Love ’em or (much more likely) loathe ’em, Insane Clown Posse are a global phenomenon. In a career that has spanned over two decades, the self-proclaimed “most hated band in the world” has sold over 11 million records worldwide – all without commercial support – successfully ran their own music festival for over a decade, and even sued the FBI. But perhaps the most intriguing notion of the ICP world is the devoted and almost cult-like subculture they’ve spawned – the face-painting, Faygo-swigging, ‘whoop whoop!’-hollering Juggalos.
“There has never been anything like it in the history of rock’n’roll. Period,” explains Violent J proudly. “They’re not like any other type of music culture. They’re not like hippies. They’re not like Justin Bieber’s fucking Beliebers, or whatever the fuck they’re called. Juggalos come from all walks of life. They’re scrubs, they’re poor people and they’re hillbillies. There’s also policemen and other hard-working good people. There are good apples and bad apples in the Juggalo world. Juggalo is a subculture that has no boundaries to who they let in because everyone is invited. Everybody is included, nobody is excluded. Juggalos will accept you if you’re fat, if you’re nerdy, if you’re ugly. It doesn’t matter. You can be a Juggalo and not be judged. Juggalos are clowns. Therefore, no clown is too clowny to be a Juggalo.
“When they’re together – whether it’s at one of our concerts with hundreds of Juggalos or our yearly gathering with thousands of Juggalos, there are never any fights between Juggalos,” says J of the kinship. “They come to the shows early so they can be in line together. So they can sing together and so they can chant together and share Faygo and share whatever they want. Nobody gets treated like a stranger or a newcomer. Everybody is accepted and they’re totally friendly. A lot of people have met their best friends at our events. They’ve met their wives at our events. Some of them had no friends in their life before they discovered the Juggalo world and now they have hundreds of friends. It’s something to belong to. It’s something to be proud of. It’s a family. Everybody else looks down upon us, but like I always say, the colder it is on the outside the warmer it is on the inside. To be a Juggalo? It feels damn good.”
Since forming ICP in 1989 both J and Shaggy 2 Dope have remained constantly active, with 2013 marking the release of their 12th studio album. “We had a good year. We promoted our The Mighty Death Pop! album and then went out on tour. On that tour we performed a lot of obscure and rare songs, we really dug into the crates to find some music that we had never performed live. A lot of really long-time diehard Juggalos were really happy with that tour because it wasn’t like anything that we had ever done before. We had a great Gathering. We also got a TV show over here in the States. We filmed the first season and have been picked up for a second. We’ve never had a TV show before, but we’ve got one now. That’s cool. It’s just another year down, y’know what I mean? Things are pretty damn good in the world of Insane Clown Posse.”
Returning to Australia next month for the first time in over a decade, J recounts his previous time here fondly. “The one time we came to Australia about ten years ago we had a great, fantastic time. It was bombastic! The Juggalos were at every show and they were chanting just like the American Juggalos. It was amazing – it was the least thing we expected. We thought we’d go over there and play to like 50 people a night, but it was nothing like that. It was just like touring the States. We had a great fucking time.”
Besides their performances, one of the highlights for J was, apparently, the confirmation of his belief that Australian women are the most promiscuous in the world. “I read that in Maxim magazine,” he laughs. “The last time I was in Australia I got with three chicks. We went out after the shows and we’d go to bars, and we’d meet hotties, and we’d bring ’em back to the hotels. It was great. But it was also devastating. In the morning I’d be like, ‘Come to the show tonight!’ and they’d be like, ‘I can’t, I’ve got work,’ and I’d be like, ‘Come on, take off work and come to the show, please hang with me!’ and they’d be like, ‘Look, we had a good time, it was fun, but I have to go.’ I felt really used!”
Directing his thoughts towards their upcoming visit, J explains it’s the passion and reciprocated respect of the Juggalos Down Under that is fuelling their return. “We can’t stand airplane flights. We hate ’em, we hate ’em,” he says. “It’s a 17-hour flight over there but we’re doing it because there are Juggalos that are dying to see us. And on top of that, when you tour Australia you have fly to every fucking night! There’s no tour bus – I’m so fucking big that I can barely fit in an airplane. But I’m doing it for the Australian Juggalos. A lot of Australian Juggalos come over here for the Gathering of the Juggalos and they’re always asking, ‘When are you coming back? When are you coming back?’ Well, you know what? We’re coming back next month. We’re doing it for the Juggalos.” Whoop whoop!
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