Cro-Mags' John Joseph: "It's a Good Thing the Music Business Fell Apart, They Ruined Music"
When it comes to musicians with compelling personal histories, John "Bloodclot" Joseph's story is a tough one to beat.
Though we recommend his first book, Evolution of a Cro-Mag, for the full story, the man's journey has seen him go from an early life spent quite literally on the streets of 1970s New York -- the Rotten Apple of yore which now lives on through Joseph's walking tours -- to becoming a revered punk-rock elder statesman and protector of New York's punk history.
Infighting, lineup changes, and even a recent, highly publicized stabbing incident involving the band's former bassist/post-Joseph frontman, Harley Flanagan, have at times threatened to eclipse the band's musical legacy.
However, the Cro-Mags -- namely the first period in which Joseph fronted the group -- changed the sound of hardcore-punk forever by fusing the riffs and churn of thrash metal with hardcore's unbridled rage and moral aesthetic.
Joseph now juggles the roles of published author, Iron Man athlete, vegan lifestyle advocate, public speaker, and screenwriter, all while keeping the band's music alive for generations young and old with a Cro-Mags lineup that features original drummer, Mackie Jayson, in addition to some other legends of early hardcore and crossover thrash.
In preparation for the band's highly anticipated performance at Churchill's Pub this week, we here at Crossfade spoke with the ever-loquacious Joseph on everything from that state of punk rock to his memories of Miami gigs past.
Crossfade: Who is involved in the current incarnation of Cro-Mags?
John Joseph: Me, Mackie, and A.J. [Novello, of Leeway] who's been playing guitar in the band for twenty years, and Craig, who has been filling for, I would say, about ten years, from Sick of It All.
Are there any plans to put out new music with the current touring lineup?
We'll see what happens. You know, everybody's got other stuff going on. I mean, I'd like to release an EP, you know, something, this year. We'll see what happens. But I've got some other music stuff I'm working on and film stuff and I'm so busy. We'll see what happens. If it happens, it would be great. The band is not a full-time thing, as you know. Maybe we'll play Miami once a year, Europe once a year, California once a year -- we just mainly do it to have fun, play the songs.
It certainly keeps the band's music alive for the fans.
I like to refer to them as friends rather than fans or whatever. Just seeing all the old-time people, the new kids coming out. I mean, we still bring it every night. It's a positive thing. Get the message out there, have some fun, travel a little bit.