I do not know anything about the Juggalos, Insane Clown Posse (ICP) or the whole movement that brings them together, apart from the few VICE docus that I saw and the takeover of No Type that ICP released in early ‘ year. This unknown fascinates me and when I learned that there would be a Juggalo Weekend in Calgary, I volunteered to go there. Due to lack of time, I could not, but I sent someone in my place.
That’s when John Grizzly comes in. John is pretty much the reference in Quebec for everything related to Insane Clown Posse and Swollen Members. He is the leader of the Quebec division of the Battleaxe Warriors, the fan club of Swollen Members, and is well known on the forums of Juggalos. So I gave him my media accreditation for the event, where also happened Ice-T, Onyx and 2 Live Crew.
Here is his story.
My adventure began well before I left for Calgary. For the past five years, I have had a PKI budget of $ 60 per week, enough to ensure several trips per year. Essentially, I work to travel and I travel for music. It’s my way of forgetting my worries. So I decided to go to the first official Juggalo event in Canada.
When I arrived in Calgary, I had to meet friends and acquaintances I met at Juggalos events, as well as contacts I made through the Battleaxe Warriors. Among them is Carlyle, a native juggalo from Winnipeg whom I met while living in Quebec City. Me, Carlyle, her girlfriend and two of her friends we are splitting a hotel room in Calgary.
After drinking a bit at the hotel, we went out. A homeless guy advised us the bar Local 510. It was packed, for a show of the group of dream pop Ghostkeeper. It really was not our style, so, after having managed to make our way to the bar, I told my companions that I was paying a shooter tour and would change places later. When we were having a drink, one of us leaked a “whoop whoop! “, The rallying cry of the Juggalos. Then came a festival of “whoop whoop”, a question to shit the rest of the public.
We were gathered in a circle when a group of people passed through. It took us little time to recognize ICP’s Violent J and his entourage. It was to be believed that our “whoop whoop! Had attracted him. He seemed discontented, and I thought it safe not to disturb him.
Once the troupe had gathered, we changed the bar for a few drinks, before finally returning to the 510 to finish the evening. I closed the bar with a very salty bill, went to the unknown, lost my way back to the hotel, and homeless people tried to tax me. It was 4 o’clock in the morning when I finally got to bed.
The awakening was difficult the next morning and the Tylenol was my best friend. Before my four partners and I were ready to leave, we were already late. After recovering my media accreditations, I go to the queue to go back (even if as a media I could go straight). I like to talk to the Canadian Juggalos, because most of them never went to American gatherings. And since ICP has been denied entry into Canada for 20 years, it’s a bit like traveling back in time, for me.
When I got back into the concert hall, there was a girl on stage who was getting neon on the stomach by a guy. All along the walls of the hall there were stands selling all sorts of things, clothes, jewelry and even homemade popsicles (which were excellent). I went to see a bit of fight, but I’m not a big fan. I met the media relations guy, James, who asked me if I was interested in interviewing 2 Live Crew. I told him yes, because I had to send them a message, and he gave me an appointment at 5:15 pm on the side of the stage.
Lyte, the last recruit of Psychopathic Records, the ICP label, came on stage at 4 pm and dazzled me. His songs speak mostly of the Juggalos and the magic of our family. It was followed by Onyx, which really caught the attention of the crowd. 5:15 pm, and James came to get me. He led me through the back door, up to a bunker in the parking lot. Inside, there were a few girls in seductive outfits, big security guards and a few other reporters. When James said “Go! “, Nobody dared to speak, so I started.
“Hello everyone … My name is John. “
There was a little uncomfortable silence of a few seconds.
” Hm, okay. Who is 2 Live Crew? “
Everyone left to laugh. We probably had to hear each other in the theater. Yet, I was very serious, I really did not know to whom I had to speak.
A guy approached me and asked me ” Who are you ? And went away.
“JP … or John Grizzly. “
He approached. ” Where do you come from? “He asked me, before moving away once more.
“From Quebec City. I’m a French Canadian , maybe that’s why I speak like a mentally retarded. He approaches and comes to rest on me. “So it’s you, 2 Live Crew?” Everyone bursts out laughing once more.
I scan the room, and all the other media seem to be wondering what I’m doing there.
” Check, you see I have no idea what I’m doing here. In fact, I do not even have a question for you, I just have a message to convey to you, from a guy I know, I told him. It’s in French, so I will read it in French and then translate it. “
“OK, cool,” he replied.
I ask him if he allows me to record the message, and he answers no. I asked him why, and he said,
“Because I do not know what you’re going to say!” And the whole room began to laugh again. It was starting to get a bit heavy.
