Thursday, June 24, 2010

Harley Flanagan part IV

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A very young and freshly tattooed Harley Flanagan, Photo courtesy of: Harley

Harley returns again to DCXX, this time discussing Bad Brains, Motorhead, and the infamous We Gotta Know video. Cro Mag! Skinhead! Breakout!!!!! -Gordo DCXX


You got to know the Bad Brains very well on a personal level. What was each of them like back then, and what type of connection did you have with them as individuals? What did you learn from them? Good memories/stories?

I met them before they gigged in NYC through Nick Marden, who used to roadie for The Stimulators and eventually became the bassist and years later the singer. I have a lot of great memories of those guys - more than I can tell you. It's like talking about my family, I've known them since I was a kid, they spent Christmas at my grandparents' house back in the day, they were like family to me when I was growing up. They were like my uncles and brothers, especially Darryl. He was like my big brother, always beating me up and messing with me. He is probably the only person who ever actually taught me anything on the bass, like sat down and showed me stuff about picking and power chords. I love all of those guys and I learned a lot from them about music and about life. A lot of people were trying to school me the wrong way, but the Bad Brains were trying to school me right. Stimulators used to gig with them, Cro-Mags used to gig with them...I do have some great stories, but they will be in the book, I have a lot of love for them.

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Harley with the Cro-Mags at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Tell us about touring with Motorhead. What were Lemmy & Co. like off stage? What types of mischief did you get into with Lemmy? When was the last time you saw him? Favorite Motorhead song and record?

Lemmy is The MAN - that's all I got to say about him. I haven't seen him in a while but we are in touch telepathically. Ace Of Spades is of course my favorite album in its entirety, but they had some great stuff on Iron Fist. They have too many great ones to start, but those are two of my many favorites of his.

I saw that first tour they did in the states when they played at Irving Plaza, there was only a couple hundred people there. Me, Darryl, John, Kontra and a couple others. We kept almost getting in fights for starting up our little pit - a 4 or 5 person pit, but they killed. The music from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly came through the PA...there was no one on stage, then the lights went on and Lemmy jumped out from stage right, Fast Eddie jumped out from stage left, Philthy jumped up from behind the drums and they busted into Ace Of Spades! It was great, I met them at the Mud Club on that tour, I have some funny memories from that night, but I'll save them.

Years later we toured with them on the Orgasmatron tour, I watched every show they did. My ears are still ringing and it's been over 20 years! I have some really funny stories from that tour, I've been lucky to gig with them many times since then in Europe and so on, they were a big inspiration musically and a part of what made the Cro-Mags sound and style. I learned a lot from them, both me and Parris were big fans, I think you can hear that in our music and the picking style.

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Cro-Mag, Skinhead, Breakout... Now!!!, Photo courtesy of: Harley

The WE GOTTA KNOW video is one of the most heralded music videos ever. It's got everything you could want in a Cro-Mags video. What do you remember about the shows where the footage came from, as well as the other footage in the video? Any good stories or memories behind it? What do you think of the video today?

Parris did a great job with that, I'm still proud of that video. He was going to SVA and he had this little movie camera his folks got him. He'd film stuff and get friends or his brother to film us while we gigged, then he edited it or directed it or whatever, not that there was any directing, it was just us being us.

Some of it was from the Motorhead Orgasmatron tour, some of it was from when we did that movie "The Beat" - that shit was terrible, a kid broke his neck during the shoot of our scene. Some of it was filmed at CB's, those were great days, period. Besides things like that kid's neck getting broken and some of the insane fights, of course. It's cool to see some of my old friends in that video, it's like a moment in time, it's crazy.

I still think it's a good video after all these years, a lot of fuckin' people bit off that shit, even look at some of the old Pantera videos and shit. A lotta motherfuckers bit off that shit, it is kind of a classic, because that was like the first time a real mosh pit had been seen on TV, I don't think there was stage diving or crowd surfing in any videos or anything like that yet. I think Suicidal Tendencies had a video but I don't think it had a real live mosh pit in it, I don't remember. All I know is that it was insane, it wasn't staged, it was totally nuts, and for a lot of America and a lot of the world that was the first time people outside of a HC gig ever saw a pit or a stage dive. It was that video on Headbanger's Ball that brought that shit to the screen and to the world outside of HC shows. Years later I remember seeing a car commercial were the car was crowd surfing or some shit and I had to laugh. But it really kind of set that shit off as far as bringing slam dancing and moshing or whatever and stage diving/crowd surfing and all that shit out to the world 'cause most people had never seen that kind of shit. Then when Parris directed that Onyx Video "Slam," they kind of bit off that whole HC mosh and crowd surf vibe.

