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Origin New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Crossover thrash, hardcore punk, thrash metal
Years active 1981–present
Labels Century Media, Mightier Than Sword Records
Associated acts 108, Agnostic Front, Bad Brains, Danny Diablo, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Harley's War, Hazen Street, The Icemen, Kraut, Leeway, Madball, Murphy's Law, Samsara, Shelter, Sick of it All, The Stimulators, Suicidal Tendencies, Youth of Today
  • John Joseph
  • A.J. Novello
  • Craig Scully
  • Maxwell Mackie Jayson
Past members

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 are practitioners of boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu respectively.

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.)."[1]


The band's early years were spent "living in burnt out buildings, squats and on the streets".[2] 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, another guitarist - Rob Buckley wrote most of the album along with him, though neither of them are featured on it as the group broke up but reformed with previous members.[3]

This was followed by Near Death Experience (1993), after which the group finally disbanded. However, the band had since reformed and continued touring some years later, and then in 2000, they released Revenge, which marked a return to their early hardcore roots, featuring songs that were comparable to those on their first release, as well as some songs with a more melodic/punk rock feel. After the release of Revenge the band broke up once again, and the internal hostility amongst band members (mainly between Mayhew and Flanagan) has never been resolved. The Cro-Mags eventually reformed again and had since continued playing live sporadically.

In 2008 John Joseph started playing shows, including one at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, using the name Cro-Mags (jam). The band included drummer Mackie Jayson, Craig Setari of Sick of It All on bass, and AJ Novello of Leeway on guitar. In an October 2010 interview, John Joseph revealed that the Cro-Mags were planning to release a new album in 2011.[4] However, as of December 2015, the album has not been released.

On July 6, 2012, Harley Flanagan was arrested for allegedly stabbing William Bernardo Jr. and Michael Couls, and biting one of them, backstage at Webster Hall in New York City before the band went onstage.[5] Reportedly, Flanagan sustained a broken leg while being subdued by security and the injuries to the victims are not life-threatening.[6][7] Flanagan claims the stabbing was in self-defense, after he was jumped backstage by a group of men.[8]


Main article: Cro-Mags discography
Studio albums


Current members[edit]

  • 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)

Former members[edit]

  • Eric J. Casanova – vocals (1982–1984)
  • Harley Flanagan – vocals, bass (1981–1993, 1999–2002)
  • John Berry – vocals (1981)
  • Dave Stein – guitar (1981)
  • Kevin "Parris" Mitchel 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.[citation needed]

Related bands[edit]

  • 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


External links[edit]

See also[edit]