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|Origin||New York City, New York, U.S.|
The Cro-Mags are an American hardcore punk turned crossover thrash band from New York City. The band, which had a strong cult following, has released five studio albums, their first two considered the most influential. With a Hare Krishna background, they were among the first bands to fuse hardcore punk with thrash metal and were associated with the birth of a tougher attitude within the hardcore scene in the late 1980s, related to the world of martial arts. John Joseph McGowan and Harley Flanagan (formerly drummer for The Stimulators), are practitioners of boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu respectively. The Cro-Mags have gone through several line-up changes, and as of 2016, there are no constant members left in the band.
According to AllMusic, "before the Cro-Mags, the idea of combining heavy metal and hardcore together was unheard of. But with the release of their classic debut, The Age of Quarrel, hardcore-metal was born, and in its wake came a legion of similarly styled offspring (Biohazard, Vision of Disorder, etc.)."
The band's early years were spent "living in burnt out buildings, squats and on the streets". They first released a demo with songs that would eventually find themselves on their debut album The Age Of Quarrel (1986). Singer John Joseph subsequently parted ways with the band, leaving bass player Harley Flanagan to sing on the following Cro-Mags release, Best Wishes (1989), which had a more heavy metal-influenced sound. The next record Alpha Omega (1992) saw the return of Joseph. According to guitarist and songwriter Parris Mitchell Mayhew, he wrote most of the album with guitarist Rob Buckley. However, neither Mayhew or Buckley played on the actual recording, as Cro-Mags disbanded and later recorded the album with previous members.
The album Near Death Experience (1993) followed, after which the group disbanded for several years. They began touring again in the late 1990s, and eventually released 2000's Revenge. For many fans, this album signified a return to Cro-Mags' early hardcore roots. Many songs were comparable to those on The Age Of Quarrel, although some featured a more melodic/punk rock style. The release of Revenge and its subsequent tour resulted in yet another break up, which caused lasting resentment between Mayhew and Flanagan. The Cro-Mags have since reformed, and continue to play sporadic live shows.
In 2008, John Joseph began playing shows with Mackie Jayson on drums, Craig Setari of Sick of It All on bass, and AJ Novello of Leeway on guitar. In an October 2010 interview, Joseph revealed that the Cro-Mags were planning to release a new album in 2011. As of 2017, the album has yet to be released.
On July 6, 2012, Harley Flanagan was arrested for allegedly stabbing two men backstage at Webster Hall in New York City before the band was scheduled to perform. Flanagan reportedly sustained a broken leg while being subdued by security. Injuries to the victims were not life-threatening. Flanagan claims that he was jumped, and the stabbing was in self-defense.
- Studio albums
- The Age of Quarrel (1986)
- Best Wishes (1989)
- Alpha Omega (1992)
- Near Death Experience (1993)
- Revenge (2000)
- John Joseph McGowan – vocals (1981, 1984–1987, 1991–1999, 2002–present)
- A.J. Novello – guitar (2002–present)
- Craig Setari – bass (1996–1999, 2008–present)
- Maxwell Mackie Jayson – drums (1984–1986, 1996–1999, 2008–present)
- Eric J. Casanova – vocals (1982–1984)
- Harley Flanagan – vocals, bass (1981–1993, 1999–2002)
- John Berry – vocals (1981)
- Dave Stein – guitar (1981)
- Parris Mitchell "Kevin" Mayhew – guitars (1982–1991, 1999–2001)
- Doug Holland – guitar (1985–1989, 1991–1993, 1996–1999, 2001)
- Rob Buckley – guitar (1989–1991, 1993–1995, 2001)
- Gabby Abularach – guitar (1991–1995)
- Scott Roberts – guitar (1996–1999)
- Rocky George – guitar (1999–2001, 2002–2003)
- Franklin Rhi – bass (2002–2003)
- Dave Hahn – drums (1981)
- Petey Hines – drums (1986–1989)
- Dave DiCenso – drums (1989–1995)
- Ryan Krieger – drums (1999–2001)
- Gary "G-Man" Sullivan – drums (2002–2003)
- Leo – drums
- Harley Mckaye - bass (2009–2010)
- Roger Miret - bass (1981)
At various times during the 1990s and 2000s, Harley Flanagan and John Joseph simultaneously led separate versions of the Cro-Mags with completely different lineups. The groups billed themselves as Cro-Mag Jam, Cro-Mags-NYC, Age of Quarrel, Fearless Vampire Killers, Cholo Mags NY or Cro-Mags.
- Alloy – Petey Hines
- Antidote – John doing back-ups vocals on "Real Deal" of the 7" EP Thou Shalt Not Kill (1983)
- Bad Brains – Mackie Jayson, John Joseph McGowan (few live shows in 2006)
- Bloodclot! – John Joseph
- Both Worlds – John Joseph McGowan
- F.V.K. or Fearless Vampire Killers with John Joseph on vocals
- Front Line – Mackie Jayson
- Handsome – Petey Hines
- Harley's War – Harley Flanagan
- Hazen Street – Mackie Jayson
- The Icemen – Mackie Jayson
- Sick Of It All – Craig Setari
- Kraut – Doug Holland
- M.O.I – John Joseph, Harley Flanagan, Nunzio
- Murphy's Law – Harley Flanagan, Petey Hines
- Samsara (U.S. band) – Harley Flanagan, Parris Mayhew
- The Stimulators – Harley Flanagan
- Urban Blight – Mackie Jayson
- White Devil – Harley Flanagan, Parris Mayhew
- Leeway - Pokey Mo, A.J. Novello
- Response to xSampax from Pariss
- Punknews.org | Cro-mags plan 2011 album
- "Harley Flanagan's Revenge Stabbing". nymn.com. July 27, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- Coleman, Miriam (July 7, 2012). "Former Cro-Mags Bassist Accused of Stabbing at New York Show". Rolling Stone.
- Celona, Larry (July 7, 2012). "Cro-Mags founder accused of stabbing, biting band members at Webster Hall.Flanagan was reportedly said that hewanted to put an end to the Cro-Mags.". New York Post.
- "Former Cro-Mags Bassist Defends Himself Over Webster Hall Fight". Rolling Stone.
- Parris Mayhew's Cro-Mags Website
- Cro-Mags fan site
- Interview with Quarter-Life Crisis
- Artist: Cro-Mags – MusicBrainz