Cro-Mags' John Joseph on Churchill's Pub: "It's Punk Rock as a Motherf@#%er!"
Punk rock lives.
Even if as John Joseph says: "It's just become like anything else, you know? Homogenized, watered down, and fashion."
In the first part of our conversation with Joseph, frontman of the legendary New York hardcore/thrash band Cro-Mags, we spoke about punk in 2014, the changing face of NYC, and the failure of the music industry.
In part two, we here at Crossfade chat with Joseph about what a massive bust the Black Flag reunion was, the essentials of a good hardcore show, and his budding screenwriting career.
Crossfade: What was it like living through punk in the '70s and '80s?
John Joseph: Every band sounded different. You had the Clash, the Bad Brains, the Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag -- none of those bands copied each other! Everybody developed their own sound. You may have been influenced, but it wasn't a bite!
I think even in hardcore, it started becoming this metal fuckin' tough guy scene and that shit is just bullshit, as far as I'm concerned. I wasn't down with it and I still ain't down with it!
I just saw Flag with Keith [Morris] and they killed it. You know, they play well and they're not just doing it for the money. You also had a lot of these bands doing reunions, just looking to fuckin' make dough, and the audience knows the lie and what's up with that!
We had Greg Ginn's Black Flag perform in Miami and it was pretty terrible.
That dude talks so much shit, man. He fuckin' went on my page talkin' shit about the walking tour, like, "Yeah, look at this fucking sell out." And I was like, "Motherfucker, do you even know me?" Once I told him who was running the page and told him I was playing in Austin, Texas, in two weeks, and said, "If you've got something to say, motherfucker, show up," then he changed his whole fuckin' tune.
My walking tour is about crime, music, art. It's not just punk rock, you know? I saw Black Flag at Urban Plaza in 1980. What the fuck, you know? And then he's turning around suing the other band and even the other guys in the band just quit because this shit's embarrassing! I love Keith, man, you know -- he's the real deal. We toured with OFF! in Europe and he's just a real down-to-earth guy. And Chuck on bass ... It was just great.
How was Cro-Mags' experience playing Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin? Hardcore bands always risk a bit of an awkward experience at big festivals.
It was great. The club show was kind of bizarre, I think the power went out. But the guy, Graham, is just a great dude and he treats everybody right, and it's a good experience to still do those big shows. I also like doing the club shows where you've got four or five hundred sweaty motherfuckers packed in a room. The energy, that's punk-rock.
To me, it's like, it's cool to do the big festival shows, but nothing can match the intensity of a bunch of motherfuckers jammed into a club and the band just comes out and kills it, you know? I'm not like a barricade kind of person at all. I like the people being up in your face.