“Detroit's not a touristy place, you know?” says Joey Utsler. “But what're you gonna do about it?”

“There's not a whole lot here,” adds his childhood friend Joe Bruce. “It's a fucking vast wasteland. I don't wanna diss my own city, but having traveled so much, it's a vast wasteland of poverty. That's what Detroit is.”

We're not sitting in “Detroit city limits,” as they would say, but in the northern suburbs, an area neatly divided along class, income and safety lines by the “mile roads.” Local-boy-gone-Hollywood Marshall Mathers made the mile roads famous with his hugely successful movie 8 Mile.

Here's how Joe Bruce once explained it: “The higher the number of the mile road, the farther you are from Detroit. Mile roads 5 up to 8 are actually in Detroit city limits. From 8 Mile to 10 Mile it's pretty much the bordering trashy suburbs. North of 10 Mile, all the way out until the mile roads end at something like the 28 Mile Road, are suburban, safe and friendly, I guess.”

Marshall Mathers, of course, reinvented himself as Eminem and initially broke through to the mainstream with a cartoonishly violent character called Slim Shady. Mathers eventually jettisoned Shady for a shot at the Oscars. Now his latest image, a strangely waxlike face, presides from huge pop radio billboards over both sunny Sunset Boulevard and gloomy Detroit freeways.

Another homeboy, Bob Ritchie from way out on 28 Mile Road, reinvented himself as Kid Rock. Ritchie first gained local attention in the early '90s, but then his fame faded and he continued paying his dues in the underground like everyone else. In 1998 he blew up with a peculiar blend of hip-hop, country, metal and Southern-flavored redneck pride. He's now an established worldwide stadium act, with his own themed cruise, Kid Rock's “Chillin' the Most” Cruise.

Joe Bruce and Joey Utsler, on the other hand, never really left and never really changed. They are not given Oscars and they don't get asked to duet with Sheryl Crow. The established music industry occasionally tries to make money off of them, but neither party ends up liking it.

Dressed like clowns (literally) and rapping about ax murder, God and Faygo (a Midwestern soft drink), Joe and Joey, aka Insane Clown Posse, have built a commercial empire of their own from those “bordering, trashy suburbs” and they're mad proud of it.

The Weekly interviewed them at their headquarters just south of 9 Mile, a merchandise warehouse/recording studio/video operation/office suite where Joe and Joey supervise the entire Psychopathic Records empire. It's an operation set up with the same kind of assembly-line efficiency that entrepreneurs like Henry Ford and Berry Gordy conjured from Detroit's bleak landscape.

Their fans have supported them for almost 20 years, getting involved in all their endlessly diversifying enterprises: clothing lines, an independent wrestling league (JCW), a massive yearly music festival (The Gathering) and more.

With the music industry imploding, their operation continues to grow. When we spoke with them, they were in full multitasking mode — wrapping up an album of collaborations, working on a new record by side project Psychopathic Rydas, and developing an ambitious plan to broadcast all their activities through an Internet pay-per-view scheme.

Still, the world continues to treat them as a joke that won't go away.

“Look at us now,” Joe lamented in his often moving 2003 autobiography, Behind the Paint. “We're still scrubs. No Grammys, no Hollywood parties, no celebrity appearances, none of that. We just don't count. Even after selling 5 million albums, we just don't count. It's in our blood. For eternity, we're gonna be the fucking underdog. No matter what happens.”

Joe and Joey, aka Violent Jay and Shaggy 2 Dope, became the Insane Clown Posse around 1992. Before that they were the Inner City Posse, a crew based on the southwest side of Detroit, notorious for petty crime, graffiti and an obsession with gangsta rap and barely professional wrestling.

Joe is prone to mystical raptures: His autobiography is marked by a series of crucial encounters with the divine, both within and beyond nature. The decision to turn the Inner City Posse into the Insane Clown Posse, though deliberately crafted as an answer to the pseudosatanic antics of local MC Esham the Unholy, was infused with a kind of supernatural revelation — “like getting the Holy Ghost,” according to Joe.

