courtesy of British producers Kevin Martin and Justin Broadrick’s Techno Animal project and features raps by a Chicago crew called Rubberoom. Angsty!

15. Insane Clown Posse, “Chicken Huntin’.” A funky little ditty about killing and eating hillbillies. Who’s hungry?

16. Brokencyde, “Goose Googlez.” I’m really sorry about including this one. I couldn’t resist. #Douchecore

17. The Notorious MSG, “Egg Rollin’.” Chinese comedy rap. It’s not racist if it’s being made by actual Asian guys, right? Actually, no, it’s still pretty racist.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s mix.

Weirdify Playlist 6: When You’re Strange

The only thing weirder than a weird band is a weird loner armed with a guitar, ukulele or thrift store keyboard. This week’s playlist celebrates some of the best, greatest and (to use a clinical term) craziest of those loners, along with a few other slightly more socialized purveyors of what’s come to be known as outsider music.

What is outsider music? Usually (though not always) it’s music created by someone with no formal training and often rudimentary technical abilities. To the untrained ear, it nearly all sounds terrible, but if you listen to enough it, you start to find some diamonds in the rough.

For more on the subject of outsider music, I highly recommend seeking out a copy of Songs in the Key of Z, an authoritative book on the subject by the great Irwin Chusid. That book informed much of this playlist—and, to be honest, much of this entire blog. Chusid’s the guru, we are but his lowly disciples.

Ready to take a walk on the weird side? Fire up your Spotify and make sure your headphones aren’t strapped on too tight.

1. Daniel Johnston, “Walking the Cow.” Maybe the most famous outsider singer/songwriter of his generation, Johnston is a diagnosed schizophrenic from Texas who writes surprisingly beautiful, simple little pop songs and sings them in an achingly childlike voice. Throughout the ’80s, he gained a sizable cult following for his homemade cassette tape albums, all illustrated with his own bizarre cartoon creatures like the one we swiped for this playlist’s artwork. There’s a documentary about him called The Devil and Daniel Johnston, and if you haven’t seen it, you should.

2. B.J. Snowden, “School Teacher.” Maybe the best way to describe this Massachusetts native is that she’s a female, less crazy version of Wesley Willis (see below). She claims to be a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, and works as a music teacher, but her songs mostly feature very rudimentary piano playing and cheesy, pre-programmed keyboard backbeats, a la Willis. Still, her stuff undeniably brings to mind words like “jaunty.” Fred Schneider of the B-52’s is a big fan.

3. Tiny Tim, “People Are Strange.” You’re probably too young to remember this, but this totally untiny performer, with his ukulele and unmistakable warble of a voice, was once one of the most famous musicians in the world. Bizarre, but true. Tiny Tim’s version of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” which he performed on Laugh-In in 1968, became a huge hit, making him a regular guest on that SNL precursor as well as The Tonight Show (he even got married on Johnny Carson’s set in late 1969, in what was at the time one of the most watched events in television history). As mind-blowingly ridiculous as his version of “Tulips” is, I thought this Doors cover was more apropos to this week’s theme.

4. Lucia Pamela, “Hap-Hap-Happy Heart.” Like many outsiders, the biographical details of this Missouri native are a bit hazy. She claims to have been crowned Miss St. Louis in 1926, which sounds plausible, and to have performed in the Ziegfeld Follies, which we’ll also buy—but then, she also claims to have been the first person on television, so who knows? What we can confirm is that, in her mid-sixties, she recorded an album in 1969 called Into Outer Space with Lucia Pamela and it’s kind of amazing. She’s one of Irwin Chusid’s favorites.

5. The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, “Someone Took the Yellow From My Egg.” A little a cappella interlude from Lubbock, Texas’ greatest proto-psychobilly lunatic.

6. Charles Manson, “People Say I’m No Good.” Yes, that Charles Manson. One of the world’s most notorious cult leaders and mass murderers is on Spotify. Yeah, we’re not sure how we feel about it, either.

7. Wesley Willis, “Mojo Nixon.” Chicago’s late, great purveyor of “Harmony Joy Music” (and our playlist’s second schizophrenic), Willis wrote bouncy tribute songs to everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Kurt Cobain. This, as far as I know, is the only song of his about another artist we’d already added to The Weird List.

8. Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper, “I’m Gonna Dig Up Howlin’ Wolf.” And here he is, Mr. Mojo himself, singing about digging up famous dead bluesmen and affixing their skulls to his guitar. We’re sure he’s just speaking metaphorically.

9. Bob Log III, “I Want Your Shit on My Leg.” For 20 years, Bob Log III has been persuading sweet young things the world over to put their “shit” (read: ass) on his leg so he can bounce them around while playing kick drum and high-hat with his feet. Yes, he’s a one-man Delta blues wrecking crew. In an Evel Knieval jumpsuit, no less.

10. Roky Erickson, “Don’t Slander Me.” Our playlist’s third schizophrenic, Roky (pronounced “Rocky”) was a psych-rock pioneer with his ’60s band, the 13th Floor Elevators, before  a trip to the loony bin sidelined him in 1968. He’s since made something of a comeback and is now a celebrated cult hero of psychedelic rock and outsider music. This track isn’t his nuttiest by a long shot—it kinda sounds like Creedence Clearwater Revival, which make sense given that he worked a lot with former CCR bassist Stu Cook in the late ’70s and early ’80s—but something about the sentiment makes it a perfect outsider anthem.

