Music News

Insane Clown Posse stabbings: Are some fans too stupid to understand irony?

Most attempts by the media and authorities to blame music for violence are patently ridiculous.

Take those early attempts to pin the Columbine massacre on Marilyn Manson, a performer the shooters didn't even like.

But the mayhem-happy subculture that's developed around the Insane Clown Posse can't be so easily dismissed -- and neither can the stabbing of two people near an ICP concert at the Fillmore Auditorium last night.

In early May, we told you about another ICP fanatic in the news: Self-described juggalette Tess Damm, who was convicted of helping boyfriend Bryan Groves murder her mom, Linda, in 2007. Damm reportedly conceived an escape plan late last year involving strangling a guard with a shoelace.

After Linda Damm was killed, ICP got nearly as much ink as did Damm and Groves. The Rocky Mountain News article "Music May Ignite Mayhem" quoted ICP lines such as "Me and my axe will leave your head outlined in chalk," from "My Axe" -- a selection chosen, in all likelihood, because Linda had been stabbed eighteen times.

Damm's MySpace page remains online. It's a virtual ICP tribute, introduced by her declaration that "A fucking bitch is what I am."

It's far too easy to blame ICP for producing murderous impulses in its followers -- and indeed, band member Violent J has always tried to distance himself from such acts. In a 1997 Westword interview entitled "The Jeers of a Clown," he put it this way while describing record-label objections to the song "Boogie Woogie Wu," which veers from goofy humor ("Ouch! Fuck! I stubbed my toe!/If you'd stop leavin' your shit all over the fuckin' floor") to overt lethality ("Fuck it -- you're dead anyway/And I'll leave your head smack dead in the hallway").

"They said the song was about killin' kids. Now, I have to admit, it may sound like that. But as God is my witness, that is not how I intended it, not how I see it, not how I feel it. To me, it's just like a horror movie -- a scary movie, you know what I mean? And I don't know why the fuck it is that there's a problem when something like that's on a disc instead of a movie. I mean, in a fuckin' movie, you can fuckin' see guys gettin' their heads blown off, but in music, you just hear about it. So you'd think people should be protestin' movies way more than they do music, you know what I mean? But instead, they're protestin' me, even though most of what we do is just entertainment. I don't want people to work all week and then come to a show to get preached at, like fuckin' Rage Against the Machine. I want them to have fun. So when I say, 'Yo, I fucked that bitch and blah, blah, blah,' I'm not doin' it to piss somebody off. I'm doin' it because it's funny. We make funny songs, you know what I mean? A lot of it's tongue-in-cheek, but these dumb motherfuckers can't figure that out.

"That ain't stoppin' me, though. There could be fifty million protesters outside my concert, but I don't give a fuck, you know what I mean? Nobody is ever gonna stop me from doin' what I'm doin'. I don't care if I have to drive around with a bullhorn and yell it from the top of my car. I'm always gonna say what I say, and I don't give a fuck who I offend. Besides, all the times where we talk about killin' somebody, it's always a bigot or a greedy rich guy or a racist drunk or somethin'. So for you to be bothered by that, you got to be a bigot or a racist. I don't know why people don't understand that."

At this point, little is known about the two people stabbed last night, other than that they were transported to Denver Health Medical Center in critical condition. In addition, the Denver Police Department has announced an arrest. A Denver Health spokesperson says no information about the victims can be given sans names, which the DPD hasn't released to date. Multiple interview requests have been sent to police department representatives; when and if they respond, this post will be updated.

In the meantime, we're left to wonder whether the suspected stabber, who was originally described as wearing face paint, has a problem differentiating between fantasy and reality.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts