ASTRONOMICON Convention Hit Michigan’s Burton Manor For The Fifth Year In A Row

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Combining Twiztid’s Electric Lettuce concert with three days of pop culture, horror, professional wrestling, collectibles, nostalgia, amazing panels, cosplay and tattoo contests, it was jam packed entertainment from beginning to end! How is Astronomicon different from other conventions? The answer is simple: fan interactions. At Astronomicon fans get to experience a more personal and intimate setting with shorter lines, up-close access to their favorite celebrities, and much, much more! I wish I could review every panel from this year–they were all out of this world–but I am going to highlight Nick Castle, Corey Taylor, and, of course, Twiztid.

Nick Castle, who played the original Michael Myers, is also a Hollywood writer and director known for films such as The Last Starfighter and Escape from New York. During his panel, he talked about his experience working on Halloween and how he could never have imagined that that movie would take off like it did. “There was no possibility of understanding what it would be. It’s crazy,” Castle said.  When asked about the multigenerational phenomenon Michael Myers has become, Castle joked that it may be unhealthy for children to walk around dressed as serial killers. My favorite moment from the panel was Castle’s answer to how Halloween would have been different if he – and not John Carpenter – had written it. “It would probably be a musical.” Can you imagine Michael Myers dancing to an upbeat show tune while butchering his victims?

As a huge Slipknot fan, my second favorite panel had to be that of Corey Taylor. Taylor, who’s, currently on tour with Slipknot, says that their new album will probably be out by the end of summer; though there isn’t a set date yet. Taylor mentioned that they’re all in a great headspace and getting along, and these have been some of the best tours they’ve ever had.

While touring with Slipknot, Taylor is also working on his own solo project. When mentioned, Taylor said that this project is “very diverse” because he can play songs from Slipknot, Stone Sour, his own personal solo music, as well as cover a plethora of classics to “try to make it an all around party.” After releasing his solo record during the pandemic, Taylor says it was interesting, and he thought it was the best time to do it, seeing as no one really knew what to expect with the pandemic. He says “no one really knew what to expect of the solo record; and if he endeavored to do anything, it’s to make sure people never get what they expected.” “People weren’t prepared for the fact it was just balls out, rock and roll.” To him, his solo record was showing another side of his songwriting skills that he hadn’t been able to show off before. He says it gave people time to live with it, listen to it, and get into it.

There were two questions from the crowd that I feel need to be included in this review. First, a fan asked Taylor what his favorite memory was with late Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison. Taylor simply responded that his favorite memory of Joey was just hanging out with him at his house. They bonded over their mutual love for music and dedication to making it. In the beginning, all they cared about was Slipknot and wanted to leave people in awe. After a few tours, no one wanted to take them out because they were so crazy, so becoming a headlining act was a necessity.  Because they had to just keep their heads down and go, his best memories with Joey were just sitting back and reflecting on everything and talking about what they still had to do in life. 

The other question that had significant importance was “What was your worst injury you’ve encountered while in Slipknot?” In 1999, Taylor fell five feet off the stage and landed on his head, which compressed his spine and left damage that slowly spread into his spinal cord. Over the course of roughly 16 years, he started to lose not only his balance but strength on his right side, started to forget things, and he couldn’t hold his bladder. Taylor thought it was just from his age but his doctor recommended an MRI. Taylor spoke of how headbanging on stage felt like getting electrocuted and the pain escalating to a feeling of “being shot” at one point.  The MRI showed that the bone had grown into his spinal cord and every time he would headbang, he cut his spinal cord a little bit more. At that point he couldn’t lift anything on his right side and would fall over on stage.

There’s still a lot of scar tissue which makes it difficult for Taylor to move. One of his favorite things to do was to hand write his lyrics, but it’s so bad that he has to type them now. Because of this, he had to say goodbye to something he cherished, but he is happy to still be alive and living the life he is today. He says he’s reached an age where life takes things away instead of giving them, so you cherish things a bit more. “Every joy is a little sweeter. Every tragedy is a little harder” because it’s something you’ve spent years with.

This next panel was probably one of the most anticipated panels of Astronomicon 5; The 25 Years of Twiztid panel. While talking about their first ever album, which came out 15 years ago, they described that album like it is like your first kiss, your first love and the one you never forget about. “I found my significant other because of this record, I was able to get through a divorce or a death in my family. So that record will always be close to my heart.” When Twiztid was first signed to Golic Records, both members said that they were never going to paint their faces, it was the last thing they wanted to do because they did not want to be like “every other juggalo band who paints their faces.” Unfortunately for this power duo they realized that while they were playing on stage they were extremely sweaty and red and they thought “Ok who actually wants to see us all sweaty and red faced while we perform.” They tried a little bit of this and a little but of that until “one night Jamie was like, let me try something, he painted his face white and put black around his eyes and that was it. The minute I saw it, I was like, oh fuck that is it,” stated Methric. “The thing that really, really did it for us though is, when we looked out into the crowd and we saw faces that looked like ours, they were almost mimicking it. It felt like we had found our niche and clicked with everyone that we were trying to get involved with. We tell everybody, be inspired by what we do and make it your own. If you’re a rapper, an artist, a hair stylist, whatever the fuck it is you do, If you’re inspired by us, use that inspiration to make your art come to life.”

To put an end to an already an amazing convention, Twiztid put on the Electric Lettuce concert with Super Famous Fun Time Guys, Red and Blaze. Scanning the crowd, you could spot several fans wearing the Twiztid style face paint that Methric spoke about previously and displaying various pieces of Juggalo swag. The whole venue was filled with a unique energy as Twiztid took the stage. The beat dropped, the fog filled the stage, and a neon marijuana leaf sign with Twiztid’s name on it lit up the stage revealing the gruesome twosome, Madrox and Monoxide. The Detroit duo delivered the most diabolical dissertation of mic dropping madness to their fans. They were explosive and energetic as they launched into a lyrical onslaught, bombarding their fans with a flurry of catchy rhymes, driving beats, and explicit lyrics. Their set-list celebrated a strong career that spans twenty-five years and a few noteworthy record label changes. Madrox and Monoxide gave a spot-on performance that kept the crowd’s energy “high” with witty banter and satirical commentary that only the true family of Juggalos could understand.

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