The Insane Clown Posse spawned something called the Dark Carnival, a complex mythology with a strong ethical component (including work ethics) designed to help people cope with a wicked environment. There are many parallels with the Wu-Tang Clan and their Shaolin universe, also built up around the same time from the debris of '70s and '80s pop culture in a bleak landscape of poverty, joblessness and family instability left behind after the Reagan years.


The Dark Carnival was a kind of religious revelation slowly unveiled between 1992 and 2003 in a series of ICP albums known as “the 6 Joker Cards.”

This whole scheme was in Joe's head way back in 1992. He inspired his closest friends, including hip-hop nut Joey, and soon the whole artistic-mystical project had a commercial component called Psychopathic Records.

Fans slowly but steadily began paying attention to ICP and their Dark Carnival mythology, first around the Detroit area, then around Michigan, then around the Midwest, and later, though much more slowly, beyond the heartland and the United States.

The Dark Carnival was a sort of universe conceived out of circus lore, sideshow mayhem and a lot of '80s horror movie and serial killer lore, an obscurely spiritual space full of ringmasters, riddle boxes, hatchets and jugglers.

At a live show, Joe accidentally called his fans “Juggalos” and they adopted the term for themselves (the female fans then became “Juggalettes”). Joe's imagination is providential, though: There are no accidents — it's all the mysterious workings of the Dark Carnival.

Major labels noticed the regional success of the ICP and the group was tempted by the mirage of “getting signed.” After being screwed over by Jive, they landed on Disney-owned Hollywood Records. A friendly A&R guy had their back until the parent company got cold feet and started interfering with the fourth Joker Card, 1997's The Great Milenko. The record was recalled hours after being released (Disney was being attacked by the family-values goons at the time and wanted to punish ICP for PR purposes), but the advance they had been given was used to secure the Psychopathic Records headquarters. The Dark Carnival continued working in mysterious ways.

Five years after ICP's debut, the national press and the mainstream media finally learned about the phenomenon. They also learned that pretending to be outraged about their horror movie aesthetics, their evil-clown shtick and the tone of their lyrics (not particularly different from a lot of metal and hip-hop, and often more surreal and wittier) made for good copy and video.

Though Joe and Joey — like many high school dropouts — fetishize the approval of authorities and get seriously hurt and angry at their criticism and derision, they soldiered on with their careers, catering to an ever-growing crowd of Juggalos and Juggalettes.

Juggalos are typically people of a similar background to Joe and Joey, who really don't want to relate to the glitz of pop or the vagaries of indie, not even as an escape fantasy. Joe and Joey are, will be and always have been like them: written-off scrubs who are stealthy, wrong-righting ninjas in their hearts.

Two basic things about ICP and Juggalos that outsiders might not know: The band is the product of Detroit's postracial environment, where families and stepfamilies of mixed backgrounds are not uncommon, and they really don't have any time for racism, bigotry or “rednecks”; and although they exist in violent environments and often have violence in their lives, ICP tend to be righteous about it. Joe Bruce also has a fascination with nature and animals: The biggest villain in his autobiography is a stepfather who kicked his dog across the room; and, unlike Kid Rock, he's not too keen on Ted Nugent, hunting, rebel flags, etc.

In 1998, Joe suffered a series of panic attacks that went undiagnosed for a while. First he thought he was dying, and then his brother suggested he was being attacked by demons. He eventually was diagnosed and started taking medication, but it was making him very fat (Joe has the naturally intimidating figure of a wrestler or bouncer), so he settled for therapeutic weed and long, meditative walks in the Michigan forest.

The first Joker Card cycle started winding down in late 2002 with the release of The Wraith: Shangri-La, a slickly produced album about how to cope with your own death. It ended with the track “Thy Unveiling,” an epic tour de force where they revealed that the Dark Carnival was actually God.

To the hard-core Juggalos, who had been paying attention to the whole saga, this was not a big surprise, though some of those who were into ICP for the clowning and the ax murders felt cheated. (The track ends with a heavenly choir of “We're not sorry if we tricked you!” and “Always remember to fuck off.”)