But yeah, it brings back some good memories. Unfortunately they get overshadowed by all the bullshit that's going on now, but it is a good video. I haven't looked at it in years, I was like 18 in that shit. I got some stories you wouldn't believe, crazy shit, it's too bad, those really were fun times, we put on some great shows. Me, Parris, John, Mack, and Doug...and me, Parris, Doug, John, Pete, that shit was slamming and as fucked up as me and John were (and we were, we were all total characters, the shit was a funny band), it was real.

I got some great stories, but they will be in the book. The shit that's going on now, the fake Cro-Mags, it's all a bunch of bullshit. It ain't real at all. It's really too bad - it's some totally fake shit. But John wants to be the controller and that's that. They talk about that a lot in Krishna consciousness - people wanting to be the controller, it's funny. Oh well. It was a great band when it was real. Now, it's those songs - being played by other people who didn't write them or live it. It's too bad, I always wanted the band to stay together or get back together, but everyone wants to be the controller, and that's that, It's about ego and money, not about the integrity of what we were as a band and as a group of people who made that music. It's too bad.


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Harley speaks his piece to the Trenton crowd, Cro-Mags at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

now that was good

Anonymous said...

I think it's really important to say the we gotta know video was probalby the first time anything like that was made a video and it was part of the begining of mtv 86/87? up untill they played that on the ball only "night flight" would touch the real underground. not to dismiss anything before that but mtv was not into the real underground including punk hc and non comercial metal in the "day" look at how the main stream media reacted to fear on snl
angry al boston

Anonymous said...

"save that for the book"? Harleys writing a book? Hahah ..i cant wait to read that!

Anonymous said...

And I thought he was going to make it through the whole thing without bashing John.

Anonymous said...

Flanagans "book" is gonna be a lot of :D

Anonymous said...

nice responses from Harley...should've saved the interview time as it will all be in the book. He may have very limited stories if he's unwilling to share even 1 or 2.

It's pathetic the whole post "Age of Quarrel" Cro-Mags. It's been the same story over and over where they all keep fucking each other over and then pointing the finger.

I have a maximum rock-n-roll from 15 years ago that sounds like it could've been written yesterday, with all the drama.

...oh yeah, i'll wait for the book.

Justin M. said...

Although I'm pretty much Team John, I will defintely get a copy of Harley's book when/if it gets released.

Anonymous said...

I've been hearing about his book for a while now. Does anyone know when it will actually be released?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the book will be in ALL CAPS like most of his posts?

Anonymous said...

Book from this guy? Hope there is a ghost writer. There are only so may 2 and 3 letter pronouns, CAP LOCKS, references to people as "cat", and "being down and real" that I can take.

But I'm a nerd, I'll buy it anyway.

Mike Fairley said...

your anonymity bears no opinion. this aint crime stoppers.

Anonymous said...

AH AH AH jj IS MORE ANALPHABET THAN HARLEY.... SOMEONE WROTE THE BOOK FOR HIM.....

Ibn Mark said...

This dude has said my kind (Muslims) should all be deported….So yeah, I’ve realized he’s a blithering jackass for a while now. But these “interviews” are a trip. How much name dropping, self-promoting, and complaining can one man do in 5 minutes?

ShayKM said...

Yeah Mark, that's right! Harley, along with many others from the second wave of NY punk/HC were outright bigots on so many levels.
It doesn't take a trained historian
to dig up all the racist/intolerant crap that many of these guys spewed in the early days. Some of us were around and gagging at the time. But one important thing to remember is that many of these guys went on to reject such intolerance and to right some of the earlier wrongs. I am not defending Harley (or AF, or any other early 'skin' bands that spread a lot of bullshit), but it is vital to remember that we all do dumb shit when we are young. Some of us still do. Those of us that have been around for twenty or more years (many more) have seen these transitions, so it is easier to forgive the early thick-headedness. Still, saying no to racist fuckwits all the time is the high-road! Cheers

Anonymous said...

That guy is obsessed. I can see him strapped under JJ's car Cape Fear style. Dude needs to let it all go and *try* to live a full life. I expect this book to be a total spew of shit, as he never has anything good to say about anyone or anything. Will it be interesting?? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

What do they say?? Success is the best revenge. No wonder Harley is constantly buggin' out.

Zombies of Woodside said...

