Anyone who’s watched Netflix new show Tiger King knows that it’s full of several WTF moments, including the reveal of Joe Exotic’s eccentric music career. He’s got some great hits, including “Here Kitty Kitty” and “I Saw A Tiger.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t sing his own songs.
Per Vanity Fair, “After some light internet research, Vanity Fair concluded that the mystery musicians responsible for Joe’s tracks are Vince Johnson and vocalist Danny Clinton, both of whom are listed in Tiger King’s credits. But Joe guarded this ‘secret’ fiercely.”
Rick Kirkman, the reality show producer from the show, told the outlet, “It was absolutely ridiculous. One time, Joe got a little bit drunk and high, and we actually coaxed him into singing part of one of the songs. He couldn’t even hold a tune. It was just so ludicrous.” He also adds, “It was a big joke within the crew and staff that it wasn’t him [singing in the videos]—but he was damned insistent to anyone and everyone, including us and my studio crew, that that was him.”
Another fun fact: Joe Exotic managed to get the vocalists to do the songs for free. “Joe contacted Johnson, explained that he was a large-cat owner operating a private zoo in Oklahoma, and said he needed music for a reality show that was the subject of a bidding war between Animal Planet, Discovery, and National Geographic.” Johnson agreed to do the songs for free in exchange for the potential exposure.
Johnson explains to Vanity Fair that he found out how his music was being used after searching YouTube one night. He says, “I had no idea he was going to Milli Vanilli the songs.” Needless to say, they were not happy about getting swindled. But end the end, Johnson adds about Joe and the whole ordeal, “We all get what’s coming to us in the end, be it good or bad. Joe, all in all, was likable. Most people just bore the hell out of me. They have the personality of a lobster. He’s a seedy shyster, but he’s got personality.”