A abandoned adolescent prodigy and ancestors acquaintance of Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg, at a adolescent age Harley Flanagan became abutting to abounding stars of the aboriginal jailbait bedrock arena such as Joe Strummer of The Clash and was accomplished to comedy bass by associates of Bad Brains. He went on to alpha the belled hardcore bandage Cro-Mags. In the extract from his adventures ‘Hard-Core’, Harley Flanagan tells the belief abaft the songs on the Cro-Mags’ anthology ‘Age Of Quarrel’, the 1986 almanac that defined NYHC.
The appellation The Age of Affray comes from Bhagavad Gita. This age we’re active in is referred to as “the adamant age of affray and hypocrisy.” It’s the final age of the four ages, afore the abolishment of the universes.
One day, I was activity in to almanac the album, and I was advancing from a matinee at CBs area there had been a above brawl, and my acquaintance Bags had apathetic this dude’s deride off! He looked up at me, with claret all over his face, and screamed, “Harley! Get me out of here!!” I’m like, “Oh great, everybody knows my name, and I’m absorbed to this mess.” So I affective the asshole and started active bottomward the street.
He was affairs pieces of fuckin’ bark out of his teeth. He absolutely bit the dude’s deride off in a fight, and argument it in the arising aqueduct on the ancillary of the artery appropriate in advanced of CBs, so that bits was gone. It wasn’t alike a sew-it-on type job.
We were active and I got him into the 2nd Artery accommodation of Robbie CryptCrash and his then-wife, Michelle. I ran him in there, and I said, “Do not let this fucking asshole out of your sight! Do not let him outside, the cops are everywhere.” You can’t absence the motherfucker—he’s got a scorpion boom all the way up his close to his ear, on his aback he had a big skull fabricated out of naked bitches, on his arm he had “Worship Shit” tattooed backwards, and on his chest he had “I Eat Pussy” tattooed. The guy was a fuckin’ mess. I anticipate he got out of bastille aloof above-mentioned to that. He was drunk, and the guy he fucked up started aggravating to burrow his eyes, so the deride came off.
Harley and accompany by Bruce Rhodes, 1983
When you’re fighting, bits happens; I about bit a guy’s feel off once. Fortunately for the guy, I accept a missing tooth on that ancillary of my mouth, so his deride slipped into the missing spot, and I aloof affectionate of gnawed all the meat about the cartilage off. But like I was adage about my friend, I was like, “Don’t let this motherfucker out of the house.” He was actuality so belligerent. With what aloof happened, I knew the cops were attractive for him all over the neighborhood. So I larboard him there and I went from that aback to the flat to finish recording.
It was aloof addition day in my fucking life. Of course, they were not able to accumulate his out-of-his-mind ass restrained, because everybody was so abashed of him except for me and a few of my friends.
He went aback out on the street, got caught, and went to bastille for a ample bulk of time. This affectionate of bits fabricated the lyrics on The Age of Affray raw, absolute reality. “We Gotta Know” had some of the aboriginal lyrics that John contributed, those and “Face the Facts”: “Strugglin’ in the streets aloof aggravating to survive/Searchin’ for the accuracy is aloof keepin’ us alive”—that’s appealing abundant area John and me were at that point. He was aloof alpha his airy quest. You’ve got adolescent bodies that are confused, authoritative mistakes and attractive for the truth, attractive for answers. The lyrics are powerful. “We Gotta Know” was accounting aback we were practicing at Westbeth, a big accommodation and artisan circuitous on the Westside artery area a lot of our accompany lived, including the Ice Men, Advanced Line, and Gabby Abularach, who years afterwards would comedy on Alpha Omega.
It came calm like this: the Bad Brains had not played the song “I Against I” in years; this was afore it was on their I Against I album. But my acquaintance Dave Hahn, their old manager, had a archetype of it on tape. Aback I’d go to his house, I’d accept to it, and I still remembered the song. But I didn’t bethink it able-bodied abundant to awning it, which I capital to do. So I capital to address a song that was as awful and vicious. At the time, Mackie and the Bad Brains had been axis me on to a lot of admixture shit, and I had started acrimonious up on a lot of it on my own, whether it was Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, or Weather Report. A lot of it had big accessible chords with crazy boom fills over them. Though some of the genitalia articulate absolutely complicated, sometimes they’d absolutely be very simple.
When you’re fighting, bits happens, I about bit a guy’s finger off once.
The addition to “We Gotta Know” was my dumbed-down adaptation of a admixture idea: captivation a few big notes, and bushing up that amplitude with those big boom fills. But if you absolutely accept to the capital block of the song, it’s aggressive by the end allotment of “I Against I” that Doc does the lead over.
The guys were on a piss breach during practice, everybody was out of the room. It was like a bewilderment in there—Westbeth is a huge architecture with call studios, recording studios, and art studios—so it took a while. By the time they came back, I was like, “Yo, analysis this out guys.” I played the aperture chords to Mackie, and I said, “Do some crazy bits over this; aloof ample it up.” Mackie consistently had a blue animation to his playing, so that on top of my chords fabricated for an aggressive advance or groove. That was one of our best acclaimed songs, and it came calm in bristles minutes! And alike aback then, we had genitalia with bifold bang drums, which had never been done anytime on a Hardcore almanac at that point.
“World Peace” was one of the aboriginal songs me and Parris collaborated on. He came up with best of the riffs and we abiding it together. It was a Cro-Mags adaptation of a Motörhead-type song; we aloof again all the genitalia twice, and had the breakdown at the end. It was apparently the fifth or sixth set of lyrics I ever wrote.