Hopefully he doesn't have "good" things to say about people.. Most people suck, do shady shit and need their card pulled. Most people don't have the balls to speak their mind cause it might be detrimental to their health.. Harley don't give a fuck and he's not in a band that has to worry about keeping the peace so he can go on tour with some band he hates but has good connections.. so although some shit he says might be crap.. I'm sure there's much more that's truth and will see the light of day. The NY Scene has always been about politics and clique BS that needs a little reality check. He remembers/was there when all your "heroes" came on the scene.. who was racist/ who was smoking crack/shooting heroin & sucking dicks for the money / who got their ass beat / who was a trust fund baby / who went on fag-bashes in the Village.. and the old famous NY "who was a nazi but then became hispanic in the 90's when it was cool" etc.. bring it on.
And if you think Harley is the only person in the music scene who dislikes Muslims or has racist tendencies, especially in New York.. then you're living in some kind of emo-positivity fantasyland. He's just the only one who's been quoted in a public forum..

Ibn Mark said...

Zombies…Better believe I’m far from living in an “emo positivity fantasyland". I’m just a dude who believes in Allah and The Last Day, and is sick of having Muslims and Non-Muslims speak ignorantly on this Deen (Way of Life). The only reason I singled out what Harley said is cuz this is a comment on a Harley interview (get it?)…and he obviously talks too much.

Anonymous said...

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." Have a nice day.

Ibn Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ibn Mark said...

OK "June 30, 1:10 AM”….As if “good” atheists and agnostics have never done evil things. The simple fact that you believe in good and evil shows religious tendencies anyway. And everybody has some god that they worship in one way or another…That quote is really weak.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest, Mohammed...

Anonymous said...

Muslims need to spend less time "explaining, justifying & interpreting" their intentions in life and in the "Holy Quran" and more time making a positive difference in this world. All religions are wack, but this isn't the 11th Century, the Crusades are long over. And not "everybody" worships a God. "Disbelievers in Allah or the Last Day, will abide in the Hellfire for all of eternity." I guess us Non-believers are gonna burn (though i'm probably Mis-Interpreting the Holy Text, of course). I'm gonna leave it at this cause Religion isn't even worth arguing about.

XCroFagX said...

This interview (if we could cal it that way) is maybe the worst post on here...so boring...so the guy makes angry faces to camera...who cares...crush the demoniac...blahblah

Anonymous said...

nice interview, but is it the last piece? i hope not. harley is a piece of HC history and whatever he says it's interesting for me.

Krob said...

I say keep bringing Harley back!! Opinions are like assholes...but at least Harley has been around and knows a thing about a thing or two.

I've always been fascinated by the Cro-Mags and I even lived in a Hare Krishna temple for a couple of years back in the mid '90s.
I'm 35 now and I've moved on, but I still respect it and have many friends who are still Krsna devotees. Personally, I'm more interested in Buddhism these days.
But anyway, Cro-Mags will always be a favorite of mine and Harley interviews are always interesting and entertaining.

zombiesofwoodside@yahoo.com said...

Zombies of Woodside ?

Uhm, there's were quiet a few Zombies out there, so, just for old times sake (and a trip to Astoria to kick ars :) ) I setup a facebook., look us up and dont forget...

H
NxY
C

Freaky Franky

Anonymous said...

All of you douchebags making snarky comments about Harley are fucking posers. Hardcore was done by '84. Cro-Mags ain't hardcore, they were waay above & beyond that hype. Anyone still playing or pretending to be "hardcore" is just rehashing the original scene which died it's own natural death.
Try writing something NEW like the originals did, suffer for your art, don't just memorize a timeline from Blush's "American Hardcore" and think yr down.
I don't know Harley but I did grow up in NYC and was one of the few longhairs stupid enough to go to early NYHC shows. The original HC kids were true badasses who earned their stripes & scars, they didn't ride the coattails of anyone. If you wanna be down, do something new!

All due respect to the original crew from an outside observer who couldn't get enough.

Anonymous said...

Team Harley? Team John? That's just silly. This isn't a Jennifer Anniston/Angelina Jolie showdown over Brad Pitt, ladies! Clearly, both men have some growing up to do that will never be done. That being said, however, it is obvious that only one of them has been able to sustain a relationship and be a good father, the kind he never had. Kudos to Harley Flanagan. He's a family man who takes care of his kids and lives in the present. I respect that. He's not exactly my favorite person, and I still approach (approach? Heck - avoid!) him with something like fear, yes, YET, he has been a better man than his own father was and credit must be given where credit is due! Good job, Harley. You surprised and impressed me. You did much better than I thought you would and I apologize for underestimating you. That said, there is only one other way left to compare Harley and John and once again,Harley comes out the clear winner. Harley is obviously a much more attractive man -- always had been and always will be.

Anonymous said...

Hi angry al