Detroit Calling: Insane Clown Posse and Jack White
A few weeks ago, the Internet blew up when Third Man Records announced a Jack White collaboration with Insane Clown Posse (ICP) on a Mozart song. "We knew it was a pairing of one of the most respected, loved, you know, hippest artists in the world, [and] one of the most hated bands in the world," says ICP's Violent J. "And I think that's what he set out to do. He knew what he was going for."
We'll let him tell you the rest.
OC Weekly: How'd this come together? I'm going to assume he approached you guys.
Violent J.: [Jack White's people] called us and asked us if we were down with it. . . . I asked him before we went out there, "Why us?" He said, of course, he grew up [in] Detroit, and he's always been fascinated by us. . . . His exact words were that he "could do a song with anybody." But when he mentions to people that he's going to do a song with ICP, it has a reaction unlike [one for] anybody else. He said he could announce that he's going to do a song with Megadeth, and it wouldn't have the reaction that ICP has.
[The song "Lick My Ass" is a take on] a Mozart song.
At first—I'm not gonna lie—I was, like, a little bummed out. Okay, now it makes sense: The song's called "Lick My Ass," so of course they want ICP on it. But, of course, we like to think there's more of a method to our madness than just saying crude things, you know?
But once he explained to us that it was a Mozart song, and Mozart had a sense of humor—some would say a dark sense of humor—the way his face lit up when he was talking about it, it got us excited. . . . I know people think we're idiots. But we're proud of what we do—and who we are. And we went in there with that kind of feeling.
You're both from Detroit; you've stayed there all this time. He came up long after you. When other artists like the White Stripes rise from Detroit, do you find yourself more interested in them and inherently paying attention?
We found it more interesting with Kid Rock and Eminem. They do [something] more similar to what we do—and we knew Kid Rock. But Jack White is just something we don't know anything about. That whole music, I'm not a fan of [it], you know what I mean? . . . Even if we're from the same neighborhood, we're just not the same at all.
And now everybody on the Internet is freaking out.
Funny because some people are mad about it. It's not like it's on his new record. Or it's not like we're doing a new band together. It's on a rare 45.
Why people want us to die and go away—it doesn't make sense to me. I personally don't like spinach. But that doesn't mean I want to eliminate spinach from everybody's menu. You see what I'm saying?
But the reception you guys are getting has changed a lot in the past year. You're always gonna get people who hate you.
But has it? Is it changing? If it was really changing, what would be the big deal about this? What would be the exciting news? People are tripping out because the respected meets the non-respected in every way. That's what the whole news about this is. You know what I'm saying? Two respected artists working together—it wouldn't even be a big deal. But people are nuts because it's like, "WHUUUT?!?"
Even though things are going our way—and we're getting a lot of positive press, no doubt about it—I don't think it would be much of a story if we were honestly respected as good musicians. . . . But it was so cool, really; it was so cool. I'm gonna be bragging about this for the rest of my life."
This article appeared in print as "ICP's Posse Just Got Bigger: How Insane Clown Posse and Jack White licked ass and other Detroit stories."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.