What up, ninjas?
As I sit here sipping on some Faygo Cotton Candy (aka liquid Neden)…I am thinking back on this year’s craziness so far. From “Abaddon,” to “The Garcia Brothers,” to “The Mud, Water, Air & Blood,” to “Reindeer Games,” to “ICP Theater” to the Gathering etc., we have been steadily bringing that fire that continues to make us one of the top underground labels on the planet. Each time a bomb is dropped and you begin to think it’s safe, we slap the shit out of your dome with some more flavor as we have been doing for over 20 years. Are we underdogs? Sure. Do people hate us? Yes, as it has been from the start. Is the FBI and the government trying to oppress us? Of course. But even through it all, we are still here and we are still hungry and we are backed by our huge Juggalo family so things couldn’t be better. The Hatchetman will continue to hold his weapon high as we move forward with monstrous momentum and continually chop down all opposition, so don’t extend your neck in an attempt to stop this or your head just might go bobbling, ya hear?
Since I haven’t had the opportunity yet to do so, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this past Gathering. Before I do however I wanted to first thank all the Juggalos who came out because not only was it a huge success on many different levels but mad respect was shown and given, as we had basically no graffiti or damage to the property. One love for that, to each motherfucker there for real. I have always said and will continue to uphold that Juggalos are the freshest people on the planet and I am proud to be one. I can’t believe how much power we have when we decide to make a change. If we can come together on this, it just makes me wonder at all the other possibilities we could achieve if we put our combined will towards it.
Whenever I think back on this Gathering I find myself with mixed emotions because, unfortunately, I sort of missed it. During the entire time of the festival I was stuck in the backstage area for the most part handling my responsibilities as the main event coordinator. I kept hearing stories from my co-workers as they filtered backstage and it seemed that everyone was having a great time and everything was going smoothly (with the exception of the Big Balla situation that we tried to make right). I found myself with a growing need to go out and hang with the Family and experience what I worked so hard to help put together, but the sad irony was that I couldn’t. I was working so hard to keep it all going that my homie Dean told me that I even fell asleep during a conversation with him mid-sentence.
All was not lost, however, as I was able to obtain some memories that will no doubt stay with me forever.
I remember standing in the darkness upon that high hilltop ridge that looks down upon the Big Top Stage as ICP was performing and was completely schooled at how surreal it was as giant hoses swept the huge crowd swaying to the beat with high pressure liquid arching into the night sky. I stood transfixed as colorful lights triggered from the stage like lightning flashes that captured the expanding, exploding Faygo seemingly in slow motion. I took in everything including the towering carnival rides looming above the crowd as they spun in an array of electronic lights to the light rain that fell upon a crowd that was oblivious to its presence. The whole thing was simply amazing to me, especially since that was the first time I really got to see the Big Top Stage from that vantage point.
I also got a chance on the night before to take about 15 minutes to check out Bizarro World. It was better than I could have imagined it to be. There were some super talented ninjas playing in a drum circle, as Juggalos were dancing and fire performers were spinning fire at amazing speeds. Shadowy figures sat on hay bales that encircled the entertainers while others approached me to talk. All throughout there was a powerful, spiritual vibe that captured my imagination and left me with a desire to remain there. It was such a cool spot to relax amidst the chaos of the Gathering, with everyone there being some of the coolest ninjas one could ever meet.
Another highlight for me was when I got a phone call from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms wanting to know where they could set up their command post at Legend Valley during the Gathering. I was stunned and told them to hold on a minute and I would be right there to talk to them. I then quickly got Steve (the owner of Legend Valley) on the phone and asked him if he knew why these fuckin’ guys were trying to set up a command post! I then called Farris, our very own Juggalo Lawyer, and he told me he would be right there and then I got Brenna and Tom on the phone who were –and are -- currently filming a documentary about ICP, the FBI lawsuits and our Juggalo family and they showed up with a camera crew of about 10 ninjas. We all gathered in the backstage area without the AFT’s knowledge and discussed what we could do. We surmised that since they are a federal law enforcement organization that they were there simply to give Juggalos the bone and probably came out because of all the press the Gathering had been getting. Farris let us know that the ATF was not allowed on the property without Steve’s permission and since they showed up in force and were already on the property were basically in the wrong. I guess they figured they would just flash some badges, punk some people out and basically strong arm their way onto the property.
When we came around the corner I was mad heated to see a small contingent of AFT officers, including around 8 ATF officers each sitting in a running Razor four-wheeler vehicle ready to swoop into the Gathering grounds to start handing out tickets for possible underage drinking, open containers at campsites or any other charges they could drum up. They all had on mirrored sunglasses and seemed to possess evil dispositions. They looked up in shock at us as we came marching around the corner with our own squad of about 20 deep with cameras rolling, boom sticks waving and spot lights being targeted on them. I quickly pointed to a group of older guys sitting at a picnic table looking up at us with dumbfounded expression who obviously were the head guys of the ATF.
As we started closing in on the main ATF officers, Farris started to talk to them when suddenly the realization of what was happening finally registered to their brains as their slack jawed expressions slowly transformed to those of fear, when suddenly ….they ran! I was shocked and so fuckin’ amused to see these high ranking federal law enforcement agents running and ducking from the cameras as they scurried between parked cars like rats to avoid being filmed in an attempt to get away as quickly as they possibly could. All the while the camera crew was chasing after them. As this comical scene unfolded all the officers still sitting in there running Razor’s didn’t seem to know what to do so they just sat looking around in confusion. Just as we turned our attention toward them and was about to ask them questions they got the order over their radios from their out of breath superiors to “Pull Out”!
They then all started peeling out down the dirt road leading to the back entrance of Legend Valley as they made their escape, kicking up clouds of dust from there spinning wheels as they went. As if things couldn’t get any better, the last officer to head out flipped us off as he went and we were able to capture the whole thing on film! The whole incident had me experience the extreme ranges of emotion in the matter of minutes. At first I was enraged that these guys were trying to bum rush the Gathering but with some quick thinking we were able to turn the tables on them into an unforgettable and hilarious outcome.
After all this, the main guy of the ATF had the nerve to call me again saying he wanted to talk to me alone. I was like helllllls no! I told him that if he comes back, that he will have to not only talk to me but also Farris, the camera crew with cameras rolling and our entire squad. Needless to say they never came back. It was an unsung victory that weekend and one of my best moments at the Gathering for sure. It simply amazes me how bastards will try to come out of the woodworks to try to oppress our family for no reason at all, but it has also occurred to me a long time ago, that if you remain unified with your homies, you can take a stand against anyone who would try to oppress you as we had done on that day. It was just another small battle we were able to win in our ongoing war against the FBI and federal agents everywhere.
Mad respect for Brenna, Tom, Farris, Steve and everyone else who took a stand on that day and Juggalos everywhere who continue to do their part to help our family in our fight by sharing their stories and not being afraid to raise their voices and be seen! We as a family will never bow down … best believe that.
I have other memories as well but not enough room to share them in this posting. Next year my plan is to delegate my work load to others so I can actually oversee all the Gathering events and employees first hand to make sure everything is going smoothly and so I have a lot more time to chill with the family.
Peace and respect always,
PS: Next year the Big Balla sites will be let in a day early and every site will be staked out so they will have time to get situated and have no chance to get the bone. Also, Psychopathic Radio is in full swing and should be up and running soon, so stay posted, homies!