“OK, I do not need the audio, let’s go that way. My friend wanted me to tell you it was you who taught her to fuck: Face down, ass up, that’s the way I like to fuck!“
Burst of general laughter, once again. I gave him my hand and told him that I had nothing else for him and that I did not want him to waste his time. I left without a photo or audio.
I go into the room and head towards the main stage, in order to have a good place for the concert of Swollen Members. I met a lot of people from the BaxWar faction in Calgary and realized that our movement is truly global. The show begins and I am transported back in time. They play old albums Bad Dreams and Monster in the Closet ! I do not even remember the words, but Swollen Members tears the scene. Their performance was cut short, as the schedule was tight and they started later than expected.
It was the perfect time for a cigarette and a shooter tour with Mankini, a star in the world of Juggalos. Everyone respects him, and he is best known as the dude who walks in a bikini and tears everything in the mosh pit . My kind of dude , what.
I’m preparing for the last show of the evening: ICP which plays its album Riddlebox (my favorite album!) In full. They were supposed to have made the last representation in the US in 2016, but they made an exception for Canada.
It is very apparent that the show is well-run, but I manage to get on stage in time for the Faygo Armageddon . It’s incredible! I am soaked, I have lost all my bearings … No one is alike, but everyone is in heaven. I still have to pay my bill and get my hoodie, but the waitress disappeared with my credit card and my driver’s license. The security guards are trying to get everyone out, because the room was booked for an electro show that was scheduled to start 45 minutes later, and there’s a pail of Faygo to clean up. I find the owner of the bar, get my stuff and drive quickly to the hotel to change me before going to the after.
Changed and ready to party, I get there and it’s already sick. There are almost exclusively artists. The beer is flowing, and ICP is on stage, playing old classics. It’s a show-surprise, and the DJ swings old tunes whose guys do not remember the lyrics, so there are times when the crowd has to sing: a perfect moment. Meanwhile, outside, a cypher is organized . My roommate beatbox , while MCs like Big Hoodoo and Lyte spit bars.
After that, everything is blurry. I was drunk and tired, and my memories will come back to me mainly through videos found later on the internet.
Second day, I arrive early enough to catch a struggle. Once again, my late arrival made me miss the performance of Pyroness. I managed to book an interview with Kissing Candice. I never heard her albums, I just know it’s hard rock / metal fucked up with zombie costumes. The boys are really sweet , I met them the night before, at the after. They answered my questions. In general, it was like, “Who are you?” “, ” What are you doing? “What do you think of the Juggalos? Their answers were fairly flat …
Their show, on the other hand, was completely crazy. I can not even talk about it, because I’m still afraid. All I can tell you is that I was in the mosh pit , protected by wrestlers, Mankini and Juggalos hardcore.
After that, it was the show of Merkules, of the Stomp Down Killas stable (SDK, arival crew of the BaxWar). Merk really delivered the goods, it was sick. I had never seen him live and I did not know any of his songs. It was a choice I had made, in order to have the real Merkules experience, and I was very satisfied.
Later, I went to see Kung Fu Vampire, which I had already seen in concert a few times and which always gives a very good show. It was followed by Big Hoodoo, which gave a performance that left me a little puzzled, but very emotional. He talked a lot about how happy he was to be there, with the Juggalos family. I even think I shed a tear.
Rendered at this point, it was absolutely necessary that I rest my feet, I was too badly. I thought I would smoke a cigarette, take a shot, find my friends and ask me a little until the Ice-T show. Once seated, I hear the beginning of a Madchild instrument. I turn around, and boom! A solo show of Madchild. I went to the race to give him a hand during the show, as I used to do. Completely crazy as show-surprise.
After Madchild, I find my roommates. We take a beer and a shooter, and I tell them that I go back to sit, because my feet really do me too badly. I find sofas in the back of the room and head, and reboom! I meet Madchild who takes photos with fans. Naturally, I’ll talk to him, since the place is full of members of the SDK (who want Madchild because of his remarks about Snak the Ripper). Fuck the sofas, I chose to check -Ice-T with Madchild, Kung Fu Vampire and Kissing Candice. It was unreal. Another cork, and I’m preparing for a second ICP show in 24 hours.
Magic. Clowns, confetti, feathers and lots of Faygo.
Everything soaked once more, I take a taxi and go back to the hotel to massage my feet and take a shower before I redirect to the after with dry clothes, for my roommates who were already waiting for me .
I arrive there already exhausted and tired. ICP finished its set . I said goodbye to all the people I met on my trip and redirected myself to the hotel. At the end of the roll, penniless, still soaked with Faygo, I wanted nothing else but to lie down in a fetal position in my big chilly hotel bed, to fall asleep while massaging my feet.
The adventure ended and the next day, it was checkout at 11:30 am and return flight to Quebec City at 8:00 am the next morning. Fuck this shit, I’m out.