Shortly before the reveal of The Wraith, Joe released the rap “Simple and Blunt,” a concise statement of purpose:

We forever underground 'cause up on the surface

They've always said we talentless pieces of shit and worthless,

Yet, as I'm writing this now,

I glance over at the wall and I don't know how

But we got two platinum albums and another four gold


And we never used MTV, we went up the back road

And built a fan base that's so behind the clown

That they'll tear your fuckin' city in half to show they down!

But see that's just it though,

It ain't a fan base

It's a family drawn together like we from outer space.

I mean, we call ourselves Juggalos,

I guess that explain it.

We relate 'cause we been through the same kinds of pain.

I mean, ICP don't rap about the money we get

Because half the juggalos so broke they stealing our shit

And they don't wanna hear about us pushing a Benz

When they takin' fuckin' Greyhounds just to get to Gatherings.

Tell me this, motherfucker, truly, how you living?

Ever get the urge maybe do a little wig-splitting?

Ever been the last kid picked for a team?

Ever had motherfuckers come and shit on your dreams?

From 2002 to 2009, Joe and Joey continued touring, organizing ever-growing yearly Gatherings, and improving their mastery of the Internet to communicate with their fan base. As the music industry began to implode, ICP diversified.

In 2009, ICP released the album Bang! Pow! Boom!, the first Joker Card of a Second Deck related to the Dark Carnival. (ICP currently is working on The Mighty Death Pop, the second Joker Card. “The album cover Joker's Card face that they have already revealed is really only half of the cover,” Psychopathic Records exclusively told L.A. Weekly. “The Mighty Death Pop actually has two faces. We've only shown one face so far.” Juggalos follow the unveiling of each card and interpret every clue with religious zeal.)

Bang! Pow! Boom! included a song called “Miracles,” where Joe and Joey, in their Violent Jay and Shaggy 2 Dope clown garb, marvel with childlike innocence at a series of wonders. Then they made a video, which they uploaded onto YouTube, expecting only Juggalos to watch and enjoy it.

But then the “Miracles” video — particularly Joey's lyric, “Fucking magnets, how do they work?” — was noticed by many, many non-Juggalos on the Internet and ICP had their first aboveground viral video, with many millions of views. Without their even trying, ICP's gospel was being passed around and one of their most heartfelt songs was being heard by people who had forgotten about ICP since the latest scandal.

But once again, the scrubs weren't getting any respect from the mainstream: Reporters were calling from all over the world to mock the high school dropouts about their misunderstanding of basic physics.

Joe Bruce/Violent Jay: Let me say this: For us getting fucked with and made fun of, it's so funny, because we're living a dream. We work every day with our best friends. We still get to be with each other after all these years. We get to make decent money together, our best friends from childhood. …

Joey Utsler/Shaggy 2 Dope: Who's really laughing here? Ha-ha, motherfucker.

L.A. WEEKLY: But at what level do you feel bad that people make fun of ICP? Because if you come out and say, “We're clowns,” “We're coming at you with all these gimmicks,” a certain amount of mockery is expected, right?

VJ: Look at the “Miracles” thing. We don't think that was funny. That was us trying. That was us doing our best.

Who wrote “Miracles”?

S2D: Together. The song, the video, everything.

VJ: I write the first initial skeleton of it, and then he takes it and adjusts it to his liking.

We started the new album. That was one of the first songs we did. When I heard the beat I thought of the concept, which is about … You know, I had kids recently — not recently but four, five years ago, and I'm showing them everything through their eyes, for the first time. Everything, brother. Even magnets.

My kids find that shit fascinating. Everything is fascinating through the eyes of a kid. But we grow out of that shit. I'm not just babbling — this is what the song is about! We grow to not appreciate shit anymore. Like a forest, or anything like that. A shooting star, a fucking comet flying by. Things like that, they're nothing like us anymore. We live in the everyday hustle of our life.

Even kids don't appreciate that shit anymore. Kids don't even go outside anymore. I remember the first time I saw a fucking june bug turn into a butterfly, you know what I'm sayin'? [He's referring to two different stories in his autobiography.] I was mesmerized for years about that shit, you know? And nowadays you talk about that, you bring that up, and people laugh at you. That's what the song is about. These are miracles, and we're not religious like that. … I mean, I'm religious …


S2D: I'm not religious.

