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ICP celebrates 20 years of Hallowicked

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Halloween in metro Detroit has many traditions -- jack-o-lanterns, candy, trick-or-treating, a Devil's Night that's been reinvented as a much more benign Angel's Night.

And ICP.

The Farmington Hills-based rap duo Insane Clown Posse began its annual Hallowicked shows during 1994 at the Majestic Theatre, when a local radio station was inexplicably and surprisingly blasting its song "Dead Body Man" over the airwaves. The even celebrates its 20th anniversary this year at the Fillmore Detroit, with a traditional new song, "Red Moon Howl," that will be given away to Juggalos attending the show (the video, featuring images submitted by fans, is available online) as well as a new "20th Anniversary Hallowicked" compilation of all ICP's holiday songs.

"Hallowicked in reality is like any other show, except we decorate the stage a little bit different and we do some of our Halloween songs through our set," notes the group's Violent J (real name Joe Bruce). "And we just, for some reason, work a little hard. We scream a little louder. We move a little faster.

"When we're performing on Halloween, we want to give it our all. We never want to have a bad show on Halloween."

And Bruce says he and partner Shaggy 2 Dope (Joe Utsler), even in their fledgling years, had no doubt the Hallowicked concept would connect with the burgeoning Juggalo community.

"It made perfect sense, ICP on Halloween," says Violent J, 42, who's the father of two young children. "That's the time of year we make the most sense, when we fit in the most, with the scariness and everything. I love Halloween; it's the most awkward, weird holiday there is. It celebrates fear. It almost celebrates the bad guys.

"And then, of course, when we started out, Halloween was accompanied by Devil's Night, which was also crazy. It was just the perfect time for us to do a concert."

Violent J adds that ICP also views Hallowicked as the end of its year, in a way, and the beginning of the duo's next cycle. That will include a new album whose title, cover and release ICP will reveal during the Hallowicked show and that Violent J says is nearly finished. "It's a really cool album, very emotional," he notes, influenced somewhat by the group's intense legal battle with the FBI over the Juggalos' designation as a criminal gang and also by the fact that its been 25 years since he and Shaggy 2 Dope began releasing music, first as the JJ Boys, and building their brand and Psychopathic Records empire.

Making music, Violent J says, remains "an escape" from the legal issues: the group, via the American Civil Liberties Union, is appealing July a dismissal of its suit by a U.S. District Court judge; and Psychopathic Records is also being sued by a former publicist for sexual harassment. . But turning 25, he acknowledges, has brought the occasional tear to the Clowns' eyes.

"Y'know, right now sometimes the crowds aren't what they sued to be, but that just creates a love for the Juggalos that are there, even more powerful than we've ever had," Violent J says. "For the Juggalos that are down with us now, today, our love for them is so big. To be a Juggalo today means you're really, truthfully down with the clown, and that touches our hearts.

"It's an intense time, but we're still here. We're still in business. We're still doing well for ourselves, and it's because of these people that follow no trends. They do exactly what they want to do, and they choose to support us so we're always gonna do our best for them."

Hallowicked, featuring Insane Clown Posse, Jellyroll, Mushroomhead and more.

Friday, Oct. 31. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets are $25-$45.

Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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