INTERVIEW: John Joseph (Cro-Mags, Bloodclot)

Over the years I’ve met some fine, interesting and inspiring people within the hardcore and punk scene, meetings that will stick with me one way or the other. Mostly they were musicians from (inter)national bands big and small and just to name a few: Rodrigo (Satanic Surfers) when he was fronting Atlas Losing Grip (RIP), Lars Frederiksen and Old Firm Casuals, Mitts from Madball, Issa from Good Clean Fun (RIP), Ingemar from No Fun At All, Adam from H2O even twice, Pete from Sick Of It All, Colin and Daryl from Cock Sparrer,  … But one of my most memorable will be my meeting with author, NYHC musician and vegan Iron Man John Joseph from The Cro-Mags/ Bloodclot.

Anyone who is into hardcore, punk and even metal has heard of John Joseph and the American hardcore thrash band from New York City the Cro-Mags because both are legendary. Started by Harley Flanagan and the Cro-Mags were one of the first 80s bands that mixed hardcore, punk and thrash metal. They released their first album ‘The Age of Quarrel’ on Profile Records in September 1986 and it had John Joseph on vocals, Parris Mitchell Mayhew  and Doug Holland on guitar, Harley Flanagan on bass and Mackie Jayson on drums. ‘The Age of Quarrel’ became a real hardcore classic.

For some the Cro-Mags  are more known for their several line-ups and the separate versions of the Cro-Mags that were touring simultaneously during the 1990s and 2000s, one led by Harley Flanagan and one by John Joseph. Anno 2017, John and Mackie brought AJ Novello and Casey (who replaced Craig Ahead because Craig had knee surgery) to groezrock to bring that authentic NYHC Cro-Mags sound.

You could say that the Cro-Mags are notorious for the quarrel between John and Harley but John Joseph don’t give a fuck about any of that bullshit: “There isn’t no quarrel on this end. You never hear me talk shit, I don’t give a fuck. Look me and Mackie played on the record. I got a new band and a new album. We come out and have fun. When you are dealing with a person that constantly steals money from the band, ratted me out to the government. Why at this point in my life should I deal with a negative person?  AJ is in the band for 20 something years, Craig plays with us … I don’t care we do it to have fun. We come to Europe to play some festivals, everybody has a good time. There’s no beef, nobody is talking shit. The last time I went to Europe with him (Harley) he stole all the money, he stole the money in ’78 and in 91’. I went home broke and lost my apartment. Everything he writes in his book is bullshit. The real story is that we do this shit to have fun and not for the money. I make more money when I stay at home than to come over here. But I do it to have fun. If it wasn’t fun I wouldn’t do it. It is as simple as that”, John says.

“And about us not being the real Cro-Mags, its half the Cro-Mags the other half … who gives a fuck. Most of the shows we play are sold out. People don’t care about the beef they want to hear the music”, John adds. “I sang on all the records except for Best Wishes and  I quit why? Because the money got stolen by my supposed to be best friend that tried to put me in prison”, John says. “Harley stole from the band and stole the Century Media Records money. He so forced me to finish the unfinished tracks, make a record an do a USA and Europe tour to get out of the contract that he got me involved in.”, John says.

Besides being the frontmen of the Cro-Mags, John Joseph is an author known for his books ‘The evolution of a Cro-Magnon’ and ‘Meat is for pussies’. He just signed a quarter of a million book deal and just released an updated version of ‘The evolution of a Cro-Magnon’ because people were selling the first edition for too much money online, ripping people of.  “Everything in my book is the truth. That’s the real story. It ain’t about the Cro-Mags, it’s a positive book about overcoming obstacles and it helped a lot of people. It is not about being a tuff guy, it is about compassion and helping people, it is about going out and feeding the homeless,  …. It is about giving and not taking and bragging”, John says.

John has a new book coming out about PMA on which he spent 3 years of writing. The book deals with his and other people experiences on overcoming shit in their lives and getting things done.  “It’s a book about how we all help each other and not sit there and talk shit about each other. If you put people down constantly you are an insecure motherfucker because you got to put them down to make yourself feel better. That not a man, that’s a coward. We spread positivity and love and help people PMA that’s what it is all about.”, John adds.

A real man is someone who helps other people and has compassion.

John got a new band together called Bloodclot with himself  on vocals, Todd Youth (ex-Murphy’s Law, e- Danzig) on guitar, Nick Oliveri (Dwarves, ex-Kyuss, ex-QOTSA) on bass and Joey  Castillo (ex-QOTSA, ex—Danzig, The Bronx) on drums. They have an album out called ‘Up in Arms’ on July 14th through Metal Blade. Decibel Magazine gave it 5 out of 5 stars and it got voted as the best album in John’s career. “I do the music for the love. A new Cro-Mags album is probably not going to happen but instead I went a did a bad-ass album with these guys in Bloodclot,” John says.




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