Interview: Violent J of Insane Clown Posse
Violent J, one half of hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse, says his group's shows couldn't get any better--in fact, they rival an MC Hammer gig.
"It's a spectacular show," Violent J said of the tour which begins May 9 in Memphis, TN. "There's at least eight guys that make the show. They sort of serve as our band. They dress up as clowns, monsters, voodoo guys, whatever the song calls for. We're bringing showgirls again, ringmaster again, and an awesome, awesome show.
"The show's about 70 minutes long but it's spectacular. It's definitely an arena-sized production. It could be in an arena. It's that big a production. The lighting we're bringing is enormous. The show itself is enormous. It's like an MC Hammer show, you know what I'm saying? It's not just the rapper; it's the dancers and the show and the DJ and everything else that happens on stage. It's just a huge show. We believe in show business. Old-school style. I know a lot of rappers get up there and let the music talk. We like to put on a show--even if it keeps us broke."
The jaunt, dubbed the "Happy Daze Tour"--which supports ICP's latest album, "Bang Pow Boom (Nuclear Edition)"--will also feature performances by Kottonmouth Kings, Coolio, Kittie and Necro.
Violent J, who is joined in the group by Shaggy 2 Dope, spoke to SoundSpike about the tour, being banned from the Albuquerque, NM, area, and the return to the "Dark Carnival."
SoundSpike: You have a great lineup scheduled for your tour.
Violent J: We really worked hard to try and bring some different flavors. We've always been down with the Kottonmouth Kings. We wanted to go out with them again at some point [so] we just went after them. We also said, "How about Coolio? Let's try." We tried for a bunch of people. But we were able to land Coolio and Kittie, which was cool. Then that last spot, I think I wanted to put a band on there so it was bands and rap. But we ended up going with Necro because he's got a new one coming out and he's a friend of mine.
What can fans expect who haven't seen you before?
The best we've ever done. The best live show. I feel like our last tour, the "Bang Pow Boom Tour," was our best concert ever. I feel like that because we brought a ringmaster. We brought showgirls. We brought a bunch of clowns and monsters. It's just a really big show. This time, we're beating it out. We're going to make this the biggest tour ever. We don't make any money touring because we figure out exactly how much money we're going to bring in on the tour and we spend it on the show. So we end up not making anything. We bring just enough people that we can afford. Hopefully, when the whole tour's over, we will have just about broke even. But we'll have put on a killer show everywhere and that's what's important to us
Are you playing any new places you haven't performed in before?
We're playing new places as far as bigger venues. We're playing a lot of amphitheaters and cool stuff like that. We're bringing wrestling for the daytime--JCW wrestling during the day for people who line up early. So a lot of new venues. Usually, we play the same venues when we come to town. That's going to be real cool.
What is your biggest market?
I don't know. There's a couple equally as big. Like Boston--Worcester, MA--Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Milwaukee. We're also going back to Albuquerque, which is our first time in eight years. We've been banned from the city of Albuquerque. But now we're coming back and we're playing right downtown somewhere in Albuquerque.
Why were you banned?
The Juggalos [ICP fans] were tearing the building up or tearing it up outside, throwing [ICP-branded soda] Faygo all over cop cars and stuff. Finally, somebody had enough. It's only pop, man. It's not like it's chemical waste.
With "Bang Pow Boom," you returned to the "Dark Carnival" theme and hired Mike E. Clark as producer. Why was that?
It was inevitable. It had to be. That's what we are, that's who we are. We worked with Mike on our last album, but it was impersonal. We got the tracks from him and we worked at our studio and he worked at his. For this album, we worked together from scratch. That's the way we've done some of our best albums, like "Riddle Box," "The Great Milenko" and "The Amazing Jeckel Brothers." They were recorded together and that's how we did "Bang Pow Boom." We made the theme back to the "Dark Carnival." We felt like it was time. We did "The Tempest," which was a free-standing album and it felt like being naked. With the "Dark Carnival," once we got into that groove, everything felt good. But, at the time, "The Tempest" felt good too. "Bang Pow Boom" actually outsold our last album, which is really, really cool for us.
Tell me about the meaning of "Bang Pow Boom."
It's what the character is, that character of the "Dark Carnival." His name is "Bang Pow Boom." He's like a constant explosion. "Bang Pow Boom" is more or less when the "Dark Canival" grounds are overcrowded and the lines are too long. There are too many souls at the "Dark Carnival." Instead of waiting for them all to take their rides, "Bang Pow Boom" just wipes them all out at once. Then he starts from scratch again. The "Dark Carnival" is a carnival ground where evil souls go and they take these rides like the Murder-Go-Round, or the House of Mirrors. These rides inevitably send them to hell. When the lines are too long and the rides are too crowded, he comes in one fatal sweep and wipes everybody off to hell, instead of waiting for the ride to take them there."
I have to say I give you a lot of credit for your creativity and how well you treat your fans.
We want everybody to have a good time. We want it to be really, really fun. We want to give them something to watch, something to look at. It really, really blows their mind, gets them excited. This is a big show. So there are probably a lot of people coming that don't exactly listen to every single record we put out but are more like casual listeners or something. We're going to do all the most popular songs in our catalog.