Insane Clown Posse are a unique band to say the least. They are arguably more famous for their devoted fan base known as Juggalos and the sheer amount of hate detractors send their way than their recorded output. Their festival, The Gathering of the Juggalos, grows in profile every year. It features several stages showcasing everything from professional wrestling, stand-up comedy and music with the likes of Ice Cube, Charlie Sheen and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic performing in recent years.
We caught up with Shaggy 2 Dope in the lead up to their Australian tour to discuss Juggalos, their festival, their interest in wrestling and their renowned live show among other things.
You guys often claim to be the worst band in the world, where did this come from?
S2D: No, no, we don’t claim to be the worst band in the world, we claim to be the most hated. There’s a big difference, you know what I’m sayin’.
Oh shit, sorry about that [laughs].
[Laughs] We came to the realisation that we don’t suck, you know what I’m sayin’. But as far as being the most hated band in the world, yeah, there is no question about that. People seem to be afraid to fuck with us. People love us, you know what I’m sayin’, but the people who don’t love us, HATE us. Not like, “Oh they suck, fuck them,” they HATE us. They’re bent on like, hoping that we die and we’re gone [laughs]. They actually dedicate time and effort into like, extra hating on us. It sounds crazy to me but what are you gonna do? Someone’s gotta take that title, so we proudly take it.
I can see how you guys could be a good target for that, but you seem to have big shoulders and can just brush it off.
Oh, we don’t brush it off, we embrace it. We’re like okay, cool, we’ll now you’re gonna hate us even more. Who gives a fuck, you know what I’m sayin’, because no matter how many people hate us, it just makes it that much more warmer and fuzzier and awesome and lovable in our world for the people that love us and who we ride with.
Speaking of people that love you, how did the Juggalo movement start?
You know, that’s a very good question, we’ve been asked that a lot of times and its really hard to put your finger on. The way that we talk, the way that we convey what we say, the stuff we talk about, there is people that get it. Obviously there are more people that don’t get it but there are people that do get it, and those people are the same exact kind of people that me and J (Violent J is the other member of ICP) are, and everybody that is on Psychopathic (Psychopathic Records is their label) and everyone that works for Psychopathic. They weren’t
the coolest kid, or the richest kid or whatever; they were kind of looked down upon. But as the years went by more and more people who dug our shit or whatnot just started to band together. We never even dubbed or coined the term Juggalo. Juggalos made that word up. It might be a spin off from when we used to say juggler and stuff like that but we never actually coined the term Juggalo. We’re not like Justin Beiber who called his fans “Belibers” or Lady Gaga who called her fans “Little Monsters” or Slipknot with “Maggots,” its nothing like that, it was just an organic thing that happened.
That must be really inspiring. How did that lead into The Gathering of the Juggalos?
Back in the day we didn’t have any idea what we were going to do but we had like hotlines and stuff, obviously before the Internet and cell phones all that shit. We were just hyping up that something big was gonna happen on a certain date, just for no reason, we just started doing it and then that date started approaching and we were like, “oh shit, what are we gonna do?” So like a year or two before we did this thing out the front of a record store where we had carnival rides and vendors and just made a big weekend out of it, just selling our stuff and making a big event out of it. It went over pretty good so were like what about taking this event we’ve been hyping up and making it our very own festival with people that listen to our stuff. This was back when the word Juggalo was still new and stuff, but we wanted this event to be something for the Juggalos. Then lo and behold we had a festival and we decided to call it The Gathering of the Juggalos. It did good, so we decided to make it an annual thing and we kept going with it. Next thing you know here we are however many years later, fifteen, sixteen years later still doing it.
So what made you decide to expand it out to include wrestling and comedy and that type of thing in it?
Well the wrestling things, that’s something both me and J did locally, like independent stuff before we started rapping. We did all the backyard wrestling, we were super into it, super into wrestling, and then the music career started taking off we made the obvious choice. It’s great to be able to still be involved though, because we still have root deep love for it. We’ve been on WWE, WCW, ECW, GMA, all the major ones, it has been great and we still continue with our own promotions in the form of JCW, Juggalo Championship Wrestling. We feel pretty blessed about all that you know.
