CRO-MAGS frontman Harley Flanagan has once again blasted the upcoming reissue of the band's 1986 debut album, "The Age Of Quarrel", saying that he and the other musicians who appear on the LP "have never gotten" any royalties since the record's original release.
Last month, it was announced that "The Age Of Quarrel", will be re-released as part of this year's Record Store Day Drops, set for June 12 and July 17 at independent record stores nationwide.
Coming on July 17 via Rock Hotel/Astor Place is a vinyl version of "The Age Of Quarrel", limited to 3,600 copies, featuring all 15 songs from the original LP, which was released on then-independent Profile Records in September 1986. It was subsequently re-released by Another Planet in 1994, along with CRO-MAGS' second album, 1989's "Best Wishes", on the same disc.
In a recent interview with Goldmine, Flanagan stated about "The Age Of Quarrel" reissue: "Not only are we not getting anything, and have never gotten anything off the record, not even 'Best Wishes' for that matter, but we found out about this release the same way as everybody else. I found out from a friend of mine at a record store, which is even more outrageous as far as I'm concerned. I mean, all of us are very much alive and present and all over social media and I've been trying for years to get those records reissued."
He continued: "I'm in the process right now of trying to sort this out, and if it gets sorted out, if it gets resolved, I can let you know that I will make that announcement the same way I made this announcement. I will make it very known.
"The CRO-MAGS were never asked if the record could come out again, and no one asked or called us about it. It is also important that people understand what we were dealing with when we signed our contract. I was 18 years old and I was living for the most part in squats and stuff like that. I had no money or people looking out for my best interests. I was not represented by an attorney. We did not have counsel, so you're talking about a bunch of young kids who, basically, were surviving hand to mouth, day to day. We literally were stealing food from stores and shit like that. I was just excited. I was actually going to have a record out. Something I could actually hold in my hands and look at and say, Wow, look, mom. I have an album out.'"
Harley added: "The fact is we never got paid shit and we never got any accounting for anything and were not even represented by counsel. The whole thing is fucking criminal, but the way I see it is right now what they're doing is wrong. But if we can come to some sort of an agreement and get the band paid, I would be very happy to get the record out again, whether with Rock Hotel or anybody. I would be thrilled if they came out. We're talking about two records that are pretty much — arguably some people would say — classic game-changing, even historic records. I remember seeing them up online for sale for close to $1,000 and shit like that.
"We were just starving artists. I mean, there was literally times during those 35 years from when the record first came out where I was starving. Where I literally was on the street living like a hustler and, you know, all of us went through hard times over those 35 years at different points and the fact that these records were not even available and that people wanted them that badly, that they would pay a thousand dollars for a hardcore record. The whole thing is pretty fucking mind-boggling, and then I was literally on the street when I learned that it was coming out. I literally picked that up at a record store. The sales guy tells me that it sounds like the greatest hardcore record in history is coming out again. I said, 'What are you talking about?' I am not just fighting for myself. I am fighting for the band.
"If things go as planned, or as I hope it, my goal that everybody in the band should be paid for their participation. If everything works out like I hope it does, in the not-too-distant future, everybody will get paid for those records and that chapter of the 'Quarrel' will finally be resolved. In the meantime, I'm still very busy. I put out two records in 2020. Unfortunately, I had a lot of shows booked all over Europe and Japan and while were trying to reschedule them, no one is sure of the status moving forward and what is actually going to be happening. I have recorded 16 new songs as of now. My point is I am always staying busy.
"If we were able to get 'The Age Of Quarrel' out, I would personally be overjoyed. If I was able to wrangle all those idiots up onstage, just honor that and give the fans one show or even a few shows just to honor it and really put the bullshit behind, and then just kind of reward all of us the way we should have gotten. I'm not trying to live in a time bubble either. What I have been doing is very much alive and moving forward, but I would do something with open arms and be happy, just because that version of the band never got rewarded for there work in that era, and that was a game-changing era, as far as I'm concerned, for music."
CRO-MAGS' latest EP, "2020", received a digital release in March. The record itself is unintentionally 20 minutes and 20 seconds, and plays out more like a time-capsule look into the dumpster fire known as the year 2020.
CRO-MAGS feature 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 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 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.
In 2019, Flanagan 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".