morrissey and juggalos and world peace, oh my!
November 10, 2010 by cash
You can learn a lot from a Juggalo. Stop laughing. I’m half serious here. You can learn even more from Juggalos AND Morrissey combined. Or at least Juggalos and Morrissey fans combined. They say the mark of a genius is being able to draw relations between things ordinary people cannot, and I’m about to prove myself worthy of the title yet again. What? No you shut up!
Last week, I had the opportunity to witness what I’ll affectionately call the “TWIZTID Pre-party, Faygo Fest and Tail Gaiting Extravaganza, 2010“. Working near the Summit Music Hall downtown where the band was playing, I noticed the minions lining up on my early smoke break, around 11:15 AM. They weren’t hard to spot. Most were wearing the signature black and white killer-meth-clowns-looking-for-blood face paint that’s come to define the Insane Clown Posse / TWIZTID fanbase. Aka; the “Juggalos” (a name ascribed to the devout followers of both groups).
What impressed me most wasn’t the scared, street crossing antics of the professional, business casual types walking by (none too keen on having a close encounter of the chaos clown variety, apparently) but the camaraderie and mad fun of the group itself. Early on it was crazy, with occasional chants and strange hollars punctuating almost incessant laughter and an energy that can only be described as “electrified joy”.
As the day wore on, and the Juggalos increased in numbers, it got even crazier. Until you’ve seen hundreds of face painted hoodlums dancing around a downtown parking lot, jumping on cars, high fiving and draining paper-bag-wrapped-40 after paper-bag-wrapped-40, well, you haven’t seen anything.
Their obvious shared passion for the show to come, and each other, was tangible. It turned what would have felt like a post zombie revolt riot on the edge of the apocalypse into a party so irresistible, I felt bad I’d left my fake corn rows and make up kit at home.
By the end of my shift around 7, it was pure pandemonium.
Cars were slamming to a halt in intersections as the jugg crew launched into deafening chants of
“FAM-I-LY!” “FAM-I-LY!” “FAM-I-LY!”
“JUGG-A-LO!” “JUGG-A-LO!” “JUGG-A-LO!”
inturrupted only my a near constant stream of
“WHOOP-UH-WHOOP!”; a crazed call and response shouted to new clowns joining the circus outside.
It was, in a word, heartwarming.
It reminded me of the only experience in my personal memory that even comes close. Morrissey concerts. Or to the point, the period several hours prior, and the brief moments just before Moz himself takes his throne onstage.
My near-homosexual devotion to Morrissey is no secret, and the reverence in which I hold the man has driven me to some show preparation extremes. I’ve seen him 8 times across 4 states. I’ve shaken his hand, on-stage mind you, 7 times. This feat is a wee bit more easily said than done. Morrissey concerts are almost always general admission affairs, and I learned after the first show getting there “early” to try and procure a spot up front isn’t good enough.
If you show up at 5 for an 8PM show? Forget it. 3? Not gonna happen. We usually stake out our spot in the queue around 11:30 or noon, and at that time? We’re typically behind 20 or 25 other fans.
The amazing thing? Getting there in this case, is almost more than half the fun. The fans in front of me tend to be a motley crew of world travelers who come from places like Japan, England, New Zealand and Israel to see Morrissey. To follow him. To be at as many shows as their soon-to-be-maxed-out credit cards can handle. Travelers who are sitting there on the pavement well before the sun comes up.
Talking to these people, hearing their stories of devotion for the man himself and sharing my own is like a religious rite consecrated with clove cigarettes. Food and drinks are shared. Joints are passed. Places in line watched with a snipers devotion as people run off for a break or to get more supplies. There’s a strange connection. Everyone feels it. We’re part of something bigger, brighter, more blessedly British than our individual lives could ever offer.
When the doors finally open and the violent, marathon sprint to the barricade in front of the stage begins, friendships have been forged. Email addresses exchanged. A community born.
The Morrissey chant (a sing-song repetition of his name to the tune of some soccer mantra I, as a non-sports fan yank couldn’t begin to identify) usually heralds the coming Moz, and is shouted with such intensity and fever it often overpowers the intro music blasting from the PA system.
Fans in both camps; Juggalos and Moz fiends alike, may find themselves loners, outcasts, or worse in their day to day existence. But for these strange, glorious 12 hours or so? They’re amongst friends. Family. Home.
Not a bad place to be. For any of us.
Since I’m woefully short on knowledge of TWIZTID’s song catalog, I’ll share the first cool thing that caught my ear.
A saweet cover of the Doors “People Are Strange“.
Stick that in your face paint and smoke it.