Interview with John „Bloodclot“ Joseph, the singer of Cro-Mags and Bloodclot, in NCO Club Karlsruhe on 21th June 2018.
I have every right to play as the Cro-Mags.
AFL: I think that this is one of the hardest interviews that I’ve had to do. Your life is well documented. There are lots of interviews on line where you talk candidly about your life. Then there are the books that you have written, TV shows and films. On top of all that you are involved in charities, Iron Man Triathlons, environmental groups, and you give talks.
John Joseph: Yeah, man shoot.
AFL: Still working on film and possible TV series?
JJ: Yah I’m writing constantly. I wrote a couple of TV pilots and I have a new book coming out. When I’m home I write every day.
AFL: Are you still involved in all of your charities?
JJ: Yes I am. I’ve done a bunch of different ones. I still do the soup kitchen in NYC.
AFL: Do you still do your walking tour?
JJ: Yah I still do the walking tour, when I’m in the City. As you know I’m not going to be in the City very much this year.
AFL: Do you still support Sea Shepard and other environmental groups?
JJ: Yah just you know represent, I’m into what they do. I think that if we don’t start waking up to what we’re doing to the planet, it’s going to get worse.
AFL: Do you have any new projects?
JJ: I have my new book coming out and i’m involved in a documentary film with the guy who did the film What The Health coming out soon. I just keep busy.
AFL: After your autobiography and or after an interview you’ve given where you talk about certain criminal aspects of your life, have you received any blowback, or repercussions in the form of civil suits?
JJ: Well I didn’t go into detail into all of it but, you know as I see it, it was a different life at this point. Being in the situations that I was in as a kid, or whatever, even as an adult on the street. That is some of the stuff you have to deal with.
AFL: As a former addict have you suffered relapse?
JJ: Nah, you know I talk about that that a lot in the new book. What it takes to remain clean and sober. It’s a lot of work, but the alternative is crazy, so you got to do the work.
AFL: Do you have plans to release new music either as Bloodclot or Cro-Mags?
JJ: Hey I did the record with Bloodclot. And um you know, somebody who was involved in the project did some grimy shit. I was aggravated with that, and I don’t want to deal with that shit. I’ve felt with somebody doing that in the Cro-Mags. I just don’t have the energy for it, you know we’ll see what happens. Perhaps every few years put out a record or do some kind of music.
From Age of Quarrel there were maybe three songs I did not write.
AFL: Aside from your Vegan diet and physical exercise routines, do you do anything extra to keep your voice in shape.
JJ: Well tonight the sound man didn’t have the monitors working, so I kind of blew out my voice. Yeah I do vocal exercises, and keep the voice in shape. It’s just another muscle you have to train.
AFL: In an interview you stated that you try to stay out of politics but that Trump is good for Hardcore and Punk. Can you elaborate on that?
JJ: I mean so you know, that everybody drank the cool aid when Obama was the President. Thinking that he’s making all of these aid to help the people and all of that. But to me politics don’t solve anything, so I don’t get involved with it. But there is other ways to heal the planet and it ain’t happening through politics.
AFL: Would you consider yourself Straight Edge?
JJ: Ah, I don’t get high, I don’t drink. I don’t need a label from the 80’s to define myself.
AFL: Do you avoid and or go out of your way not to associate with people who are not vegan, clean or sober?
JJ: Some of my best friends aren’t, and it has nothing to do with how I live my life. Some of my best friends eat meat and whatever; I don’t judge them for it. I judge them as individuals and for what kind of people they are.
AFL: Since the begging of HC and Punk, there have been a lot of changes in society. Do you see the music and scene as accepted in today’s society?
JJ: Yeah it’s a lot more mainstream, but if the youth of today aren’t taking the values that went along with it then it’s fake. I mean the shit that they are calling Punk Rock ain’t Punk it’s like pseudo Punk. Punk to me was an attitude, not because; you tried to sound or dress in a certain way. Anybody could do that.
AFL: What we didn’t have back in the 80’s were cellular phones and internet and social media. What’s your take on how those things affect the music, scene and industry today?
JJ: I use it as a platform for positive thinking. There are a lot of people who get on there gossiping and talking shit. That’s just not what I use it for. It does spread awareness and where the gigs are and whatnot.
AFL: Over the past 35 years there have been up’s and down’s with the Cro-Mags. It seems that the quarrel continues.
JJ: Not on my part it doesn’t. Not on my end. The problems that started in ´87´was the fact that Harley stole the band’s tour money and he did it again in ´91 behind my back. I did 38 shows and he went home with 40-50 thousand dollars and I got $700 so, you know. It’s been since then nonstop. You know he snitched on me for being AWOL from the Navy. Then Harley put Scot Ebanks in prison for 25 years, people don’t know that. So all this shit that’s being talked just look at the person it’s coming from. If you want to know what the truth is just look at the person who is talking shit and the people who aren’t. He made some statement on the New York Hardcore Chronicles page that he wrote or co-wrote every single lyric in the Cro-Mags. That’s a complete and utter total fucking lie. It’s a 100% lie, so he lie’s. He even ripped off Paris when he played with him. That’s why Paris doesn’t gig with him no more. Then he goes on saying he owns the name and he’s suing. The deal with the lawyers is, I let the lawyers handle it. I don’t talk about the case. At first he said that we were suing him, another lie. He sued us, so we’ve been using the name since he robbed the band in 91-92´and quit. We have gone on and continued playing since then. We’ll see what happens.
AFL: Has Harley opened another new suit against you?
JJ: Yah, he filed it, but we haven’t been served any papers. So he’s saying that we are doing this and that. Listen when the shit comes out you will see what’s what. There’s no problem on our end Mackie and I wrote the songs. I could go through every song on the record I wrote. From Age of Quarrel there were maybe three songs I did not write. For instance the chorus of Hard Times or a verse here and there in Survival In The Streets. But the songs We Gotta Know, Show You No Mercy, Malfunction and Seekers Of The Truth, all those songs I wrote and It’s The Limit. It’s just lies being put out there, just like his book. There’s no beef on my end I don’t give a fuck, this ain’t the main thing I do in life. I have every right to play as the Cro-Mags. If he wants to play as the Cro-Mags go ahead.
AFL: Would you ever entertain the thought of playing with Harley as the Cro-Mags?
JJ: I did that. I played with him in ´90 and 2000. I forgave the dude for ratting me out. I forgave the dude for robbing the band four or five times. Everything was Kool, the beef was over. Then he was talking shit behind my back and causing problems. After that I was like, never again, there’s no need.
AFL: Thanks for the interview, any last words?
JJ: Check out the new book it’s on PMA and will be out this summer. Later we will be touring the States.