VJ: We don't go to church, I don't have a pastor or nothing like that, but I like to think I believe in God. But that's not what the song is about. …

S2D: People now are [in dumb voice], “Are you guys, like, Christian rappers?” “No. Where the fuck did you get that from?”

The U.K. paper The Guardian claimed you guys were “evangelical Christians” after the “Miracles” video went viral.

VJ: That shit is crazy. [Laughs]

S2D: Yeah, no. [Laughs]

VJ: I don't deny believing in God, you know what I'm sayin', but we don't have a master plan or nothing.

Well, you could claim you have a master plan, declare ICP a religion and stop paying taxes.

VJ: Church doesn't have to pay taxes?

S2D: No.

VJ: [Excited] Wo-o-o-o-o-w. … Maybe we should open a church! I didn't even know that.

So you finished “Miracles” and you decided to do the video?

VJ: Well, we did the album and we did a couple of videos. The album was doing very good for us, so we decided to do a video for that song. We said, “Let's do a video about one of our more touching ones.” Which, honestly, even making that song, it isn't nothing new to the ICP world. We got lots of songs like that. I can name them all if you'd like. “Joke Ya Mind.” “Pass Me By,” “Nothing's Left,” “Crossing That Bridge” …

They're deep, they're slow, they're meaningful. They're not about ax murder. They're deep songs where we're trying to talk about deep things. Like for example, “Crossing That Bridge” is about children dying early. What happens when they cross the bridge, you know? Do they have to be judged on heaven or hell? Now, a religious man could answer that for you, but we honestly don't know that, you know?

So that's what that song is about: It's just everyday men asking questions like that. I'm sure a preacher can tell you the answer according to that Bible or whatever, but it's just us asking questions in the form of song.

When it came out the joke was … the song, everything. “Are they serious? Did they think those are miracles? Are they fucking serious about that?” Once again, ICP is looked at like … goofs, you know. And that's all right by us. Shit, that's super all right by us.

S2D: It's so funny. I said this to a couple of different people. To me is funny because if, say, Bob Dylan would have came up with that song, people probably would have been, “Oh, shit, man! That's the bomb!” You know what I'm sayin'. But because we came up with it, they're, like, “What assholes.” [Bob Dylan's much-admired “Every Grain of Sand” is in fact very close in subject to ICP's “Miracles.”]

But that's not the reaction many people have had. At all.

VJ: Really? What did you hear?

S2D: Go on YouTube, brother.

VJ: We must have been asked in interviews at least 100 times how magnets work! It's like a joke. What did you hear about the song?

I think it redefined the ICP brand as something more friendly to non-Juggalos. Before “Miracles,” people on the outside just heard about controversies with record labels and bad stuff that happened at the Gathering festival. [Last year, ICP was in the news when Tila Tequila was pelted with human feces by unappreciative Juggalos at the festival.] “Miracles” and the magnets made people see you in a humorous light. It was kind of endearing.

VJ: That's great to hear, man! If that's the case, there's a lot more like that where that came from.

S2D: From an outsider view, that's the first thing I heard like that.

VJ: I haven't heard anything like that. That's wonderful. That song was for Juggalos. We didn't think anything would happen with that outside of the Juggalo world. We made it to school Juggalos — we thought they would be, “That's awesome.” They love it, because it's part of our style. You can pull any of our albums out, you're gonna find a song with that type of flavor. That's nothing new to us. We always get deep. That's why Juggalos love us. It's not just the ax murder, there's more to our dish than that.

Honestly, we've come from the heart, our whole career. Juggalos know that, but most people just know us as, like you said, wild-style acts, you know, throwing shit. No, that was a song for Juggalos. Nothing adventurous, no new ground for us.

We never thought it'd go viral like that. I'm glad it did — best thing that ever happened to us, probably — but it's nice to hear you say that. That kind of flips my wig.


I think the main reason we get a lot of hate was that when that Disney thing happened in '97 we did get a lot of press and it was all negative. And every single one of them wrote us off. “You'll never hear these guys again.” “You'll never hear them again.” “This is a stupid goofy-ass idea gimmick fucking bullshit.” But here we are. All these years later.

