Insane Clown Posse Axed By Label, Launching Tour

Clown-faced rappers also at work on new LP, uncensored radio show.

While the hatchet rises for the Insane Clown Posse, the axe has fallen on the rappers' major-label deal with Island Def Jam.

The face-painted fiends are set to launch their Hatchet Rising Tour September 28 in Seattle, according to a Psychopathic Records spokesperson. The seven-week outing will support Tales From the Lotus Pod by Dark Lotus, a multi-band collective featuring ICP, Twiztid and Blaze Ya Dead Homie. Each group will perform individually, then return to the stage for a fourth set by Dark Lotus.

ICP are also working on their eighth studio album, though they're looking to secure a new major-label deal before releasing it, which they hope to do concurrently with the third annual Gathering of the Juggalos convention in July. The horrific harlequins, whose contract Island Def Jam neglected to renew, have been in negotiations with a few major labels, their spokesperson said.

While Psychopathic Records, which the Clowns founded, could theoretically release their forthcoming effort, backing by a major label would offer much broader distribution. Island Def Jam will still distribute 1997's The Great Milenko, 1999's The Amazing Jeckel Brothers and the two albums ICP released on the same day in 2000, Bizzar and Bizaar.

The new album, whose title has been chosen but not yet announced, promises to be the long-awaited sixth joker's card, which ICP claim signals the beginning of the apocalyptical coming of the Dark Carnival. The cover art, introducing a new character to ICP folklore, will be unveiled on tour.

Joker's cards are, in ICP's world, prophetic albums containing an overriding moral. Joker's card number five, The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, for example, spun the tale of brothers who juggled sins; the more sins one had, the harder it was to keep the balls in the air. The band's sixth and seventh albums, Bizzar and Bizaar, were not considered part of that series.

Representatives for Island Def Jam didn't specify why it had dropped the group, only that the label was restructuring their relationship with the Insane Clown Posse, according to a label spokesperson. Currently all ties regarding future projects between the two parties have been severed.

ICP sold 1.3 million copies of The Great Milenko and nearly 800,000 copies of The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, both of which were released on Island Records, which was merged into Island Def Jam in 1999. Bizzar and Bizaar had combined sales of more than 400,000, according to SoundScan.

When Dark Lotus' debut LP first bloomed in July, it featured onetime ICP associate and opening act Marz, but because of a falling out with the clowns, all traces of the Chicago industrial rapper will be erased from future pressings. Marz's vocals and lyrics on nine of the album's 14 tracks were rewritten and rerecorded for the album's second pressing by rapper Anybody Killa.

ICP fans won't have to wait until next year for new material from Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. All attendees of the annual Hallowicked concert, slated for October 31 at Detroit's State Fair Coliseum, will receive a CD single of the new tune "Cartoon Nightmares," recorded earlier this month at Psychopathic's Lotus Pod studios. The disc also features contributions from Twiztid and Blaze. "Cartoon Nightmares" is not slated to appear on ICP's next album.

And that's not all that can be expected from the prolific pair. ICP are also working on "The Juggalo Show," a two-hour, uncensored free-form radio show to be broadcast on XM, one of the two satellite radio distributors. XM launches regionally, beginning with the Southwestern U.S., on October 5. (Visit www.xmradio.com for information on how to listen.)

ICP protégés Twiztid spent the last few weeks in the studio working on their third album, Black Majik, expected to surface early next year. Meanwhile, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, a horrorcore rapper whose myth maintains that he was killed during gangsta rap's heyday in 1989 and his style hasn't been updated since his recent resurrection, will drop his debut LP, 1 Less G in the Hood, October 16.

Hatchet Rising Tour dates, according to Psychopathic Records:

  • 9/28 - Seattle, WA @ Stadium Exhibition Center

  • 9/29 - Salem, OR @ Salem Armory

  • 10/2 - San Francisco, CA @ Maritime Music Hall

  • 10/4 - Anaheim, CA @ Sun Theatre

  • 10/5 - Las Vegas, NV @ Huntridge Theatre

  • 10/7 - Ventura, CA @ Ventura Theatre

  • 10/9 - Phoenix, AZ @ Web Theatre

  • 10/10 - Albuquerque, NM @ Albuquerque Convention Center

  • 10/12 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre

  • 10/13 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre

  • 10/15 - St. Louis, MO @ American Theatre

  • 10/17 - Nashville, TN @ 328 Performance Hall

  • 10/18 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade

  • 10/20 - Norfolk, VA @ The Boathouse

  • 10/21 - New York, NY @ Roseland

  • 10/23 - Washington, DC @ Nation

  • 10/24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory

  • 10/26 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

  • 10/28 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall

  • 10/30 - Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room

  • 10/31 - Detroit, MI @ State Fair Coliseum

  • 11/3 - Madison, WI @ Alliant Energy Center

  • 11/5 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's

  • 11/6 - Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre

  • 11/8 - Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre

  • 11/10 - Minneapolis, MN @ Quest Club

  • 11/11 - Kansas City, MO - Beaumont Club

  • 11/13 - Springfield, MO @ Juke Joint

  • 11/15 - San Antonio, TX @ Sunset Station

  • 11/17 - Corpus Christi, TX @ Concrete Street Amphitheatre

  • 11/18 - Dallas, TX @ Bronco Bowl