Insane Clown Posse is back in the Dark Carnival


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The latest from Insane Clown Posse, "Bang! Pow! Boom!," sports a character of that same name who lures evildoers to the Dark Carnival -- and blows them apart.

The worst that a Juggalo should get Sunday at the Trib Amphitheatre is an earful of rap-metal, an occasional elbow to the face and a shower of Faygo. It's all part of the fun of supporting Insane Clown Posse, the dynamic duo who burst out of Detroit in 1992 with "Carnival of Carnage," an album that launched the Dark Carnival mythology and sparked a culture of clown-faced fanatics.

Almost two decades later, ICP is going strong with little or no love from critics or radio. Earlier this week, rapper/wrestler/hell-raiser Shaggy 2 Dope explained why -- then we cleaned it up quite a bit for print.

So, how is the tour going? I hear this production is a big one.


Insane Clown Posse
  • With: Happy Daze Tour with Kottonmouth Kings, Coolio, Kittie, Necro.
  • Where: Trib Amphitheatre, Station Square.
  • When: 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • Tickets: $30-$35. 1-800-745-3000.

Just rockin' these crowds, blowin' wigs back, doin' what we do the best. Every time we go out we do it up big. We got a nice little stage set going. We ain't doin' no rare songs, nuthin' like that. Well, we never had no hits. We're doing familiar songs all the Juggalos know, so they all can just come out and party with us, songs they can sing along and get loud to.

How did you assemble this lineup?

Kottonmouth Kings we've known since they started, always been down by law with them. They're kind of underdogs, too. Kittie, they freakin' as hard as Metallica does, and they're all chicks. Coolio, we had him with the Gathering of the Juggalos, everyone knows his hits. Then, Necro, he's a fresh face on the scene. He don't censor himself, he's got some pretty ruthless videos out. It's a really good mesh.

What made you return to the "Dark Carnival" theme, and how did you come up with the character of Bang Pow Boom?

Not even a brainstorm, it just kind of comes to us when we're in the studio, we just feel it. Bang! Pow! Boom! He just kills evildoers in mass proportions by tricking them. They'll think they're going to get paid, and he just gets them together and massacres them, blows them to bits. It's like our Joker's Cards back in the day, we don't just go out and preach to [people]. We're not preachers, but if you're looking for a positive message, there's definitely something in there. According to the masses we're just these foul-mouthed retards, but that's not the case. People just look at all the negativity, but bottom line, all of our records have a positive message.

Is that what you want fans to come away with?

If they come away with that, that's fine, but we're entertainers. We put on a full production show. We got immaculate lighting, stage extras, DJ, people coming out playing instruments. We figure if you're paying that much for a ticket, you don't want to see someone sit on a stool with a microphone. We exert every ounce of being. Kid's working at Taco Bell and pays that much for a ticket, we're not going to let him down. We give every penny's worth. We're lucky if we come home breaking even.

Are the Juggalos a growing cult?

Yeah, it's always growing, diversifying. Some people fall in, some people fall out. Juggalo is not one specific person, a Juggalo comes from all walks of life -- from poverty, from rich, from all religions, all colors. Anyone can be a Juggalo. It's just kind of like a frame of mind, because you can be rich and still be a hard dog. It doesn't matter if you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or a crack rock in your mouth.

What's the Faygo situation like in these corporate venues?

Outside venues, it's not hard to find a place. When we come to cities we only play particular places, 'cause of a lot of them won't allow that, because it tends to get messy. We used to play House of Blues, but I guess they switched management and now we can't play House of Blues 'cause it's too nice inside and we [mess] it up. If you got a nice theater in town, chances are we won't be there, we'll be in the dump.

You've been the subject of two "Saturday Night Live" skits. What did you think of those?

To me, it's flattering. How could it not be? It's "SNL," it's legendary. What they do is make fun of [stuff]. How can anyone have a skit done on them and be mad about it? What are they going to do, do a serious documentary parody of us? No. They do a funny skit. It's an honor to be big enough that "SNL" actually recognizes you.

What about being voted worst band of all time in Blender?

Oh, I didn't know that, but whatever, that's a critic's opinion. You know what a critic is? Usually a flop musician. You have these people coming out from papers, and they'll sit there at our show and there'll be like 3,500 Juggalos singing along and loving very second. Because this [jerk] watching doesn't particularly like us, he'll write in his little magazine that it [stunk]. It's his opinion. Ask the people that was there. Not his little opinion. It's like listening to Justin Bieber -- I don't like Justin Bieber, but I'm not going to say he [stinks]. Obviously he's good. I bought my daughter his record, so who am I to say that about Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift or any of these bands I don't like? Somebody likes them, so how they can [be bad]? Just not my cup of tea.

So you would prefer there were no critics reviewing anything?

No. I don't care. Hate on me. In order to be hated on like that, to that level, means you gotta be a player. If you said nothing, that probably hurt worse.

You're like one of those big summer movies where it doesn't matter what they say.

No, it don't matter at all, because we don't play to the masses anyway. For someone like Justin Bieber, that probably hurt his career. Us, it's like whatever. Nothing you could say could hurt us. Go on and hate. If anything it makes us stronger.

When you started this, did you envision it lasting this long?

Of course, man, you don't step into this game thinking you're going to make one record and that's it. No one thinks they're going to be one-hit wonders. When we started this we didn't finish high school, we had no college education. I wasn't like geared toward being a contractor, lawyer or doctor, nothing like that. This is what we set out to do as teenagers, and failure was not an option.


Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com ; 412-263-2676.


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