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Rock & (Mike) Shock

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Nursing my injuries from my Segway fall, Kane and I headed down to where I live, Springfield, MA. We had an appearance at the Basketball Hall of Fame scheduled for the next day. What the correlation with basketball and horror was, I have no clue, but they do have an amazing place for events… and made it a pretty classy evening. They had a full bar with a bartender set up in the lobby, and the event was held in their state of the art movie theater. Being my home town, pretty much everyone I knew was there, meaning Kane was getting to meet my friends and family… I was especially excited for Kane to meet my brother, Jason.

The event went well. We played a trailer of all of Kane’s work, then came in and did a very fun Q&A session before signing autographs. As the line progressed, the part I was looking forward to since the day I met Kane was about to happen… Kane was going to meet my brother. I had told Kane beforehand to, really, really choke him. Now, Kane’s choke is hard as it is, but when he does it a bit more than normal… it’s a terrifying and painful experience. Jason heard of the legendary choke, but wasn’t aware of the actual pain that would follow it. Introducing the two, I could tell my brother was a bit nervous as he knew this was a set up. Reluctantly, he posed for a picture, knowing he was going to get choked. As Kane grabbed his neck, all the years of torture my brother put me through flashed before my eyes, finally I was getting my revenge.

Like most men, Jason tried to keep a straight face, acting like it didn’t hurt at all. With glee I watched Kane’s fingers as they got tighter and tighter. His girlfriend was taking a picture, so I made excuses to keep the choke going by saying “Take another picture, wait, I blinked”. Finally, as Jason’s eyes started to flutter, Kane let him go, pushing him away at the same time. He rubbed his neck and walked away. Ten minutes later, I looked up to see he was still rubbing his neck. Afterwards, Jason admitted to me, “it hurt like hell” and that it was “still hurting”. I couldn’t have been happier to finally get my brother after all the years of teasing he put me through growing up.

The next morning we headed out to Worcester, MA, to go to one of the best horror conventions, Rock & Shock. This convention is different than all the others for one major reason: it has major concerts all weekend. And I’m not about talking some local bands, a few years ago they had Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. This year, the headline band, to my great dismay, was Insane Clown Posse. I had never heard any of their songs in my life, but I was more than aware of them as Kane is a huge fan, or what the diehard fans call a Juggalo. Why they were called that, I had no clue. All I know is that countless “Juggalos” would stop by at signings and make hooting sounds (that sounded like a train whistle) to which Kane would respond with the same noise and then show them his ICP (the shortened version of their name) necklace or wrist band.

During Friday and Saturday at the convention, Kane’s line was ridiculously long, almost fifty people in line, non-stop from ten in the morning until the doors shut at six. Half of them asked Kane if he was going to the ICP concert. Kane went on about how he wouldn’t miss it and that “Mike was going to paint up.” I laughed at this as I did NOT want to go to the concert, let alone put on silly make-up. Hell, I get annoyed if I have a spot of pen ink in my hand, a face full of make-up, the thought makes me cringe. There was no way I was going to do that.

Being close to home, my wife came out to spend some time with me. I tried desperately to use her as an excuse to not go to the concert that night, but Kane was having none of that. I was going, she was coming, and that was that. I hoped that at most, I’d go in, watch five minutes and then leave without anyone noticing. I was not that lucky, not at all. Without my knowledge, Kane enlisted a fan and friend of ours, Elvis, to grab me in the hotel lobby and paint my face. I tried my best to refuse, but again, the power and fear of Kane overwhelmed me… I sat down and let Elvis apply makeup to my face like I was a five year old getting face paint at a fair. While I hoped for a kitty face and a rainbow, I knew I would not get that.

When I saw the finished product, I felt like an idiot. I wanted to run to the bathroom and wash my face instantly. I was just starting off in this industry and here I was, going to see tons of fans and other celebrities with my face painted like a sad clown. Not only was that part embarrassing, I didn’t want people to think I was a fan of ICP. Not that there is anything wrong with that…. Regardless, I felt like a moron. The best I could hope for was to sneak out of the lobby without getting seen… just as that thought went through my head I bumped into Bill Moseley (who thankfully didn’t know me at the time). As I got a look of disgust from him, I tried to smile and ran out the door. What the hell was I doing?

When Kane came down to meet us, he cracked up at my face. Why, I do not know, because he himself has “painted up” for ICP concerts before as well (in fact its documented in Unmasked). He was probably laughing because he knew how much it pained me to do this. The venue was down the street, so our little group set out on our way. Thankfully, I saw many other people wearing face makeup and other… interesting, costumes. At least I fit in, though the fact that I was wearing a polo shirt and dress shoes did come off as a bit odd.

Inside the venue we were ushered to a private balcony, which I was very, very happy for as I did not, for the life of me, want to be down in the mosh pit. The thought of slamming up against sweaty, hairy, other men who were painted as well terrified me. We arrived a bit late, the opening band, some other guys dressed as clowns called Twisted or something, were just finishing up. Elvis, being our fearless friend, ran down through the crowd, getting bumped and shoved a few times, to get us all some ear plugs (thank the lord). With the little orange puff stuck in my ears, I sighed and wiped my forehead as I was starting to sweat a bit. Of course I had forgotten that my face was painted, but remembered as I saw the big white smear on my hand. I was miserable.

A few minutes later, the lights went out, circus type music came on and some chubby old men dressed as clowns came onto the stage to an intense amount of screaming. I was thankful for my ear plugs. At this point, I noticed the hundreds of bottles of soda on the stage. I was intrigued that they could be that thirsty or even come near drinking even one bottle of soda, let alone hundreds, while performing. When I asked Kane about the soda, he said, You’ll see. A few seconds later a mist of an orange fizzy beverage landed on my melting clown make-up, I knew why, but was confused. These old, dancing, singing clown men would take a soda bottle, shake it up and spray it on the crowd, who loved it. Personally, I was appalled. For one, they were wasting good soda (even if it was some cheap brand name Faygo). Secondly, I could not fathom getting soda all over my clothing.  It was disgusting, soda is STICKY. Yet these people were loving it, in fact, asking for it.

Bottle after bottle, dozens, hundreds, were being sprayed on the audience. While I was in awe of the crowd enjoying this, I started thinking of logistics. How do they travel with that much soda? What a waste of money. How could a venue allow this? Being a bit of a neat and clean freak, I was starting to desire a shower as not only did I have paint on me, I was now getting a spritz of soda every now and then. While I was freaking out on the inside, I was impressed with the performance. They put on a cool show, even if I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics. Besides the showers of soda, they had other characters coming out, a cool set and a great performance.

After about forty minutes, of mostly watching the mosh pit as if I was on safari and examining an odd animal ritual, I was able to finally sneak out of the concert and head back to my hotel room for a much deserved shower. While I felt like an idiot, it was decently fun, but most of all, it was really interesting getting to see the world of Juggalos. While I might not understand it or like the music, I do respect the passion the fans have and the great showmanship of the band.

But before you ask…no, no, I will never paint up again.

*As a side note. Karma did give me a little revenge on Kane for making me go to this concert, and I didn’t have to do anything. For weeks, Kane was having some ear pain. When he was home on a break from the tour, he went to the doctors, who removed a hardened ball of tissue from his ear. Come to find out, before the concert, Kane put some tissue in his ears since he had no ear plugs. When Elvis got us some, he pulled them out, but part of it stayed and got pushed further into his ear by the plug. While my torture was only for a night, his lasted for weeks! 

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