11. GG Allin, “I Live to Be Hated.” The original rock ‘n’ roll outsider—angry, obscene and unrepentant. This is actually one of his moodier, more introspective numbers.

12. The Mad Daddy, “Record Acid Test.” Just decided to throw in a wacky little transition from Cleveland’s Pete “Mad Daddy” Myers, one of the original lunatics of rock ‘n’ roll radio. Alan Freed may have “invented” rock DJing, but The Mad Daddy made it shake, rattle and roll, one wavy gravy platter at a time. (For more on Myers, this post is pretty excellent.)

13. Mission Man, “Gotta Work Hard.” If Mad Daddy had lived (sadly, he took his own life in 1968) to hear his fellow Ohioan Mission Man doing his stoned-Lou-Reed-rapping routine, we’re sure he would have approved. Or he might have said, “What the hell is this shit?” and put on another Elvis record.

14. Gonken, “Rockin’ Robots.” Another modern outsider for the electronic age, this time from Seattle. He’s making fun of pop music, sort of. But on another level, he’s just making so-bad-it’s-actually-kinda-good pop music.

15. Deerhoof, “My Pal Foot Foot.” One of our favorite current weird bands pays tribute to one of our favorite weird bands of yore, The Shaggs, by covering their immortal song about looking for a lost cat named Foot Foot. Magic ensues.

16. Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, “Grown So Ugly.” In many ways, Don Van Vliet doesn’t actually fit the classic mold of the outsider musician. The dude could actually play, as could his band, all of whom had deep roots in blues, jazz and the psychedelic rock scene of the late ’60s. But somehow, they managed to never let those skills or influences get in the way of creating records so original they were sometimes kinda frightening.

17. Arcesia, “Butterfly Mind.” Another discovery courtesy of the bottomless fount of weirdness that is Songs in the Key of Z, Arcesia was actually the work of a veteran big band crooner from Rhode Island named Johnny Arcessi who moved to California and became an acid casualty in the late ’60s. In 1970, at the age of 52, he released his one and only album as Arcesia, Reachin’, and it’s an amazing relic of that strange time in American history, an acid folk freakout delivered by a guy who clearly had lost all interest in phrasing, pitch or lyrical comprehensibility. Needless to say, it’s now a highly prized collector’s item—the fact that it’s on Spotify is almost as mind-blowing as Arcessi’s adenoidal bray.

18. Syd Barrett, “No Good Trying.” No self-respecting mix of outsider music would be complete without an appearance from that most famous acid casualty of all, Uncle Syd. R.I.P., gentle sir.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s mix.

Mission Man

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Sometimes, being weird can be a lonely business. Take Gary Milholland, aka Mission Man, veteran creator of “hip-hop without ego.” For 15 years, Gary’s been toiling away in his home studio somewhere in the boonies of Ohio, cranking out album after album of his bizarre version of hip-hop, doing everything from producing and playing all the instruments to, as he proudly notes in his video bio, “booking, promotion, choreography, music video production and direction, web design, and anything else that goes into living the life of an independent musician.” Yep, when your music is as out there as Mission Man’s, you pretty much have to be a one-man operation.

The message behind Mission Man’s music—his mission, if you will—could best be summed up with the title of one of his songs: “Do What You Love.” Mission Man loves making music and he’s going to keep on making it, even if no one really “gets him.” And believe us, the subtext of the video to “Do What You Love” is clearly “nobody gets me”—it’s pretty much just an endless series of shots of Mission Man performing at various near-empty bars, probably mostly at open mics, which he travels to all over the Eastern U.S., chronicling his journeys in heartbreaking detail on his website. “I received almost no response whatsoever, though I could see one person making fun of me,” reads a typical entry. After the open mic, “I found a Wal-Mart parking lot to sleep in, instead of a rest area. It’s nice to mix things up a bit.”

Back home, Milholland supports his Mission Man habit by delivering pizzas for Papa John’s. He even wrote a song about it, called “Chillin’ at the Papa,” which is actually among his catchier numbers. If the folks at Papa John’s had any sense, they’d license the song and make Mission Man their new spokesperson. I mean, look what Jared did for Subway—and that guy can’t even rap.

Some would argue that Mission Man can’t really rap either, and it’s fair to say that his flow is, well, unconventional. His verses do actually rhyme, for the most part, but rhythmically, they’re all over the place, and Milholland delivers them in a droning, Lou Reed-like monotone. He backs this up with instrumentation—guitar, bass, keyboards and electronic drums—that’s even more unconventional than his vocal delivery. “I have never learned music theory, nor have I ever learned how to play any other musician’s music,” Milholland defiantly declares on his blog. “I just make music from my heart.”

Earlier this year, Mission Man released his latest album, liberty island. (The album and song titles are all in lowercase to “reflect the lack of ego in Mission Man’s music,” according to his press release.) Milholland says the new songs represent his growth as an instrumentalist: “I’ve been really listening to Prince and other artists I have always loved, and most of all I am more free when I’m playing.” He’s also promised to make a video for each of liberty island‘s 11 tracks. If they’re all as wackadoodle as this computer-generated clip he created for the song “wonder,” we can’t wait to see the rest of them.

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