S2D: We were selling records already at that point, which I don't think they realized.

VJ: The general idea of hating. People hating something that they don't understand or they didn't have a part in creating. You know, like MTV and VH1 and the radio world, they got nothing to do with our success, so therefore they were, “Fuck them.”

But now I'm confused! There you were in L.A. having good feelings about it.

And also New York. When Saturday Night Live made fun of the “Miracles” video, it was not at all offensive to you guys.

VJ and S2D: No! Not at all.

S2D: I can't believe when people come to us and say, “What do you think about that Saturday Night Live?” Nothing, man. How can you be mad at that? That's what they do. It's funny parodies of shit, you know. That's the greatest thing ever, Saturday Night Live.

VJ: The last thing we wanna come off like, and I really mean this, is that we're bitching and complaining about our career. I love where we are. I love that we are “The Most Hated Band in the World.” I love how misunderstood we are — that's what makes us so special to our fans.

While the Internet urbanites laugh at “Miracles” (reality check: Do you know how magnets work? Really?), the music industry peddles Kim Kardashian's latest single to aspirational mall sluts, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé take vacations in St. Barts alongside Wall Street crooks, Joe and Joey keep providing their mix of violent escapist fantasies and deep thought to an ever-expanding audience of scrubs.

“When I was a kid,” Joe wrote in his book, “I never really missed money; we loved having no money.” Joe has a mixture of utter contempt and fascination for the rich and privileged. As a young dropout, he couldn't deal with the idea of his mother, a church janitor who occasionally worked as a cleaning lady, having to clean some other family's house for money. “I HATED THE RICH,” he wrote, and later pointed out that buying his mom a house and taking care of her financially “was probably the freshest thing I've ever done in the world.”

But he also lusts after a kind of middle-class attention (musically and socially) that seems totally beyond his reach, no matter how rich and successful he gets. According to Joe's book, at video and film shoots (where he's the boss), he constantly tries to pick up girls on the crew, but “All those bitches are out of reach,” he complains. “They are all friendly, flirty, alternative, New York– or L.A.-style bitches, who spend all of their free time with art-faggy boyfriends who eat tofu and shit. They hate you. I've learned that. Maybe that's why they look so good to us, because we know they ain't having us. Maybe that's what makes us want them more. Even if other bands get to fuck them vegetarians, college film bitches, we sure as hell don't get to.”

VJ: The thing about ICP is really quite simple: Me and this guy grew up together as friends in his mom's front yard and in his mom's backyard. But everything that was cool to us as 13-, 14-year-old kids, everything we thought would be the shit, is exactly what we are doing. It's simple. We just applied what we thought would be the shit. … You know, “We're gonna be the bad guys, and have the makeup on, and we're gonna be the most hated and we're gonna be this and that and one day we're gonna do wrestling.” And we did everything we set up to do as kids, and we still are doing it today. Same fucking thing.

What was the role of hip-hop in those fantasies?

VJ and S2D: [At once, equally excited] Gangsta rap!

VJ: N.W.A, Geto Boys …

S2D: I was into this shit since before that, but gangsta rap definitely was a pivotal moment.

VJ: We got pictures of him [laughs], probably 10 years old, with the hat and those lines in his eyebrows, Kangol, Adidas shit. … He was just a kid.

S2D: [Laughs] That was my movie when I was a kid: Beat Street, you know what I'm sayin'? Krush Groove not so much, but Beat Street, that was my shit — the elements of hip-hop in all that.


VJ: But it wasn't like it is now. We were the only white kids wearing medallions, wearing hood emblems. We were the only motherfuckers in our school wearing Adidas. Today it's different — it's the style, it's everywhere. Back in the day, you gotta remember, we were the only motherfuckers dressed like that.

S2D: I got the pictures.

What did the other kids say about you?

VJ: We went to a mixed school, so it wasn't that unusual. There was every race at our school. …

S2D: Every style, everything …

VJ: So there wasn't a big deal, you know.

S2D: I didn't hang out with anyone who went to my school anyhow. I did hang out with all these guys who were older and shit.

