Image via Andre Grossman for a 1986 Spin magazine shoot
If, like me, you find yourself fascinated by artist and inter-band feuds, you’ll have seen a lot of musicians banging on about setting the record straight with a non-existent documentary or never-published book. I’ve found myself waiting for some releases for nigh-on a decade before I finally decided to call off the Amazon search and declare the project dead. If you’re a Cro-Mags fan, you’ve probably watched the band implode, splinter into different groups, then quarrel to the point where it got as ugly as any musical beef could get. Even if you chose to pick a side, you can’t deny that both the most prominent members, John Joseph and Harley Flanagan, have had lives that justify memoirs. Joseph’s excellent Evolution of a Cro-Magnon dropped in 2008 and is an essential document of the Lower East Side before the boutiques. Flanagan was talking about releasing his own autobiography in 2009 via the always-interesting (if you haven’t picked up Disco’s Out…Murder’s In, you’re missing out on an essential, unwritten chapter in LA’s punk underground) Feral House with a 2010 release in mind, but circumstances seemed to put things on hold for a while. Looking at Amazon today, Harley Flanagan: A Hardcore Life of My Own is listed as having a 13 September, 2016 release date. Hopefully, those 240 pages will contain some underage punk drumming anecdotes, plenty of Alphabet City madness during hard times, martial arts and much more. I want to see Mackie put his memories to paper next.
Look, if you’re gonna wear a vintage band tee for cool guy purposes and not listen to the music, I recommend at least reading the memoirs even if it’s just to tell second-hand stories at the dinner table when things get dull.