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OriginNew York City, New York, US
Years active1981–2002, 2008-present
Associated acts
Past members

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]

The Cro-Mags have gone through many line-up changes since the band's beginnings. 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 Joseph and Mackie continued to tour with other musicians using the Cro-Mags name against the wishes of Flanagan. 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 under the name, Cro-Mags "JM".


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 Joseph 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 under the Cro-Mags name with other established hardcore musicians such as Craig Setari from Sick of It All on bass, and A.J. Novello from Leeway on guitar. In an October 2010 interview, Joseph revealed that they were planning to release a new album in 2011,[5] though ultimately this did not happen. Flanagan released his solo debut album, Cro-Mags, in 2016, it featured Cro-Mags alum Gabby Abularach on guitar.[6]

In 2018 Flanagan filed a federal trademark infringement action suing prior band members John Joseph and Mackie Jayson. In April 2019 Flanagan announced a settlement wherein he would own exclusive use of the name "Cro-Mags"; simultaneously, Joseph announced his recognition of the settlement, and that he and his band would perform as Cro-Mags "JM", beginning in August.[7].

On June 28, 2019 Cro-Mags released their first new music in twenty years, sharing three new songs “Don’t Give In,” “Drag You Under” and “No One’s Victim.”[8] and preparing a new album with producer, Arthur Rizk for a planned early 2020 release date. They were the opening act for four shows with the Original Misfits: June 29 in Los Angeles, September 7 in Denver, September 11 in Oakland and September 14 in Seattle. This was followed by a ten-date European tour to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Best Wishes album. [9]


Current members[edit]

  • 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 "G-Man" Sullivan – drums (1999, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2019–present)

Former members[edit]

  • 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 Joseph 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
Singles and EPs
  • Don't Give In (2019)
  • From The Grave (2019)

Related bands[edit]

See also[edit]


  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.
  8. ^ "Hear Hardcore Heroes Cro-Mags Return With First New Songs in 20 Years". Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  9. ^ Facebook | 2019 European tour schedule

External links[edit]