Music / Zug Izland

Zug Izland is a Detroit Alternative Rock band formed by Violent J from the rap duo Insane Clown Posse and producer Mike Puwal, basically for two reasons:
  • Violent J (okay, Joe Bruce) is a long-time rock fan in addition to his love of rap, and when not trying to insert guitar riffs and Metal Screams into ICP songs, he might be found listening to one of his favorite bands, which include Pearl Jam and Michael Jackson.
  • Joe wanted to know how a "Juggalo Rock" band would sound.

Bruce wrote some lyrics and Puwal located some talented local musicians who were willing to join a Juggalo rock band. After some recording had gone by, Joe and Mike basically realized that Joe should stick to rapping instead of singing. So, the band had to find a new singer: Syn.

Syn was perfect for the band, with a vocal style comparable to not only Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Axl Rose, but Violent J himself (except with a lot more range). With a full-time singer in tow, Zug Izland completed their Cracked Tiles album, with lyrics by Violent J. The title of the album, in fact, held personal significance to Joe Bruce — when he was a kid, girls would warn each other not to step on a crack, or they'd have to "kiss the Bruce brothers", essentially dissing Joe and his brother Rob (Jumpsteady).

The album was successful enough to warrant Psychopathic Records founding a rock subsidiary called Ax & Smash Records, intending to seek out other talented rock bands that would appeal to not only Juggalos but rock fans outside of ICP's fan culture. Zug Izland wrote their second album, 3:33 entirely on their own, and even had a reasonably budgeted music video for the album's single, "Saved". However, Zug Izland left Ax & Smash, and the sub-label was abandoned.

Now recording independently and without any involvement from ICP, Zug Izland intended to release a third album called The Promised Land on their own, or on another label, but kind of dropped out of view for a few years. Even underground rock fans and Juggalos didn't know what they were up to. Until 2012, when the band appeared at the Gathering of the Juggalos and announced that not only would Cracked Tiles be reissued, with bonus tracks, but that Zug Izland had resigned to Psychopathic, and ICP would be writing lyrics for a new Zug Izland album.

They're named after Zug Island, a heavily industrialised and badly polluted island in the suburb of River Rouge, which, interestingly, was the "hometown" Shaggy used in ICP's early wrestling days for his Sewer Dwella character.