Pin It
Favorite

A Family Affair 

With clown-painted faces, Juggalos are easy to write off. But maybe we should be paying a little closer attention to them.

click to enlarge Juggalos at the Knitting Factory on June 3, 2010 - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Juggalos at the Knitting Factory on June 3, 2010

He goes by Zilla here, but his name is really Gary. Before posing with a wrestling belt and hardening his clown-painted face for the camera, he hands off a half-eaten Popsicle to a woman standing nearby. She might be his mom, and as she struggles to balance an armful — a jacket, a bottle of soda, Gary’s Popsicle — she smiles at him and his friends as they pose. He tries to add his wrestling belt to her load, but she yells at him, “No! Finish it! Finish it!” — thrusting the dripping Popsicle back at him. He wraps the fat belt over his shoulders and eats the last of his frozen treat.

The line outside the Knitting Factory last Thursday — the one to get into the Insane Clown Posse show — wraps around the northwest corner of the building and heads down Monroe Street an hour and a half before the doors opened. It is an explosive scene: young clowns breaking into demanding chants of “Family! Family! Family!” One of the older clowns, the main rabble-rouser toward the front of the line, starts a call-and-response.

Slideshow loading: Please wait...
{embed_video}

“Who’s goin’ chicken huntin’?” he yells into the air. “We’s goin’ chicken huntin!’” the masses yell back. Streams of shaken-up soda — Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Faygo — rocket through the air above them, drenching everyone nearby. But no one balks or wipes it off. The soda dries in red and green splotches over their dutifully applied face paint.

They’re Juggalos: diehard fans of Detroit-based horror hip-hop group, Insane Clown Posse. They’re not new — the band or the fan base — but they’re certainly a noticeable group in Spokane: turning out en masse for any Psychopathic Records act (ICP’s label) and driving the local “horrorcore” record label, Chop Meat Records.

Where KISS inspired fans to wear face paint back in the 1970s, Insane Clown Posse — a duo known for rapping about eating dead bodies, hunting hillbillies and committing mass murder — has inspired their fans to take it to another level. Juggalos — sometimes more than 20,000 of them — from across the country descend on Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, each summer for the annual Gathering of Juggalos. It’s a concert, but it’s an event fans call a “family reunion.” And that’s how Spokane Juggalos described themselves last Thursday afternoon: a family. A family who backs up each and every one of its members. They speak of a constant need to defend each other, to have each other’s back — for what and against whom, they don’t say. It’s blind love — a lifestyle not to promote violence, they say, but to find friendship. But being a Juggalo isn’t casual either — this is a mark that’s branded on their hearts.

And that’s endearing, pitiful and, yet, incredibly terrifying.

  • Pin It

Latest in Music

  • Hairy Matters
  • Hairy Matters

    L.A. glam-metal pioneers Mötley Crüe are calling it quits, and that's not necessarily a good thing.
    • Nov 19, 2014
  • Celestial Sounds
  • Celestial Sounds

    Star Anna is here for Thanksgiving with songs from the gut
    • Nov 19, 2014
  • A Love Supreme
  • A Love Supreme

    Bob Curnow and his Big Band prove jazz isn't dead at their multigenerational shows
    • Nov 12, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
The Hoot Hoots album release party

The Hoot Hoots album release party @ The Bartlett

Sat., Nov. 22, 8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Leah Sottile

  • Imaginary Friends
  • Imaginary Friends

    The very real role that fantasy plays in our everyday lives
    • Aug 13, 2014
  • Expert Advice
  • Expert Advice

    Dab? Vape? Indica? Sativa? A few tips for beginners
    • Jul 9, 2014
  • In the Veginning
  • In the Veginning

    At the first Spokane VegFest, you'll get a bellyful, not an earful
    • Jun 18, 2014
  • More »

More by Young Kwak

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Music


Review


Cover Act


Jazz


© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation