This years Gathering has garnered allot of media attention, and much of it has not been positive. I spoke with artist and writer Jeffrey A. Arce who attended the event to get an inside perspective.
Q: With all the negative publicity surrounding the recent Gathering fingers are being pointed not just at the artists but the fans themselves. Can you explain for someone who isn’t familiar with this subculture what initially drew you to this music, and the spirit of community that is shared by its listeners?
A: If anybody watched the documentary on The Gathering of The Juggalos, you’ll find the answer to that. The Juggalo community is like a huge family that looks out for one another no matter where they are. If you get hurt or fall down in the pit, there will be a Juggalo there somewhere to help you out. When you are surrounded by the fam, you are surrounded by people who love the music, and all of the people that are drawn to it; granted there are a lot of pranksters in this following, but its all in good ol’fashion fun. Sometimes people get a little out of hand, but that’s just what happens when the majority of your fan bases are juvenile. Some kids are just ignorant. But for the most part, Juggalos are people that can talk to you about anything because they know what it is like to be looked at as an outcast. We care about our fam, cause we understand that when we step back into the real world, we are all returning to a world that generally hates us.
I first got into ICP way back in middle school by influence of my friends. I am 25 now, and I have been down since 1998. ICP and the rest of the Psychopathic family have gotten me through more hard times than any family or friend could ever understand. The energy and violence in their music helped me to cope with things in my life without losing my mind. It was like instant relief to throw on a Twiztid track and mosh out in the privacy of my bedroom, rather than grabbing a bat and swinging it on the person that angered me; you know what I’m saying. That’s why I’m still down, because of everything they have gotten me through over the years, and because of their in-yo-face-honesty that they show when they address any issue.
Q: What was your take, overall, of this years Gathering?
A: It was the best time of my life. You know, everyone always wants to focus on the negativity when it comes to anything to do with ICP, but there is so much more than that. There is magic at a Juggalo event. For example, all of the performances were done under a beautiful starry night sky, an amazing meteorite shot over the sky during Tom Green’s performance, butterflies seemed to follow Violent J around everywhere he went, and the artists came out of their comfort zone to hang out and bullsh*t with their fans in hundred degree weather. How many artists do you know today, that would do all that they have done for their fans?
Q: Do you feel that the negative incidents that occurred, particularly the attack on Tila Tequila, have been portrayed accurately by the media?
A: She was attacked, she did get human excrement thrown at her, and every following has their bad apples. The media delivered the story accurately for all I know. I can’t really say, because I didn’t watch that show. All I know is that ICP had a seminar before any of the shows began, and they pleaded for the Juggalos to show some respect. They told them that they spent a lot of money getting these artists to perform at The Gathering after so many turned them down, and they asked us not to throw anything. But the thing is, Juggalos are the hardest people to please, and if you are not welcomed in their presence, they’ll let you know real quick. I believe that she just picked the wrong crowd to perform for. Plus, Juggalos have been pelting bad acts off stage for years. The only reason why this one was such a big deal is because of how popular she is. In comparison to some others in the past, she actually got out of there in pretty good shape.
Q: As a fan of many of the artists who were set to perform at The Gathering myself, I was a little surprised to see Tila on the bill. Hindsight is always 20/20, but do you feel it was a mistake to book Tequila in the first place?
A: Yes. First of all, I know a lot of people that absolutely despise her and none of them are even Juggalos. She didn’t deserve what had happened to her, but from what I heard from others, she panicked and said some things that she shouldn’t have, which made things worse. But once again, I wasn’t there to witness it; so I can’t really say. All I know is that when you’ve got a mob of angry people throwing sh*t at you, you are naturally going to get pissed and say some things in the heat of the moment that you don’t necessarily mean. It could happen to anyone.
What upsets me is that the very next day someone at the Blaze seminar had the gall to ask why everybody thinks we are a gang. When you try to lynch someone simply for being an outsider of the Psychopathic family, it kinda makes you look like a gang member; don’t you think?
Q: Tila Tequila has understandably begun lashing out since the incident. What would you say to her if given the chance?
A: Sorry, but sh*t happens… Get it?!
Q:Thanks for doing this man, I appreciate it! Anything else you want to add?
A: No problem! If anybody would like to check out some good stuff about The Gathering this year, check out my blog where I will be posting videos of my trip there. Check it out at http://jaaheavenhell.blogspot.com/