Q&A: Violent J Talks Jack White, "Lick Me in the Arse," And Why Doesn't Think Insane Clown Posse Is Really Getting a Better Public Reception These Days
"We went to [Jack White's] mansion--his fresh, huge, gated mansion--I'm talking for real, man, a real-deal mansion, you know? An old colonial huge house. The whole thing, all fresh, was white and red. White house with a big, red chimney!"
Going to find as many excuses to use this picture as possible.
Yesterday, the Internet blew up when Third Man Records announced a Jack White collaboration with Insane Clown Posse on a Mozart song. "We knew it was a pairing of one of the most respected, loved, you know, hippest artists in the world, meets one of the most hated bands in the world," says Violent J today, the first time we've talked since we ran into him in the airport. "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.
How'd this come together? I'm going to assume he approached you guys.
About six weeks before the Gathering, [Jack White's people] called us and asked us if we were down with it. And we were like, "Yeah." Then I talked to him on the phone. And I told him it wouldn't be a real collabo if we didn't bring our producer, Mike E. Clark, and our guitarist, Legs Diamond and he's like, "Bring them through!"
We went to his mansion--his fresh, huge, gated mansion--I'm talking for real, man, a real-deal mansion, you know? An old colonial huge house. The whole thing, all fresh, was white and red. White house with a big, red chimney! You know, White Stripes-style? It was awesome, man. A team working on the yard and stuff.
I asked him before we went out there, "Why us?" He said, of course, he grew up from Detroit and he's always been fascinated by us. He said he always finds himself looking at our Web site. And some of it he thinks is genius, and some of it he just doesn't understand at all. But he was always drawn back to our Web site and always ends up looking at us every couple of months or whatever. We sure as hell didn't expect a phonecall from him, I'll tell you that.
I'd imagine that growing up in Detroit, ICP was something he's always been aware of--and the fact that you've been still going on for so long is impressive.
When I asked him why, 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 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. He's like, "People can't believe it." He'll be naming all these people he wants to work with, and people are like, "Yeah, that would be cool, that would be awesome." But once he says ICP, they stop what they're doing and they're like, "Are you serious?" And he knew that! He knew that going into it that that would be the reaction of people.
This year-and-a-half has been unbelievable for you guys.
It was a crazy-fresh experience. One thing I'll tell you, though? Once we got cracking in the studio? It's not as different as you'd think. It wasn't like it was all alien to us, the way they were doing things. It was the same style.
When we went to the gate and he bussed us in, we went to the studio, right when we walked in. It wasn't like we had a big hour-long talk or anything, and he showed us the house, and introduced us to his kids, and everything--it didn't happen like that. Right when we got there, it was straight to work. He was like, "Let me show you what I'm fucking with here." And he queued up the track that he'd been working on. And it was that "Lick My Ass" one, you know.
The 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, as you know, we like to think there's more of a method to our madness than just saying crude things, you know?
But once he explained it to us that it was a Mozart song and Mozart had a sense of humor--some would say a dark sense of humor--and then he'd explain it to us, the way his face lit up when he was talking about it, it got us excited.
So when he called, he wasn't like, "Oh, it's a Mozart song called 'Lick My Ass.'"
No, not at all. Nothing about Mozart or anything like that. He was like, "We'll do something, we'll figure it out." We didn't know when we went there if he was gonna sing on it or what was gonna happen. We were like, "Man, whatever it is, we're there."
We were just gonna be ourselves and do this. 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. We're proud of who we are, we don't have nothing to be ashamed about.
He could work with anybody. The predictability probably starts to get boring.
He could've done something with so many super-cool stars and it probably wouldn't have even made a lot of noise. But it would've just been like what everybody expected.
The one thing that was really interesting? When it came time to film the pictures? We put our make-up on. He put his hat on. You know what I'm saying? He put on his black hat and his black coat and we put on our makeup. We both had our thing.
You both have costumes.
Absolutely. It was really shocking. We went back to the studio, and we put our normal clothes back on, and we took our make-up off. And it wasn't that different. He had our shtick and we had ours. He has to have his black hat everywhere.