[Jeff Fenster, of Jive Records:] “We just watched these kids at the merch table, buying multiple T-shirts for a band most of us had never heard of,” he recounts. “They were ponying up to buy into this culture.”
“ICP created this vibrant business outside the mainstream, and they’ve managed to keep it going,” says Fenster. “You look at the longevity of it, and it’s quite amazing, actually.”
Amid a crummy Michigan economy and a crumbling music industry, ICP‘s achievement stands out. Enjoying the top revenues of its career, the group now commands an entertainment empire that pulls in up to $10 million annually: Wrestling exhibitions. An annual 20,000-person festival called the Gathering. Comic books. DVDs. A second feature film, “Big Money Rustlas,” due in January. A twice-weekly Web radio show.
“The rest of the industry is dying,” says Violent J. “And we’re still here. We’re still putting in lots of hard work.”
“We’re not done. We’ve got a lot more to say,” he says. “We have a new goal in our career: We want to be an arena band. If we work hard enough, if we get the right breaks, I think this thing could become even more incredible.”