After a 10 year absence from New York City things sure have been coming up Juggalo over the last 6 months. In April those Clown You Love to Hate aka the Insane Clown Posse made their first appearance in NYC since 2001 when they headlined the Hammerstein Ballroom. They were booked for the Bamboozle fest in Jersey and decided to add a headline show at the Gramercy Theater the night before. A week before that show we got a call from someone at Live Nation saying that the band wanted to have an after-party with their fans and were asking for ideas. Against my better judgement I offered to rent them one of our boats – the Jewel. On two conditions – that they overnight us a cashiers check for the rental fee and a sizeable security deposit. And that there be No Faygo. The next day we had the check, they announced the afterparty with one tweet and it sold out instantly. At that point I didn’t know much about ICP – I had bought the Great Milenko back in 1997 because it had an Alice Cooper cameo never gave it much play.
my trip to the gathering of the juggalos
As that week went on I was filled with a mixture of excitement and fear. ”What the fuck have I gotten myself into?” I thought. I had visions of Tila Tequila styled riots on our boat. My fears were raised after seeing the show at the Gramercy that night. I LOVED the show – the Faygo was flying everywhere along with the Juggalos freak flags. But on the walk to the boat after the show, among the packs of Juggalos stampeding down 23rd Street I was feeling like having my head examined for letting this vertiable army of Clowns onto the boat.
Funny then that this turned into one of the most well behaved crowds we’d ever hosted. We had set up a private area on the bow of the Jewel for ICP and their crew to use. But they didn’t spend more than 10 minutes up there and spent the rest of the cruise just mingling with their fans. And for a fan base so rabid, the Juggalos were giving Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope their space. Barely any of them asked for a photo or an autograph. They were just happy to be around and talk to their superhero idols. I was wearing a Rocks Off shirt and all night I got a steady stream of Juggalos coming up to me and thanking me for letting them come on the boat. Almost every one of them had the same thing to say. Basically: “Thank you SO MUCH for doing this. So many people don’t want Juggalos in their establishments. They think we are a bunch of troublemakers, but the truth is we’re a FAMILY. And we are starved for events like this where we can all gather and show people that we really aren’t trouble.” And they were right. The vibe on the boat was overwhelmingly positive. These people really do consider themselves FAMILY.
My friend Sean Dunne, a documentary filmmaker (who you might know form his Johnny Corndawg Film “Stary Dawg (http://vimeo.com/22875944) , was thinking of making a doc about juggalos and he came on the boat. He was converted as quickly as I was and just knew he had to go to the Gathering. I connect him with the ICP management and before you could sayNinja he was told he’s be hooked up press passes. His work resulted in American Juggalo – a film the band has yet to publicly acknowlege, yet within a week of it’s release, without any promo campaign, took off like wildfire and is closing in on one million views. Pretty spectacular consider the low % of Juggalos who fuck with the internet.
I woke up the next morning and said “If that’s what 300 of these people are like – I gotta get to the gathering of the Juggalos and see what 15,000 of them are like. So I did. But not before I went and got myself a Hatchetman Tattoo. Not only did we go – but team Rocks Off chartered a bus and christened it the Juggalo Express. That decision ranks up there as one of the best things I ever did. The Gathering is a completely surreal and lawless place; there couldn’t be, and probably shouldn’t be any other place like it on earth. I came home and described it to somebody as “Burning Man for people with no ambition.” It was Shangri La for people who just don’t give a FUCK. And it was so refreshing. There’s no social structure or heirarchy with Juggalos. Nobody gives a shit if you’re skinny for fat or rich or poor or smart or dumb. All that matters is that you’re “down with the clown. Then you’re family.
So of course I was looking forward to re-uniting with this crazy crew at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The American Psycho Tour rolled into the Hammerstein with more pomp than Barnum and Bailey. ICP brought along their Psychopathic Records brethren Blaze Ya Dead Homie and Twiztid. While they turned in decent sets, it was Insane Clown Posse who stole the show. From the minute the lights went down and we were treated to JFK quotes and Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope hit the stage on their pimped out low rider bicycles til the set closing Bang Pow Boom there was an, ahem, INSANE amount of energy in the crowd. Faygo was flying the entire time. Security guards were wearing ponchos. It didn’t matter – everyone was soaked. The night closed with “Faygo Armageddon.” During the finale “Bang Pow Boom” the stage was overrun with psycho clowns and a group of fans who were let loose on the giant racks of Soda and it was literally raining Faygo inside the Hammerstein Ballroom. I showered when I gopt home last night and showered again this AM. And I still smell like root beer. And I couldn’t be happier. Im a juggalo. And I don’t give a fuck who knows it.