I started a new ritual this year.
Any time I’m feeling insecure before performing—I’m so certain the audience is going to hate me or something will go wrong and it’ll turn into a complete disaster—I will watch this video of Andrew W.K. getting kicked off stage at The Gathering of the Juggalos.
It is one of the most inspiring videos I’ve ever seen. It’s a beam of pure light and it makes me fearless.
The Gathering of the Juggalos is a notoriously hostile festival for performers. If they don’t like you WHO KNOW what horrible things they might throw at you. Empty bottles? Glass? Their own poop? If they don’t like your show they will try to ruin it.
In the first few seconds of the video you can tell the audience isn’t on Andrew W.K.’s side. He’s dancing like a weirdo and sharing a positive message. He’s not trying to be cool. He’s not trying to impress anyone. He is being 100% himself NO MATTER WHAT.
They throw empty cans at him. Doesn’t faze him.
You can tell by even just the little you see the crowd that no one seems into it. Doesn’t stop him.
He’s giving it his all. He’s not giving up.
Eventually some security guard comes and pulls him off stage. It’s over. I guess they realized that no matter what happened out there Andrew W.K. wasn’t going to back down and if they wanted it to stop they were going to have to stop him.
Some times we’ll do a school assembly at a high school where it feels like nobody cares. It’s like every student decided they were going to check out the moment they sat down in the auditorium. You feel like you’re speaking to wall. It’s so easy for that to throw me off and get in my head. But if I picture Andrew W.K. just GOING FOR IT no matter what, it inspires me to keep going.
It might feel like 99% of the audience hate you and everything you’re doing, but even if there’s just one person connecting to what you’re saying, it’s worth it. I’m sure there were a handful of people who were absolutely in love with what Andrew W.K. was doing at The Gathering of the Juggalos. They were worth performing for.
Want more? Here’s a clip of Andrew W.K. talking about his experience of that performance.