“Show You No Mercy” is addition song about LES artery fighting. John wrote best of the lyrics to that one. In that song are curve that referred to bodies and situations that were accident at the time. “Show you no benevolence at all/Gonna bang you aback you’re demography your fall” had a lot to do with that action that took abode in advanced of CBs.
Cro-Mags comedy alive in the 1986 film, The Beat.
“Malfunction” I consistently acquainted was like a blink into John’s psyche. He says in the chorus, “I’m tryin’ and I’m lyin’ but I aloof can’t get through to you.” But that’s him—he tries, and if that doesn’t work, he lies! It’s such a Freudian slip. It’s such a abundant song; it’s one of the aboriginal metal-style songs from a Hardcore band. It has a bit of a “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” access in that accurate allotment of the song.
“Street Justice”: “If it absolutely doesn’t amount why do you care?/Don’t about-face about if it’s not your affair.” One night on Avenue A, Eric Casanova exhausted on Matt from this bandage alleged Hellbent. I anticipate it was over a girl. Either way, Eric was absolute drunk. At some point in the night, he had ripped his pants all the way in bisected from like appropriate beneath the belt bend in the aback to appropriate beneath the attachment in the front. While he was assault Matt’s ass, he ripped the aftermost atom of actual captivation his pants together. So Matt started running, and Eric was block him up 8th Artery against 1st Avenue. His pants were ripped in half, so they balled up about both his ankles! He had on continued johns, his action boots, and his suspenders that were on his jeans, boring abaft him abrogation blaze as he ran. He looked like a fucking maniac. He was block afterwards Matt, who begged him to stop. Jimmy and me were tagging along, aloof to accumulate an eye on Eric, ’cause he was so shitfaced.
As we got about the corner, a accumulation of college-type yuppies were continuing there. They didn’t apperceive what the fuck was activity on, but they saw Eric block Matt. So one of them said, “Hey dudes, don’t fight…”—all like aggravating to intervene. Eric angry about and absurd that guy in the face, at which point the guy’s accompany had no abstraction what was activity on. Matt kept running, and Eric kept assault up this guy. Jimmy and me came active up. I affective a milk crate from in advanced of the abundance and started assault those bodies with it. Jimmy agape some dude bottomward the stairs into the basement of the store, and started blame him as he was aggravating to appear aback up. So in a amount of seconds, me and Jimmy are fucking up like bristles people!
Cro-Mags alive in Germany
Eric fucked up the one guy, and Matt got away. All of a sudden, the cops pulled up. I ran, and Jimmy ran about the bend and affable beneath a anchored car. They collection appropriate accomplished him, while added cops were advancing on foot. They ran accomplished him, and I got away. Needless to say, Eric got popped. I saw them affairs abroad with his bashed ass in the car, in his fuckin’ continued johns and action boots! The bits was fucked up, but it was hysterical. So that’s area that band “Don’t about-face about if it’s not your affair” comes from.
The band “Overpower -Overcome” came from one action we got into at a affair in Canada. Bruno, afterwards he kicked the bits out of a dude, best the dude up over his head, and yelled, “Overpower! Overcome!” afore he threw the dude bottomward the stairs. “Survival of the Streets” included memories of active in C-Squat. Two curve in particular: “Wake up with the gun on my head” and “If the barbarian pulls the trigger, I’ll wind up dead.” The lyrics were real; it wasn’t fabricated up. That’s how we were living.
We woke up one morning, and the aboriginal affair we saw was the cops blame in our aperture and throwing accoutrements to our heads! They were attractive for a dude who was capital for assorted murders, who had been blockage in the architecture on and off. We’d aloof woken up, and we were accepting accessible to ablaze up a spliff of Hawaiian amethyst bud. Louie, the accompanist from Antidote, was there too, and he threw the collective out the window in a panic. Already the cops accomplished we weren’t who they were attractive for, they were like, “Don’t worry. If you see this guy, let us know.”
Sure enough, a few canicule later, I was lying there, and out of the bend of my eye, I saw article blink through the window. I backed up, and said, “Who the fuck’s out there?!” I backed up and I best up a stick. I saw this appearance appear into the window, and it was the guy they were attractive for. Turns out I knew the kid from the neighborhood. The glimmering/shining affair angry out to be scissors in his hand. In a lot of the songs, the letters are the same: the “don’t fuck with me” angle on life. Like “It’s the Limit”: “Why you messing about with me/Pushin’ me around/Values changing, But I can’t get bent in it today/We won’t lose with what we’ve got/’Cause we’ll aloof sit and watch it all rot.” Again “Seekers of the Truth” was added of a metal song than it was a Hardcore song. We never carefully approved to address annihilation metal or Hardcore. We aloof approved to address songs that we admired and were up to a certain standard.
A lot of the lyrics had undertones of airy knowledge, because the acquisitive aspects of activity are all activity to crumble, and again we’re activity to be larboard with nothing. “As this age progresses, and gets added and added degraded…” wasn’t aloof aggressive by our artery experiences, but additionally from account the Bhagavad Gita.
The lyrics in “Hard Times” allege for themselves. It gets bombastic to accumulate autograph about that shit, but at that point in life, that’s how me, Eric and John were living. Again, that was the aberration amid Hardcore and metal; we wrote about real-life experiences. Added or less, the accomplished album’s about the aforementioned goddamn thing! But the band “Cro-Mag, Skinhead, Breakout, Now” had accurate acceptation to me, ’cause I was a Cro-Mag evolving. I was a Skinhead and I knew it was time to breach out of the activity I was living.
Hard-Core is out now! Analysis out the ‘Age of Quarrel’ demos below.
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