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Armed with bottles of Faygo soda, the Insane Clown Posse comes to the Theater nightclub (3339 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, 954-565-5522) on Tuesday. The band hails from Detroit, but has local ties that will sadly go unacknowledged.
The Insane Clown Posse is Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J, white rappers who wear clown outfits and face paint. Their album The Great Milenko caused quite a stir when Hollywood Records released it last year. The CD sat on store shelves for mere hours before Hollywood's parent company -- Walt Disney -- recalled all 100,000 copies. The reason: "inappropriate" lyrics.
Certainly it's appropriate for clowns to spray audiences with various flavors of Faygo. But not while singing about genitalia and violence.
The drastic recall action was the best thing that ever happened to the Clowns. Aside from national media attention, it landed them a contract with Island Records. Virtually overnight the Clowns became sought-after celebrities. In fact, according to their publicity firm, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J aren't speaking to the press. They're reportedly tired of discussing the recall and frustrated that no one seems to be asking about their music.
Despite their new place in the public spotlight, the Clowns have been ignored by the Detroit-based company that ought to be thanking them: Faygo.
One publicist for the Clowns says they expend approximately 100 bottles of Faygo per concert and receive truckloads of the stuff for free from the manufacturer. Yet the Faygo company has refused to publicly align itself with the band. The best quote Spin magazine could squeeze from the soda makers was, "Clearly we don't produce the product to spray on people. We normally produce beverages for consumption."
The Clowns' foul language and scatalogical humor make them less than ideal personalities for product endorsement. Even less savory are their fans, known as Juggalos, who cultivate a reputation for puerile, destructive behavior. On The Great Milenko, the Clowns explain that a Juggalo is the type of person who "walks through the street winking at freaks/With a two-liter stuck in his butt cheeks." It's no surprise that Faygo has maintained a polite distance from the band.
As it turns out, Faygo's parent company, the National Beverage Corp., has its headquarters on University Drive in Fort Lauderdale. In a way the Clowns' local appearance could be seen as a homecoming, a sort of pilgrimage to the cradle of Faygo. Yet the Clowns should expect no nod of approval from the National Beverage Corp.
When contacted, a representative in the National Beverage Corp.'s marketing department at first claimed to be unfamiliar with the band. After the Clowns were described to him, he replied simply, "We don't really follow their schedule. We've heard of what they do, and we're aware of them." He added that he would see about getting a publicist to speak about the Clowns. "I doubt it, but you never know."
Not everyone, it seems, loves the Clowns. As the band proclaims in its press kit: "They look upon us as freaks, so we just want to symbolize what they view us as -- clowns.