VJ: I dropped out. You know, Billy, our CEO, we all grew up together. We all dropped out together. We used to do a paper route together. Me, Billy, Dougie, Joey [Shaggy], Chuckie. The same guys that are here now.

Are you old enough to remember proper carnivals and sideshows and all that?

S2D: Yep.

VJ: The ending of it. In the earliest days, we went to see the state fair, and they don't even do it no more, but they had Crab Boy. They had a guy whose hands were formed into claws, you know? And he had feet that were formed into crab things too, you know? And we'd sneak in the back of his tent 'cause it cost money to see him when we were kids. We'd sneak in the back to look at him from behind, and he had a hose in his arm and he'd squirt us with the hose to get away. They had Crab Boy, they had Snake Lady … this was the end, brother. This was the last …

S2D: Billy Reed.

VJ: They had Billy Reed! He's still alive! He'd put a nail into his nose and the barker next to him would say, “Billy Reed! He's still alive! Billy Reed! He's still alive!” And we'd be walking by and people would pay to come in and see Billy Reed. It would just be some heavy metal kid sitting back there, it would be like one of Beavis and Butt-head, and he would be back there just puttin' nails up his nose, and the guy up front would make it sound like it's so awesome.

Is the Gathering of the Juggalos sort of the continuation of that?

VJ: Yeah.

S2D: Exactly. That's not a bad idea. [Looks at Jay] We should do a sideshow.

VJ: We don't actually bring in any deformed people or anything, but the idea of barkers, the showmanship of it all — it's all that the Gathering is. The old-school carnival. Now if you go to a carnival or circus, the ringmaster is the host from the radio station or something. C'mon, man, get the guy, the authentic Ringmaster who travels the world!

S2D: Bring in that creepy guy who probably just touched a kid before in that city, you know? [Laughs] Who knows what the fuck he's up to in nighttime, you know. The cool thing about the Gathering is that it's not just like another festival. It's 24 hours a day. It just doesn't stop. From 6 in the morning to 6 in the morning.

How long does it last?

VJ: Five days. It officially lasts four days, but we open it a day earlier. It's been on the same spot for the last five years.

S2D: We used to find a spot, then we'd be comfortable there and then something would happen.

VJ: We got kicked out of our last spot.

S2D: When we first started, we'd do it in convention centers. Indoors. The first one was here in Novi [Mich.], the second one was in Toledo, the third one in Peoria. But once you get a bad reputation in a certain circle, you kind of get blackballed in that circle. So the convention hall circuit kind of blackballed us. Word got around that kids would be putting stickers and spray-painting, and of course you can't have something of that magnitude in a controlled environment, you know.

Have you ever miscalculated with a booking at the Gathering?

VJ: Tila Tequila.

That wasn't on purpose?

VJ: No-o-o-o. We bring in who we think it's gonna be the shit. When it comes to Tila Tequila, we thought, “That bitch is hot,” you know? “People are gonna want to see her, she's like an Internet sensation for being hot.” And then we listened to her song [they both laugh] — she had a song out called “I Wanna Fuck the DJ.” We were, like, “That's perfect for what we're doing.”

S2D: We had no idea that was going to whip into that kind of storm. Everybody thought it was premeditated, but we had no idea.


Some people don't understand that it's knuckleheads in the crowd that are gonna throw some shit. They don't understand it's not us.

VJ: We don't pay somebody all that money to come in and get booed. No fucking way. We're not that brilliant anyway.

S2D: Right. VJ: We had Ice Cube a couple of years ago. And he would only meet one of us. We asked his people if we could meet him and they said, “No.” We said, “We'd like to talk to him before he goes onstage, because he should know a couple of things.” 'Cause they just pulled their bus into the Gathering and right up to back of the stage. He wasn't hangin' out or anything.

S2D: He was all business.

VJ: So we felt we had to tell him, you know, “These are Juggalos, they wanna be addressed as such,” we told him about the “whoop, whoop” [a Juggalo chant], some people don't know what it is, they think it's booing or something else. We wanted to give him the heads-up on everything, so they told us they'd let one of us in. So I went — I think I might be a little bit of a bigger fan.

Was Ice Cube familiar with ICP?

