There are three types of people in this world: followers of Insane Clown Posse (known affectionately as Juggalos and Juggalettes), people who hate ICP, and people like my mother, who've never heard of them. I had the good fortune of covering the ICP show last Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Wilma. Here are some of the myths and legends surrounding the infamous band and their often-misunderstood fans—some true, some false.
ICP is a Christian band.
It didn't occur to me to ask any of the Juggalos if they believed in God, but they sure didn't sound like Christians. Lyrical refrains like, "Dead bodies dead bodies all over the street," "Fuck the world!" and "Suck my dick!" (To which the crowd, both men and women, enthusiastically yelled back,"Suck my dick!") seemed to conflict with the teachings of Christ. If Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J are Christians in their private life, they've kept it out of the act. Red, white and blue was the predominant color scheme, with demented clowns resembling Uncle Sam traipsing about onstage, but I don't know if the patriotism is supposed to be ironic.
Fashion among the Juggalos has remained largely unchanged since the mid 1990s.
So true. When kids from your high school got dreadlocked hatchet-men tattooed on themselves in 1994, I bet you never dreamed they'd still be relevant nearly 20 years later, but here we are.
Juggalettes will show their tits for a dollar.
I didn't see a single titty all night. However, I spent much of the first three acts wandering in and out of the building feeling lost, nauseated and questioning my life choices, and so there's a lot I missed. A polite ninja outside told me the pole dancers I walked out on during the first act got naked on stage, but these women had to have been paid more than a dollar. I observed most of the Juggalettes to be formidable, strong and tomboyish. I'd have to conclude that Montana Juggalettes are not exhibitionists. If they are, that's cool, too.
Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J don't know how magnets work and think rainbows are miracles.
Probably not, but I challenge most anyone to tell me exactly how magnets work without consulting Google first. Yeah, you know it has something to do with the poles and positive and negative forces, and rainbows represent UV rays reflected off the sun and the clouds or something, but come on. They were just trying a little tenderness. A group of street kids were gathered outside the building with a sign reading, "Donate $1 for Magnet Research." I gave them a dollar and asked them, "Are you Juggalos or just opportunists?""We're opportunists!" they gleefully told me, and offered me a handful of Skittles.
Juggalos love Faygo and drugs.
Oh my god, they love Faygo so much! For me, this was the big event. Faygo, if you're unaware, is a cheap, off-brand soda bottled in Michigan and relished by outcasts, because a two-liter still only costs something like 50 cents. (My favorite growing up in Detroit was Moon Mist and Rock n Rye, or lemon-lime and red.) Four bins stocked with hundreds of two-liters sat menacingly on stage. I had to conclude that either the band gets real thirsty performing, or they had in mind a darker purpose. The Juggalette to my right confirmed, "We're about to be drenched in the shit." The stuff came out of shaken up bottles, squirt guns, and big buckets. Days later, the money in my wallet is still sticky, and all of it the exact same flavor: Diet Root Beer.
As for the drugs, I can't speak for all of them, but if you were out on the streets at all on Saturday night and heard sirens, chances are they were sent to resuscitate a partied-out Juggalo—but, you know, I've seen worse.
Juggalos are prone to insane bouts of rage and violence at the slightest provocation.
This idea is born out of the infamous Tila Tequila incident at the Meeting of the Juggalos in 2010, when angry fans threw rocks and human feces at the TV harlot until she bled. Nothing like that happened at the Wilma on Saturday night. Their mosh pit was an expression of controlled love masked as violence, just like at any other rowdy show. The thought bubbles dancing above our heads seemed to say, "Can we love each other yet? Can we love each other yet? When do we get to knock each other down and then enthusiastically pick each other up and then cuddle again?" They're not a gang, and they're not racist. "We're all a family here," one Juggalo emphatically told me. "Write that down in your notebook."
ICP put on a great stage show
I love enthusiastic crowds and I love love and the event had both of those things in spades. Don't get me wrong; the music is beyond awful. Twenty years of rapping and they've yet to graduate from a seventh-grade rhyme scheme. I'd rather listen to a garbage disposal. But the music isn't really the point. It's about cheap soda and confetti and chicken feathers and clown makeup melting off of faces onto the faded black concert T-shirts they've been waiting their whole lives to wear out with the family.