It was the biggest (and decidedly WTF-est) news to hit in the post-“Beyoncé is preggers!” era: Jack White, revered retroist, songwriter and producer, had teamed up with the Insane Clown Posse, best known for wearing face paint and spraying Faygo everywhere, to cover a lesser-known Mozart canon, the title of which, literally, translates to “Lick me in the arse.”
Yeah. In fact, the collaboration seemed so odd that most thought it was nothing more than an elaborate hoax. Only it wasn’t — and the proof exists on White’s Third Man Records’ website, where the full version of “Lech Mich Im Arsch” can be heard in all its, uh, glory. And if this whole thing leaves you feeling a bit puzzled, well, you can imagine how ICP must be feeling right about now.
“He called us out of the blue and asked if we’d be down to come down to Nashville, to his studio, to do some work. And I think he knew, you know, he’s one of the most respected musicians today, and we’re one of the most non-respected musicians today, and I think he knew it would drop a lot of jaws and shock people,” ICP’s Violent J told MTV News on Thursday (September 1). “I asked him: ’Why us?’ And he said he finds himself on the Internet, time and time again, looking at our stuff, and some of it he thinks is genius, other stuff he doesn’t understand, but it always draws him back.
“He was really cool and, of course, we were really geeked. We were like, ’Hell yeah, we’ll do a song with Jack White. That’s awesome.’ And we were hella thankful, but at the same time, we knew he was going to catch a lot of sh– for it,” J continued. “So we asked him why he’d be down, and he said that, out of everybody he’s doing these 45s with, nobody has had the reaction that ICP has. When he tells his friends he wants to work with us, they stop what they’re doing and say, ’What? Are you serious?’ ”
Indeed, White was serious. So in July, ICP headed down to Third Man Studios, still rather unsure of what exactly they’d be doing when they got there (“We talked on the phone a couple of times, but we didn’t have a clue,” J said). And even when White explained his plan, well, J and Shaggy were still sort of in the dark — mostly because neither are really down with Mozart’s compositions, bawdy or otherwise.
“Nah, man, I’m not into Mozart. We don’t know nothing about that sh–. And when we went into the studio, and he told us about the ’lick my ass’ thing, we were like, ’OK, we get it.’ A song called ’Lick My Ass,’ put ICP on it. We like to think there’s a little more method to our madness,” J said. “But once he told us that Mozart had a fun side to him, and liked to f— around with his friends and make funny songs and sh– like that, we all jelled. And we went back to our hotel room that night, wrote the vocals for the song.”
And, oh, those vocals. Most, of course, can’t be published here, but suffice to say, they fall in line with the general, uh, theme of the song. In fact, they’re definitely the raunchiest things to be associated with White and Third Man since, well, ever. That’s probably why the collaboration (they recorded both “Arsch” and the B-side, “Mountain Girl,” J’s favorite, since “It’s the more ICP of the two”) has been greeted with such fervent acrimony from the music community. Well, at least part of the reason. Though, to hear J tell it, neither him nor White were particularly concerned with the public’s opinion of the collaboration.
“People are so mad that we did this song with Jack White. They’re mad at Jack White about it. We were reading sh– in the studio yesterday. His whole fans are like, ’We lost respect [for him].’ Just a–holes talking, but man, he’s having fun,” J said. “It’s not like it’s on his new album or anything. Like he said to me, he probably wondered what it was like with us in the studio, where we were coming up with these crazy rhymes. And we wondered what it was like to work with a guitar god, genius, to work with a genius like that in the studio. And we both fulfilled all our questions out of it. That’s what we all got out of it.”
And to that end, J said that he’s pretty sure ICP’s team-up with fellow Detroit native White would be a one-time-only affair — “When it was over, he was cool, man, but, we could tell it was time to go,” he laughed — but it’s definitely one he’ll always remember. Of course, he’s always open to another go-round — perhaps at next year’s Gathering of the Juggalos?
“F— yeah. We actually asked him this year! When we went out [to the studio], it was like a month before the Gathering. We were like, ’Hey, man, if you want to come watch the Gathering, we’d love to have you,” J explained. “He laughed, said he makes sure to check out our infomercials every year, but he was just tied into the work. I don’t think he wants to start a side-project with us, you know?”
What did you think of White’s collabo with ICP? Share your thoughts in the comments!