VJ: He didn't give me any indication that he knew anything about us. I told him the deal, I told him it was an honor to have him there, I told him he's one of my all-time favorite rappers and I've followed his entire career word for word. …

S2D: He's a businessman.

Did he follow your advice onstage? Did he address the Juggalos as such?

VJ: Absolutely! Everything we said! It was obscene. And he gave us a shout-out! He said, “I wanna thank the Insane Clown Posse,” right from the stage. Which made our fucking day.

The opposite of the chaotic Gathering would be the Internet pay-per-view project you're working on, right?

VJ: Uh-huh. That's our new thing. That's what we're diving into headfirst. We have a wrestling show every two weeks here in Detroit. We're rehearsing right now. We're getting our lighting down, we're getting our camera tactics down, because two weeks from tomorrow we're going to Internet pay-per-view and we wanna be tight, if we're gonna charge. We're just gonna jump into Internet pay-per-view. People would get to see all the cool things we do. Last year we did something called Oddball Bonanza. And it would start with a comedian and then we'd say, “Take it away!” and everyone in the crowd — we had it in Philadelphia, 2,000 people — and then everyone in the crowd just turns around and we have a ring over here and in the ring we have a guy laying on a bed of nails and a guy does a sledgehammer or breaks a brick on his stomach or whatever. Or a guy flipping a cigarette out of a chick's mouth with a whip, and then you go back to the stage and then we'd have one of our acts perform.

There's so much we got throughout the year. We got Big Ballers' Christmas Party, we got record-release parties, we got Hatchet Attacks, we got Oddball Bonanza, we got wrestling every two weeks. We got the Gathering and all the cool shit that goes down at the Gathering. We got the comedy stage and all the other stages. You'll have a menu of all the things you wanna see. This year we're gonna bring in Bob Saget, for example. So if you just wanna see Bob Saget, you can rent that part of the pay-per-view. Internet pay-per-view — we feel that's our future.

This is how Joe Bruce described in his book the birth of the Insane Clown Posse, back in 1992:

“Look at L.A., for example. First came N.W.A, and then came Compton's Most Wanted, Above the Law, WC & the Maad Circle, and then everything else in gangsta rap, right? All these rappers are doing gangsta rap in L.A. Gangsta rap is known worldwide as L.A.'s style of rap. Well, what is Detroit's rap known for? The Unholy Esham. Then you got redneck-ass Kid Rock. This is some crazy-ass cartoon shit!

“Maybe the reason nobody's buying up our EP is because we're just doing some of that same old gangsta rap, like everybody else. Man, we ain't from fuckin' L.A. Why don't we just get brave, and add to this crazy Detroit sound?

“Like Esham, let's do what we're about: the wicked shit. Let's make Detroit the home of the true horror shit. Only, fuck that shit, we ain't gonna rap about no devil shit. We'll discover our own shit.


“Let's add our own sick humor, too. Let's create something brand-new! Look at the Detroit music scene. It's crazy — you got a redneck kid from 28 Mile Road and a devilish 666 rapper. This is fuckin' music for the mad!

“According to most people we ain't the shit! We're scrubs. We are and always have been broke as fuck, and we know it. We ain't tough gangstas. We've been getting fucked off. Our whole lives we have been the scrubs, so we might as well rep that some way.

“Let's rap about the shit that makes us wanna become serial killers, just to let it all out. You know, let's dig deep inside and pull out the stupid shit that makes us who we are, and let's rap about it. Let's put our biggest fears and angers on tape. We're scrubby-ass killer clowns!

“Clowns who murder and kill people who deserve to be murdered or killed.”

The 12th Gathering of the Juggalos will be held Aug. 11-14. JCW Wrestling: biweekly somewhere in the metro Detroit area, broadcast via Internet pay-per-view starting in April. The Insane Clown Posse's new album, The Mighty Death Pop, the second Joker Card of the second deck, comes out in 2012. Featuring Freshness, an album of ICP collaborations with other artists, will be out summer 2011. Psychopathic Rydas, a limited-edition album by Psychopathic Records' mysterious gangsta rappers, will be released at this year's Gathering. For more information, check out insaneclownposse.com.

LA Weekly