Mike Earl Clark is an American record producer and DJ from Detroit, Michigan. Clark is best known for his work with Insane Clown Posse, for which he has produced nine studio albums. Clark has produced solo material for members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, in addition to contributing production to artists signed to the Psychopathic Records label founded by Insane Clown Posse.
Clark was raised in Roseville, Michigan, and took an early interest in music. The first album Clark received, a greatest hits compilation by Sonny & Cher, was a Valentine's Day gift from his mother. Clark later discovered Warren Zevon, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols and The Stooges. After graduating from high school, Clark took classes on music production at the Recording Institute in Eastpointe, Michigan, and soon got a job at the The Disc Ltd. Clark worked as an assistant engineer on Patti Smith's "Wild Leaves," the B-side of the single "People Have the Power," which appeared on Smith's 1988 album Dream of Life. During this period, Clark met Kid Rock, and helped produce demos that led to Jive Records signing the aspiring rapper. Clark's talent for producing hip hop music earned him the nickname "The Funky Honky".
For Kid Rock's debut album, Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast, Clark produced the single "Yo-Da-Lin In The Valley." During the recording of Insane Clown Posse's Carnival of Carnage, the group's manager, Alex Abbiss, hired Clark to produce the album, which featured appearances from Esham and Kid Rock. Clark continued to work with the group and various associated acts on its label, Psychopathic Records. Clark has been involved with the production of albums by George Clinton, R. L. Burnside, and Primal Scream.
In 2000, Clark began working on Dark Lotus' debut album, Tales from the Lotus Pod, and Insane Clown Posse's sixth and seventh albums, Bizzar and Bizaar, but had a falling-out with members Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler. According to Clark, "It seemed like too much was going on, and I wasn't sure about the material. I needed a break. I was frazzled, we weren't getting along, so that was it." Clark produced four songs for Tales from the Lotus Pod; the album's production was completed by Twiztid producer Fritz the Cat.
Clark and rapper Prozak formed the group Project: Deadman, releasing its debut album, Self Inflicted, in 2004, and touring the United States for six months. That year, Clark became a full-time engineer for Kid Rock. Clark contracted pneumonia, but ignored the illness, and began coughing severely as he awoke, leading to a three month stay in Mount Clemens General Hospital, during which one of his lungs collapsed three times.
As the result of his near-death experience, Clark decided to reconcile with Bruce and Utsler. Phone conversations between Clark and Insane Clown Posse led to Clark producing Utsler's 2006 solo album F.T.F.O. In 2007, Clark produced the Kid Rock single "All Summer Long," which was musically based upon a mash-up of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama". The same year, Clark produced Insane Clown Posse's tenth album The Tempest, but did not work with the group directly.
In 2009, Clark produced the group's eleventh studio album, Bang! Pow! Boom!, the first album that Clark worked on directly with Bruce and Utsler since Bizzar and Bizaar. Three years later, Clark produced the group's twelfth studio album The Mighty Death Pop!, as well as the bonus albums Smothered, Covered & Chunked, Freaky Tales, & Mike E. Clark's Extra Pop Emporium.Graham, Adam (June 23, 2009). "Detroit producer Mike E. Clark turns it up with 'Murder Mix' series". The Detroit News. Retrieved June 29, 2009. Friedman, Dave. "Detroit's mad genius producer Mike E. Clark welcomes new talent to his Funhouse". Retrieved 2009-02-21. Bruce, Joseph; Hobey Echlin (August 2003). "The Broken Path of a Dream". In Nathan Fostey. ICP: Behind the Paint (2nd ed.). Royal Oak, Michigan: Psychopathic Records. pp. 198–208. ISBN 0-9741846-0-8. "Insane Clown Posse". All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip-hop. Backbeat Books. 2003. pp. 229–231. ISBN 0-87930-759-5. Bruce, Joseph; Hobey Echlin (August 2003). "Hatchet Rising". In Nathan Fostey. ICP: Behind the Paint (2nd ed.). Royal Oak, Michigan: Psychopathic Records. pp. 470–496. ISBN 0-9741846-0-8. McKinney, Devin (September 14, 2004). "Real Horror Show". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2009-02-21. Graham, Adam (2008-07-17). "Hot Rock: Album, talent put genre mixer into spotlight". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2008-07-20. Graham, Adam (May 11, 2009). "Insane Clown Posse takes on busiest year yet". The Detroit News. Retrieved May 16, 2009. Jeffries, David. "Review of The Tempest". Allrovi. Retrieved 2009-02-21. "Hatchet Herald, Issue 4". Psychopathic Records. December 29, 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
Music and production styleSee also: Mike E. Clark discography
Mike E. Clark is known for providing an eclectic musical approach in his hip hop production. In Barry Walters' Rolling Stone review of The Amazing Jeckel Brothers, Walters wrote that Clark's production incorporates elements of "carnival organ riffs, power chords and shotgun blasts...banjolike plucking and Van Halen-esque guitar squeals." Allrovi writer David Jeffries called Clark's production style a fusion of electro, funk and "Oingo Boingo-like mad-clown melodies", comparing Clark to George Clinton and Danny Elfman.
Clark has cited numerous influences on his music, including punk and heavy metal artists such as Rob Zombie, Black Sabbath, The Cramps, The Clash, Fugazi, and System of a Down, funk musicians Rick James, Prince, James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic, blues, jazz and R&B musicians like Serge Gainsbourg, Al Green, Billie Holiday, Curtis Mayfield, Buddy Miles, Bessie Smith and Howlin' Wolf, alternative musicians like Beck, Faith No More, Hüsker Dü, Pixies and Ween, progressive rock artists Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa, and hip hop artists such as Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Busta Rhymes, Geto Boys, Grandmaster Flash and N.W.A, as well as artists David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Bob Marley, Klaus Nomi, War, Yoko Ono and Warren Zevon, and producers Rick Rubin and Phil Spector.Walters, Barry (1999). "Insane Clown Posse: The Amazing Jeckel Brothers: Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-26. Jeffries, David. "Mike E. Clark Psychopathic Murder Mix by Various Artists review". Allrovi. Retrieved 28 December 2011. Clark, Mike E. "Influences". MySpace. Retrieved 28 December 2011.