Cromags was a hardcore band that had some appeal to metal and crossover fans because of its aggressive nature. The band was formed in 1980 by parries and Harley, two street-wise punk kids in NYC. Harley was primarily a drummer who had passed on the opportunity to join Bad Brains. Flanagan was a devout Hare Krishna. In the '90s Century Media invested heavily in the band only to see the band unable to tour and split soon after. A 1994 live album attempted to salvage some revenue. It was recorded in 1991 and 1994 on both coasts of America.
Naturally, the band returned in 2000. Flanagan was on vocals as well.
A DVD called Final Quarrel: Live At CBGB 2001 appeared in 2007 through MVD. In recent years John Joseph has gigged under various names like Cro-mags Jam or Cro-Mags NYC. MVD issued a CD/DVD package called Harley’s War - Hardcore All Stars in 2009. The project band of Harley Flanagan of “Cro-Mag” even had the Cro-Mag monicker on the cover.
Harley Flanagan, who founded the band, was arrested in New York City on July 6th, 2012 charged with attacking several members of the current Cro-Mags line-up during the CBGB Festival. He was a panelist at one of the tables and wanted to attend the new Cro-mags’ show. A fight ensued and he suffered a broken leg.
Cro-Mags’ members John Joseph and Mackie Jayson settled with their former band-mate Harley Flanagan. The former two will perform as Cro-Mags JM and Flanagan will perform simply as Cro-Mags.
HARLEYS WAR - HARDCORE ALL-STARS - CRO MAG (CD+DVD) - MVD AUDIO
This somewhat biographical and retrospective release covers a lot of years and includes a lot of material too. The CD alone contains 32 songs. The CD starts with a 12-song section covering many of the years that Harley Flanagan spent as a member of, sometimes as a bassist and sometimes as a singer, Cro-Mags. This is followed by a so-called solo demo, featuring the likes of Don't Tread On Me, Why Don't You and Dead End Kids, from 1982. It shows the early hardcore energy in raw form. The CD ends with a CBGB show and 15 songs covering more of Flanagan's career. The DVD section begins with a New York show where the energy is even more evident and it happens with the help of friends from Agnostic Front, Suicidal Tendencies, Bad Brains and Warzone. In it Flanagan can't resist saying things like 'on September 11th they took us down but not out'. Quotes that add nothing to the hardcore, fun, free wheeling and sometimes even thrashy feel of the visual on offer. Four additional songs, two each from shows in Germany and Japan, solidify the raw nature of Cro-Mags and Harley's War in particular. The bonus section features a slideshow entitled Who Survived, a video clip for Hardcore, a documentary on the last days of CBGB, and a one on one interview with Harley. - Anna Tergel