JJ with the Cro-Mags at Teatro Novedades, Photo: Jorge Luis
Here's some highlights from an interview with JJ done by Fredrik from "Nettverk for dyrs frihet" when the Cro-Mags were recently in Europe. Check the full interview here:
You know, we are looking to release something next year. We always just roll with the punches. We want to release something with this line-up. My philosophy is: "I don't talk about shit; I just do it." When it's getting ready to come out you will hear about it.
H.R. actually personally had a hand taking me to all the vegetarian places. He personally showed me around in New York, took me to Angelica Kitchen, Vegetarian Paradise. That really helped my life in a big way. The family that surrounded the Bad Brains in the early eighties was very special. We felt like a real family, almost sadhu-like.
H.R....was very much like a sadhu, like a sage, a very wise person, very knowledgeable, very humble. Seeing somebody act like that was inspiring to me. There was no ego. There was no: "You should do this because I tell you to do it". H.R. was on a different trip: "You should do this because Jah wants you to do it". That was the difference, he was a very humble man, very knowledgeable and so was the whole crew.
Cro-Mags at the BNB Bowl, 2010, Photo: Stress
Nobody likes people that have egos and act like rock stars. The Bad Brains were the exact opposite and they were the baddest motherfuckers ever and they were the humblest, so that should tell you something.
Me, this is my thing: I don't drink, I don't take drugs. [A random dude sitting next to us during the interview puts his beer down]. Hah, he put his beer down! I don't paint X's on my hands and I don't preach to people...and that was my problem with all the vegan straight edge. A lot of them in the States were a bunch of assholes that thought they were better than everybody else. They talked down to people; they were up here, and you are down there. That's all bullshit. Those dudes are all eating fucking McDonald's and shooting heroin now! You can't be a fucking dick like that.
You got to help people out of compassion. That's why I wrote the book. I've gotten five hundred e-mails at least, saying: "Dude, the book makes so much sense. I've gotten off all the processed food. I gave up meat. I'm starting to work out again." That to me means everything. Money means shit. But if I can help someone…and every person you make vegetarian/vegan saves a thousand animals. That is the greatest work ever!
A Cro-Magnum sing along at BNB Bowl 2010, Photo: Future Breed
Whatever it takes to wake the male population up. No one has ever written a book like this that got in the face of the men from whom I was told that vegans and vegetarians look like skinny little pussies. That's why I threw it back in their face.
Even before Best Wishes I was working on those songs with Harley and I left just before it was recorded. That's why we still play Crush The Demoniac, because I wrote it. So like I said last night: "The Cro-Mags and what it stands for is bigger than any individual, it's about the message of the fucking band". And back in the day, everybody that came together made that band. If you would have taken out Mackie, Parris, Harley or me, there would have been no Cro-Mags. I mean Doug didn't write anything, and he came in right before the record. He gets no credit. He didn't write any of the songs. He just played guitar on the record. This guy [points at Mackie], me, Harley and Parris were responsible for the Age of Quarrel, the demo and even part of Best Wishes. So if you are going to remove anyone of those from the equation there would be no Cro-Mags.
That's where we differ. Those dudes [referring to Harley and Parris] tries to act like they were the Cro-Mags and nobody else mattered. I don't say that. I say everybody was an integral part of that band at that time. But the reason we are out doing it is because we kept the PMA. We kept the Positive Mental Attitude. If those dudes want to talk shit and do all this other stuff and whatever and write shit on the internet, be my fucking guest. But doing shows like this is what it's all about. We tried to get it together with Harley, and it just created more problems then what it was worth. So fuck it.
Cro-Mags at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Carl Gunhouse
Cro-Mags fans, it's all about being a seeker of the truth. You got to get to the bottom and the truth of everything. That's why we're still out doing what we do and I chant everyday. Still to this day, people ask me "Are you still into Krishna?" What do you think? It's like some fad, "I was into rave music and parachute pants and platforms and now I'm not"? It's a life-long process, where we all have to purify ourselves. So read Prabhupada's books every day and chant. You don't need these bogus gurus; that's what I got to say. It's a cult. They turned it into a cult. You are not allowed to question what they do. They are untouchable. Bullshit. I want to know everything they do. And anyone who wants to know, you can know!
The members of The Beatles were great sadhus in their last life. The Beatles, the biggest fucking band ever...hey were so affected by Prabhupada, because at first they served another "guru" Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but then they found out he was banging all the female disciples. Then they looked at Prabhupada and he slept on the floor, he cooked for everybody, he served everybody. Humility. They knew that Prabhupada was a real sadhu, a really special person and acknowledged that whatever his mission is we need to help.
Did you see the tribute concert they did for George Harrison? Tom Petty got up and he said in front of every major music star and celebrity in the world in this theatre and he goes: "Right now I want you to do something that would make George very happy. Are you ready?" And the audience say "Yeah". Tom Petty continues: "Everybody say: Hare Krishna" and the whole audience said "Hare Krishna". George was an amazing, amazing person.
It's not about materialism. You can have all the money in the world and guess what? You can't stop death from coming. When it's your time no amount of money is gonna stop death.
That's why at forty-eight years old… Motherfuckers say: "How long are you going to keep doing this?" What do you mean? When I don't feel it in my heart anymore. But I hope to be playing until it's time to leave the world because I believe what I'm saying on stage. The lyrics are based on Prabhupadas teachings and what I've been through in my life. So how can I ever turn away from that and be like: "I don't believe in this anymore"? Then kill me. That's what I say, because then my life is over.
The Bad Brains and all these bands that I was listening to were trying to make me aware and conscious. That's what needs to come back into the music. Not: "I can dance like this and have tattoos and do this and do that". Because those are the people who are not going to stay with it. So when you ask: "How long are you going to keep doing this?" Why should I stop? I didn't get into it to make money. If that was the case I would have left a long time ago. It's not about money. It's about: "I feel it in my heart". You can't fake what we do. That’s real shit; I'm not bragging. If I go on stage and I don't feel it in my heart, then it's over.
JJ brings it with the Cro-Mags at Super Rock, Photo: Sebastian Delacruz
Hopefully we will get this new album going. One thing is for sure, we would rather not do it than to do something half-assed. So we don't talk; we will just do it and put it out. Then we will be back man.
You should ask Craig "Ahead" a few questions now. The man is a fucking legend, but humble like I said.
Craig "Ahead": Playing with Sick Of It All is the first priority; it's my band. But I love the Cro-Mags, they are my friends. They ask me to play, which is an honor, so I do play. So whenever I have the time and when Sick Of It All is not touring I play with the Cro-Mags, whenever possible. Because I enjoy it very much: great music with a great and important message. The traveling with Cro-Mags is very fun but also includes good conversations. We talk about many things that make me feel very much like a grown man. It's man talk of good topics between men. It's not nonsense talk about bullshit.
John Joseph: May I ask a question? How long have you been a vegetarian Craig?
Craig "Ahead": Between two and three years. I've not had a drink in eight.
Craig, JJ and Mackie with the Cro-Mags, Photo: Susanhek.com
Monday, October 4, 2010
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 8:03 PM