The Backyard Wrestling games was actually how I was introduced to you guys, back on Playstation 2 or whatever it was.
Yeah, we were pretty stoked about that when it first came out, we were like “hell yeah, that’s dope.” The guy that put that together for us back in that day worked for the video game company Eidos Interactive, we’re still crazy good friends with him, he is actually a cast member on our show we do for the Fuse network. His name is Kevin Gill, he is one of our super long time homies, and all of it stems
from those Backyard Wrestling games. Its kinda cool how things work out like that, you know what I’m sayin’.
What do you think it is about wrestling that draws so many musicians? Like there are you guys, Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins), Bob Mould (Sugar, Hüsker Dü), you have all been involved in professional wrestling over the years.
Well, because pretty much every dude on the face of the planet is a wrestling fan, whether they want to admit it or not, a lot of people are closet wrestling fans. It taps into a primal instinct; you know everybody knows it’s phoney and hokey nowadays. There is a chance to really get hurt up there and wrestlers do get hurt, I mean I’ve broken my neck, my back is all messed up and all that shit. It’s the storylines, the following, you get in there and a see men get in there and beat the shit outta one and other, what is there not to like? Nowadays especially, you’ve got chicks that wrestle and they’re all hot, stripper looking chicks. It’s not like back in the day with big, burly women. There is something for everyone you know. Wrestling works in spikes, like it will die down and then it will come back super huge, its not gonna go anywhere, its been around since the 1800s.
I wanted to ask you about the Jack White collaboration, how did that come about?
He actually got a hold of us, saying he was doing a series of 45s called his ‘Blue Series,’ where he wanted to work with obscure people he doesn’t normally work with. He worked with everyone from Tom Jones to us to so many different people. His whole thing was not to say what anything was about, we flew down to Nashville, Tennessee and we didn’t even know what we were going to do until we got into the studio. He likes taking people out of their elements, throwing them a curve ball and seeing how they work with it. It turned out cool; he was a very, very cool guy. I think he wanted to fuck with us for the simple fact that a lot of people are still wondering what the hell us and Jack White were doing making tracks together. It made noise. Plus, we are from the same area, the South West side of Detroit, so I guess we had that in common. I’m sure in his head he was like “I know people are gonna be like what the fuck when I’m working with them.” It was really cool and we’re really happy we did it and got the experience of doing it.
Australian Customs have banned you guys from bringing Faygo (a cheap Mid-Western soft drink used in their live shows) into the country, how will this affect your live show?
Its not that you aren’t allowed to bring it into the country, the problem is the quantity that we bring. We throw so much Faygo during each show; the amount we throw in one show could keep a store in business for two years [laughs]. The problem with customs is that they think because of the amount we bring that we are going to sell it, and that involves a whole other set of problems with trade and patents; I don’t know how it works. But yeah, we’ll get some out there to make it official. We’ll smuggle it in our butts or whatever [laughs], we’ll get some up in there, you know. I personally won’t be smuggling any in my butt, we’ll hire people to do that.
You’ll need a lot of people, won’t you?
[Laughs] Yeah, we’ll have to find some crack heads or something. But yeah, it’ll be going down man.
Awesome, so what can we expect when you grace our stages in a few weeks time?
Ah man, just classic ICP. The crowd actin’ wild, you’ll probably get wet and hopefully barricades will be close to the stage so we can have some stage divin’ and some mosh pittin’. Good old fashioned, organised, violent fun. If there are any innocent bystanders, come and join in on the fun, but if you’re a bit scared stay up the back because this isn’t a show with two guys sitting up there on stools with acoustic guitars crooning people. It’s an elaborate, theatrical stage show. Every show we do, we put 100% into it. We end up almost passed out, if we don’t pass out we ending puking when we get off stage because there is so much energy put into it. We give everything we can to make sure the crowd gets every penny’s worth. It’s what we pride ourselves on, we love doing it, and we love the response we get from doing it. It will be great coming back there and playing Australia again.
Insane Clown Posse plays The Hi-Fi on Thursday the 5th of December – tickets are still available here.