The members of Insane Clown Posse were a bit disappointed — at first — when they found out what Jack White had in mind for “Leck Mich Im Arsch,” their new collaborative single on White’s Third Man Records label.
“He explained to us the song was basically called ‘Lick My Ass,’ and we went, ‘Ah, figures. ‘Lick My Ass’ featuring ICP,’ ” the Detroit rap duo’s Violent J tells Billboard.com. “We like to think there’s more of a method to our madness. We don’t just do songs with a dumb name. But once (White) explained to us how (Mozart) had a sense of humor and everything, and we saw how excited (White) was about it, that got us fired up, and we really got into it.”
Violent J says it was White who reached out to ICP earlier in the summer for the session, which took place in mid-July at the Third Man studios in Nashville. J had met fellow Detroit native White once before, when they crossed paths at an airport. “I felt a little stupid talking to him because he was in a hurry,” J recalls, “but I told him who I was and he stopped and gave me a warm acknowledgement, and we kind of chatted and then went our ways and that was it.” And J, of course, was curious as to why White wanted to collaborate with ICP at all — “The most respected musician in the world and one of the most hated musicians in the world. We didn’t expect that call, brother.”
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“I told him, ‘I gotta know — why us?’ ” J says. “He said, ‘I find myself going to your web site and looking at it. Some stuff I think is genius, some stuff I don’t understand at all, but I always find myself going back there and seeing what you’re up to.’ And he told us that nobody got the kind of reaction he got from his friends in the industry when he told them he was going to do a song with us. He said people were like, ‘What? You’re kidding me.’ That’s what got him excited. His exact quote was, ‘We could’ve done a song with Megadeth and it wouldn’t be as talked-about as us working with you guys.’ That’s crazy awesome.”
Violent J says he, Shaggy 2 Dope, ICP producer Mike E. Clark and guitarist Legs Diamond were pleased to be treated like equals during the “Leck Mich Im Arsch” session with White — who J says did not perform on the actual recording — and the rock duo JEFF the Brotherhood. “It was cool because it was definitely his deal, but he took our suggestions and used them to the fullest,” J recalls. “The hardest thing was rapping over that music, ’cause it didn’t sound like a typical rap beat at all, or a loop or anything we’re used to. Once we asked him to kind of bring the drums up and got the basic structure where the rap would go, then it was easy. So it was really a collaboration in the fullest sense.”
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The session also yielded a second, ICP-dominated song called “Mountain Girl,” but the duo passed on doing a video for “Leck Mich Im Arsch.” “We asked if Jack was gonna be in the video and they said no, so we turned it down,” J explains. “We don’t want to confuse people into thinking that’s ICP’s new single off our new album, ’cause we’d do things a little differently if it was just our song.” ICP has offered to perform the song with the Third Man crew at the MI Fest on Sept. 17 in Brooklyn, Mich., — where White is playing with the Raconteurs and also curating a Third Man stage — and is waiting to hear back.
Meanwhile, ICP — which is mixing “The Mighty Death Pop,” which is due in early 2012 — is also monitoring the reaction to the White collaboration, which has been polarized to say the least. “People seem to be up in arms,” Violent J says. “Some people are straight up mad about it — mad at him, mad at us. It’s not like it’s on his new album or we’re forming a new supergroup; this is a rare 45, a collectible, something different. You have to seek it out to find it. I don’t know why people would be upset at us or at him. It’s just a really cool collaboration.”