Behind the Paint is a 2003 autobiographical book written by Violent J, better known as half of the Detroit, Michigan hip hop group Insane Clown Posse. Rather than focus solely on the evolution of Insane Clown Posse, this book cover's Bruce's entire life up until 2002. It also introduces the experiences of Bruce which lead to his philosophies on life, as well as explaining the reason why each Insane Clown Posse album and EP reads "Dedicated to the butterfly."
. When Joe was seven, while he was living in Berkley, Linda married fifty year old Lester Wool. Lester became abusive, and molested all three Bruce children. Joe recounts when he was nine, Lester's grandchildren once asked him to have anal sex with them, to which Rob kicked both the Wool brothers out of the house. Theresa got the worst of the molestation, and eventually ran away from home. She left a note for her mother which revealed all the molestation done by Lester. Linda and Lester divorced that day, but Theresa suffered from mental breakdowns for years to follow.
Being raised dirt poor, the Bruces received all their clothes from rummage sales, and their food from canned food drives. The Bruce brothers embraced their poverty, and called themselves "Floobs", a scrub who was proud of their scrubbiness. After moving to Oak Park, Joe got a job as a caddy, where he began to hate the rich for their selfish ways. Joe and Rob used to escape from reality and gather themselves in a forest called Picker Forest. Joe cites Picker Forest as the beginning of The Dark Carnival.
Joe met John Utsler, and his little brother Joey, in Oak Park. The three got involved in backyard wrestling, and created two backyard wrestling rings. Bruce also began his gang life by reluctantly getting involved in criminal activity in Royal Oak Township. Joe, John, and Joey all got heavily into rap music. The three recorded a song on a four-track tape recorder, under the group name of JJ Boys, called "Party at the Top of the Hill," but they did not pursue a serious career in music. Back in The Township, Bruce recalls walking through a vacant house with a school bully who, while holding a brick in his hand, demanded that Joe give him a blow job. Terrified, Joe got on his knees to pretend he was going to, but picked up a log and threw it before running home.
Joe dropped out of school in eighth grade, and moved in with his friend, Rudy, in River Rouge. Bruce formed his own gang called Inner City Posse, and they would drive to Birmingham and beat up rich kids on a daily basis. Rob joined the U.S. Army, which left Joe with no parental guidance. The gang soon began terrorizing people with Army-issued tear gas and stealing car radios for money. One night, Joe's mother, who had just moved to Ferndale, had her house attacked by rival gang Hazel Parks. Fearing for his mother's life, Joe fled to Bonnie Doone, North Carolina, a trailer park town just outside of Fort Bragg where his brother was staying. It was there that Bruce witnessed the open racism which would later emerge as the hate for bigots referenced in Insane Clown Posse's lyrics.
At seventeen, Joe returned to Ferndale. He was soon jailed, and the experience convinced him to get away from gang life and start a career in professional wrestling. At his first event, Joe met Rob Van Dam and Sabu, two other first-timers with whom he became very good friends. After multiple matches, Joe realized his dislike for the backstage politics of the wrestling business. Joe recorded Intelligence and Violence, which marked the debut of Bruce's stage name Violent J, with a boy named Dale who owned a karaoke machine. Joe bought his own karaoke machine and, along with Joey and John Utsler, formed the music group Inner City Posse, named after their gang. After the release of the album Bass-Ment Cuts, the group hired record store owner Alex Abbiss as their manager, and established the Psychopathic Records record label with the him in 1991.
Inner City Posse began work on their first album recorded in a professional studio, Dog Beats, with producer Chuck Miller. Miller charged US$45 an hour, produced tracks by a single beat at a time, which would end up taking three hours to produce one track. After the success of Dog Beats, Inner City Posse became Insane Clown Posse, and Joe had a dream in which spirits in a traveling carnival appeared to him—an image that would become the basis for the Dark Carnival mythology detailed in the group's Joker's Cards series. Carnival of Carnage was recorded with new producer Mike E. Clark, who continue to work with them throughout their career. The album featured appearances by Esham and Kid Rock, but just weeks prior to the release, John left the group.
During a live performance of the song "The Juggla", Bruce addressed the audience as Juggalos, and the positive response resulted in the group using the word thereafter. With the release of their next album Ringmaster, Insane Clown Posse's popularity enabled the group to sell out larger nightclubs across Detroit. After selling 65,000 copies of the album themselves, the duo signed a contract with Jive Records. Jive showed little interest in promoting their next album, Riddle Box, so Alex Abbiss negotiated a contract with the Walt Disney Company-owned label Hollywood Records. Hollywood Records recalled their next album, The Great Milenko, within hours of its release, causing nationwide publicity for the duo.
Insane Clown Posse signed a new contract with Island Records, who released the uncensored version of The Great Milenko, as well as an hour-long documentary entitled Shockumentary. In August, 1997, Joe received a telephone call from friends Rob Van Dam and Sabu. They asked if he and Utsler could appear on Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW)'s second pay-per-view (PPV) program, Hardcore Heaven, which the duo agreed to. Later that year, Insane Clown Posse released a DVD entitled ICP's Strangle-Mania, which featured a compilation of death matches from the Outrageously Violent Wrestling from Japan video collection, and followed the release by holding a wrestling event entitled "ICP's Strangle-Mania Live" at the sold out St. Andrew's Hall. Joe suffered a panic attack at a performance during the The Great Milenko tour, and in his panic state he cut off his dreadlocks. He later checked himself into a Michigan mental health program for three days.
In 1998, after returning home their first European tour, the duo began a three month stint in World Wrestling Federation (WWF). After they left, Insane Clown Posse began recording on their next studio album The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, which featured appearances by Snoop Dogg and Ol' Dirty Bastard. After the release in 1999, the duo began work on their own movie, Big Money Hustlas. Representatives of Woodstock 1999 offered the duo US$100,000 to perform at the event, and the group gladly accepted. That year, Insane Clown Posse created their own Professional wrestling promotion Juggalo Championshit Wrestling, later renamed Juggalo Championship Wrestling.
The duo staged the first annual Gathering of the Juggalos in July 2000, which was described by Bruce as a "Juggalo Woodstock". After the Gathering of the Juggalos, Insane Clown Posse released the double album Bizzar and Bizaar, which would be the last albums Mike E. Clark would produce with Insane Clown Posse until his return in 2007. A music video for the song "Let's Go All The Way" received MTV play. After departing from Island Records, Insane Clown Posse returned to their Psychopathic Records label which they had been running with signed artists Twiztid, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, and Anybody Killa, as well as Psychopathic Sports and Psychopathic Video Department.
With Insane Clown Posse's return, they signed a major influence on them, Esham, to Psychopathic Records. The duo then knew it was time to record the sixth Joker's Card. Joe began to get healthy as he started to lose the weight that he had gained on the medication for his panic attacks. Feeling enthusiastic, the group went around the country to record The Wraith: Shangri-La, stopping at Dallas, Las Vegas, Nashville, and back home in Detroit. The album was released on November 5, 2002.
- 2003, USA, Psychopathic Records ISBN 09741846083, Pub date July 2003, Hardback
- 2003, USA, Psychopathic Records ISBN 09741846083, Pub date August 2003, Hardback
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