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The Cro-Mags are an American hardcore punk band from New York City. The band, which has 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. Harley Flanagan (formerly drummer for the Stimulators) and John Joseph are practitioners of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing respectively.[1][2] Flanagan is currently a second degree black belt under Renzo Gracie. The Cro-Mags have gone through many line-up changes since the first line-up prior to Age of Quarrel. Flanagan has been the sole trademark owner of the group's name since the early 1990s, the primary song-writer and only member featured on every album, while other members have toured under the moniker without his permission. In April 2019, Flanagan reached a settlement with Joseph and Mackie in which Flanagan would retain exclusive rights to the Cro-Mags name while Joseph and Mackie would move forward with the name Cro-Mags "JM".

OriginNew York City, New York, US
Years active1981–present
Associated acts
Past members



The band's early years were spent living in burnt out buildings, squats and on the streets.[3] By 1982/83 Flanagan recorded the very first Cro-Mags demo consisting of 4 songs that would become the blue print for their debut album The Age of Quarrel (1986). Flanagan wrote all of the music, played each instrument, and performed vocals. Before long he connected with Parris Mayhew and the two started writing music and auditioning band members. Age of Quarrel singer John Joseph parted ways with the band for the first time after Age of Quarrel, 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 saw the return of Joseph singing along with Flanagan. According to guitarist and songwriter Parris Mayhew, he wrote most of the album with guitarist Rob Buckley. However, neither Mayhew or Buckley played on the actual recording and the writing has been disputed by Flanagan and others. The Cro-Mags disbanded and later recorded the album with the return of Doug Holland and a new rhythm guitarist: Gabby Abularach.[4]

The album Near Death Experience was released in 1993, after which the group disbanded for several years. They began touring again in the late 1990s with Flanagan on vocals and bass and Mayhew returning to the fold and eventually released Revenge in 2000. 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. In 2001 Flanagan asked JJ to join him once again, but that was a short lived reunion and ended in 2002.

In 2008 John Joseph and Mackie began playing shows with hired musicians on bass and guitar. In an October 2010 interview Joseph revealed that they were planning to release a new album in 2011.[5] As of 2018 the album has yet to be released. Flanagan released an album, Cro-Mags, in 2016.[6]

In 2018 Flanagan filed a federal trademark infringement action suing prior band members John Joseph McGowan and Mackie Jayson. In April 2019 Flanagan announced a settlement wherein he would own exclusive use of the name "Cro-Mags"; simultaneously, McGowan announced his recognition of the settlement, and that he and his band would perform as Cro-Mags "JM", beginning in August.[7] Flanagan is preparing a new Cro-Mags album with producer, Arthur Rizk for a planned 2019 release date.


Current membersEdit

  • Harley Flanagan – bass, (1981–1996, 1999–2002, 2019–present) vocals (1987–1996, 1992–2002, 2019–present)
  • Gabby Abularach – rhythm guitar (1991–1995, 2019–present)
  • Rocky George - lead guitar (1999–2001, 2002–2003, 2019–present)
  • Garry Sullivan – drums (2019–present)

Former membersEdit

  • John Joseph – vocals (1981, 1984–1987, 1991–1999, 2002–2003, 2008-2019)
  • Mackie Jayson – drums (1984–1986, 1996–1999, 2008-2019)
  • A.J. Novello – guitars (2008-2019)
  • Craig Setari – bass (2008-2019)
  • Parris Mayhew – rhythm guitar (1982–1991, 1999–2001)
  • Eric Casanova – vocals (1982–1984)
  • Doug Holland – lead guitar (1985–1989, 1991–1993, 1996–1999, 2001)
  • Pete Hines – drums (1986–1989)
  • Dave di Censo – drums (1989–1995)
  • Rob Buckley – lead guitar (1989–1991, 1993–1995, 2001)

At various times during the 1990s and 2000s, Flanagan and JJ simultaneously led separate versions of the Cro-Mags with completely different lineups. The groups billed themselves as Cro-Mag Jam, Street Justice, Age of Quarrel, Rival Mob, FVK (Fearless Vampire Killers) or Cholo-Mags.[citation needed]




Studio albums

Related bandsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Style, Jiu Jitsu. "HARDCORE LEGEND HARLEY FLANAGAN: HIS JOURNEY TO BLACK BELT – Jiu Jitsu Style". Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  2. ^ HarderMar 5, Jeff; 2013 (2013-03-05). "John Joseph: From Frontman To Ironman". Triathlete. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Response to xSampax from Pariss
  5. ^ | Cro-mags plan 2011 album
  6. ^ (23 Jan 2016). "Harley Flanagan - Cro-mags". Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  7. ^ "Harley Flanagan and John Joseph settle Cro-Mags lawsuit". Retrieved 2019-04-23.

External linksEdit