"The Wraith of ICP:
Shangri-Louisville"

By Jason Koerner

"Pretty professional for some Wicked Clowns," I thought to myself as I opened a package from Psychopathic Records, home to Insane Clown Posse. Its contents were the most impressive press pack I have ever seen. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have successfully proven to the industry, the media, and the world that they are experts at a lot more things than just rapping about "nutsacks and buttcracks." Take marketing, for instance. If there is one band on the face of the planet that has built their following completely on their own, and made it bigger than ever expected, it is ICP.

Their brilliant self-promotion and hard work have finally paid off, earning the extreme devotion of millions of Juggalos (fans) and the anticipation of the upcoming release of their sixth and final Joker's card (a series of concept albums that have spanned nearly 10 years) entitled "The Wraith: Shangri-La." Like this story, it will be released in two parts. The first album is set to hit the shelves November 5, but you can pick up your copy from Esham on November 4 (8 pm) at Expo Five. Esham will be hosting the Louisville version of the nation-wide, two-day long CD Release.

ICP Inside the Baxter Avenue Morgue

The CD Release Parties are preceded by a tour of Haunted Houses across the map. The Louisville landmark of this tour was the Baxter Avenue Morgue (10/21/02). The turnout was great, and fans got to meet their "insane" role models inside the attraction. Even the wait in line was... entertaining, to say the least. Lots of screaming by the Juggalos, Faygo being sprayed on you every five seconds, and chanting of lyrics were just a few of the unique activities found at the ICP bash. Nobody in music toady has such an extreme display of loyalty by fans.

I spoke with Violent J about the happenings of ICP, and here is what he had to say:

ICP Protestor

LMN - Out of all the press packs I have received, this one blows them away. It is the most professionally done I have ever seen...

ICP - Most of those other bands, they don't have to depend on s**t like that. They just have a radio single, and it blows the band up. Usually, the bands don't have anything to do with it. Usually the band just hands the album in and the record company does the rest. But with us at Psychopathic, we do everything. There's two ways you can make it: you can have a radio hit come and make it for you, and just blow you up, or you can walk up that m*f*n hill the whole way. We take that route.

LMN - What can you tell me about the making of the album?

ICP - Our whole thing is at its grand finale... the 6th Joker's Card. Now it's time for the big one: the thing the Juggalos have been waiting 10 years to hear. There's kids out there who grew up on our s**t... they're waiting... we can't just give them another record about nutsacks and buttcracks, because they've been waiting ten years for something to happen, and we're giving it to them. It's off the hook, and it's just such a good time right now. We recorded it all over the country. We went to Vegas to the finest studios there; we went to Nashville to these multi-billion dollar country music studios, we were up in there... smoking weed in the hallways! But we got this super-crystal bomb-ass sound.

LMN - You said at the Gathering, you saved all the really good ideas for the 6th...

ICP Pumpkins

ICP - This isn't even an album... I can't believe it's just going to sit on a shelf next to regular albums. It just kind of sucks that the reality of it is that it is just another CD from a rock group... but... it ain't. All you got to do is download it for free or steal the m*f*er if you don't want to buy it. It does not about the money...just hear it. Borrow your friend's or something. Sit down and hear it and soak it in. Everything we promised, it will be there. If you let it into your life, it will start raining diamonds. Everywhere you look it will be raining diamonds.

LMN - Is the simultaneous CD Release Party something you've done before, or did you do this for the 6th?

ICP - We did this for the 6th. (Violent J then went on a rant and rave too long to type about how Rolling Stone, MTV, VH1, and the rest do not cover them and fail to recognize the accomplishments of ICP. He brings it together by expressing regret for wasting his time complaining about it all and not simply appreciating it. Now he does. He talked about how this album is about celebration and how they are going to wrap it up with a bang... He said very specifically that track 17 clearly explains what they are all about in plain English, and what their agenda has been from day 1.)

LMN - Everything has been leading up to this point... now you can relax and enjoy what you have...

ICP - It means that after the 6th Joker's Card, we can do whatever we want. If I wanted to make a polka record, or a folk music record, I could do that, because I gave ten years of my life to the Wicked S**t. I never sold out... we never changed our style or went soft or anything. Even if things weren't going our way, we still f'n did it.

LMN - (This interview was before the Baxter Morgue appearance, but I thought the response was funny, so it I wanted to print it even though it is going to be after the fact...) What are you guys going to be doing in the Haunted Houses?

ICP - We're going to be running around in there looking for Juggalos that might be coming through, and when we find Juggalos we're going to be running around in the dark, snapping bras, tweaking nipples, and just having a good time, you know? When people come through that aren't Juggalos, we're probably just going to hit them with a boo and creep back into the darkness.

LMN - You guys take it to the streets better than anyone does...

ICP - Everybody is coming together for this record...

LMN - Last time you guys came to Kentucky, s**t hit the fan... What is your side of the Shepherdsville, KY incident?

ICP - We were there painted up at the hotel ready to go on, and we were on our way to the show, and they called us and told us to get out of there because there was a bomb threat and the show was cancelled. They said, "Don't go back to the bus, just get out of there." People knew where the bus was and we didn't want Juggalos to come there trippin' and we never saw what happened. I heard about what happened though... when you're on the road, you basically only know about what is happening on your bus. (He also commented that he had never seen the videotapes that were allegedly sent in to the label. Violent J went into the story of the Gathering in which a girl got arrested for flashing the crowd, in which the police intervention sparked a riot.) Those cops ain't nothing but f*n geeks and idiots with badges. They're just regular human beings. God didn't appoint them any kind of power, they're just f*n idiots with a license to be beatin' and macin' people and s**t.

ICP press conference table

LMN - Are you guys going to come back here for any kind of tour?

ICP - Hell yeah we are, even if we were banned by the governor, we'd still come back, and I am serious. We'd still find a way back, we'll definitely be back. The only reason we haven't been right back is because we haven't been touring. We've been doing our thing in the studio for eight months. We've already been talking about coming back...

TO BE CONTINUED...