CRO-MAGS founder Harley Flanagan spoke to Goldmine about what it was like for him to open for the classic MISFITS lineup at a couple of the latter group's recent shows, including at the Banc Of California stadium in downtown Los Angeles. He said: "It was amazing. I mean, it was really, I would say, almost indescribable. I felt like we not only put on a great show — it just felt so good — but everybody played a great show. It was great to be in the audience and watch and it was great to be backstage running around having such a great time. And as somebody who has now been friends with the MISFITS since I was a little kid, I remember seeing them playing in front of, like, you know, 50 to 100 people. So, for me, to see those guys doing something that amazing on such a scale… You've got to understand that they’re kind of like family to me. There is a certain amount of pride and seeing them achieve that."
He continued: "You know it's weird to be proud of like your elders, in a sense, because usually it's the other way around, but, like, I'm really proud of those guys.
"Some people are, like, 'They’re selling out. It's all about money' … whatever. You know what? Fuck all the haters. I'm blown away as these guys were able to do something so large, and, quite frankly, it was amazing. Anybody who saw those shows had a great time.
"So yeah, I mean those [shows] were a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he added.
"As you know, if people want to complain about it, you're welcome to, but know there's a whole bunch of people who had a great fucking time."
CRO-MAGS' "Don't Give In" EP was released in August 2019 via Victory Records. A second three-song EP, titled "From The Grave", arrived in December.
CRO-MAGS feature the legendary Flanagan pulling double duty with bass and lead vocals, guitarists Gabby Abularach, Rocky George (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, FISHBONE), and drummer Garry "G-Man" Sullivan.
The history of the CRO-MAGS is integral to the history of hardcore, its evolution from punk and the development of alternative music genres such as hardcore, cross-over, thrash metal, post punk and grunge, to name a few. Numerous iconic bands from METALLICA to GREEN DAY, and individuals such as Dave Grohl have credited CRO-MAGS with having had a primal influence on their development.
Born out of the violence and depravity of the Lower East Side of New York in the late '70s and early '80s, the CRO-MAGS was the brainchild of a very young Harley Flanagan (at the time 14 years old) when still playing with THE STIMULATORS. By 1982/83 he wrote and recorded the very first CRO-MAGS demos consisting of four songs that would become the blueprint for the seminal 1986 "Age Of Quarrel". He wrote all of the music, played each instrument and sang. Before long, he connected with Parris Mayhew and the two started writing music and auditioning band members.
Flanagan recently reached a settlement with singer John Joseph and drummer Mackie Jayson regarding ownership of the CRO-MAGS name. Flanagan is now performing under the name CRO-MAGS while Joseph and Jayson are performing as CRO-MAGS "JM".