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Deadheads and Juggalos, Loving Each Other? Failed Prank Leads to Reflection

By Kyla Gardner | April 2, 2015 10:01am

IRVING PARK — A Grateful Dead cover band failed in its attempt to prank Juggalos on April Fools' Day. So they "pranked" their own fans instead.

In its 15 years, Terrapin Flyer has seldom strayed from the Jerry Garcia canon, but it surprised the crowd at Abbey Pub with original songs Wednesday night.

"It was really fun to do that, for me at least. I think everyone else was like, 'What the hell is going on?'" said Doug Hagman, the band's founder.

Terrapin's weekly show at the Irving Park Bar happened to fall on April 1, so Hagman knew he wanted to pull a prank.

His first thought was to go after Juggalos, the fans of horrorcore rap duo Insane Clown Posse who paint their faces black and white. Hagman circulated a flyer featuring the ICP logo "Hatchetman" to see if some might show up, unsuspecting, to a jam with Deadheads.

"Apparently the poster has already made it's way onto ICP boards and I'm honestly a little worried that we might get flooded with ICP fans," Hagman said in an email before Wednesday's show. "But when posed with the question of how far to take this, the resounding answer was all the way."

In 2013, Terrapin Flyer took a rare Wednesday night off at Abbey Pub, and Insane Clown Posse-inspired band Twiztid played instead. Terrapin Flyer apologized to the confused Deadheads who showed up to a horrorcore show packed with Juggalos.

While Juggalos wear dark clothing and listen to music with themes of murder and violence, especially with knives, Deadheads are more known for their tie-dye and more, well, relaxed demeanor.

Terrapin Flyer announced on its Facebook page Wednesday that it was going to "move in a somewhat different direction," and become an Insane Clown Posse cover band instead.

Irving Park resident Tim Fast showed up to the April Fools' Day show ready for the new direction. He wore Juggalo face makeup, but his beard and Jimmy Hendrix shirt gave him away as less than a true fan.

Fast was one of the Deadheads to show up to the Twiztid show in 2013 — he was "cosmically confused" — but he stayed for the whole thing and had a great experience, he said.

Deadhead Tim Fast (r.) wore Juggalo makeup to the April Fools' Day Terrapin Flyer show. (DNAinfo/Kyla Gardner)

Still, Fast and other fans weren't sure what sort of music they might see from Terrapin Wednesday night.

"I had no idea what they were going to do," Fast said.

"I see why they did it. I get it. It’s funny," said Casey Deeter, of the Gold Coast, about the Facebook post. "As long as they don’t [play ICP music], it’s all good."

In case some Juggalos did show up, Hagman wanted to make sure they didn't feel like the only ones being pranked.

"I thought to myself, 'What could I do to make this an equal joke for the fans of ours and the fans of ICP?'" he said. "I thought, 'Well, if I can completely confuse both of them then I can call it a success."

No Juggalos ended up showing up to the Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace St., but the Deadheads were still confused by Hagman's original music.

The songs had influences of funk, rock, jazz and drone music.

Fast didn't mind the change of pace.

"Anything that comes off Doug Hagman's fingers, I love," he said.

Some fans swayed and danced to Hagman's songs at first, but when they realized he wasn't going to play any Grateful Dead songs, became annoyed.

"What are you guys doing? Come on!" said a fan in tie-dye in front of the stage before crossing her arms.

"Where is this going, guys? I'm not sure what's happening," said Todd Lemmons, of suburban Mokena. "I don't mind experimental, but I gotta hear my Jerry, god d****t."

Hagman said he hoped he hadn't angered his fans too much by exploring his own songwriting for a night.

He hadn't written a song in 25 years before writing the entire two-and-a-half-hour show this week, he said. Hagman is the band's rhythm guitar player and singer.

"I'm just hoping that people will be as forgiving as they normally are with us. One week we may do something like this to them, but then they'll come back and we’ll treat them to something else," he said.

In the end, Hagman was glad his "Hatchetman" flyer didn't end up tricking any Juggalos.

"I was afraid they would be offended," he said. "I don't have anything personal against them, and I don't want anyone to think I'm making fun of them. It's just [for] a good time."

In his Facebook post about the prank gman wrote, "There really isn't a far leap between ICP and the Grateful Dead thing. Both consider their clan family."

Just ask the loyal Deadheads scrambling to score tickets to the band's Soldier Field one-time, three-night reunion show this summer.

Another similarity: "both have had fans of the band targeted for investigation by the FBI."

The late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead (l.) and Violent J (r.), of horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse (Flickr/Zoomabooma and GettyImages/Michel Boutefeu)

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