Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Book Review: Evolution of A Cro-magnon

here's a good example of my shitty posting skills...I read Evolution of a Cro-magnon a few months ago (ordered the actual book after downloading some of the audio)...and I have this long ass review:

I didn't choose hardcore and punk, it chose me...

Recently, I downloaded an audio excerpt of the book "Evolution of the CRO-MAGnon man" by John Joseph McGowan.

Its an autobiography, and if you don't know who John Joseph "bloodclot" is, he used to be the lead singer of the seminal New York Hardcore band the Cro-Mags (arguably one of the best NY bands ever formed), and is now the lead singer of bloodclot - go figure.

To be sure, I didn't know much about john joseph personally or the rest of the cro-mags story. When I was in high school up I always had a copy of their album "age of quarrel" and know some of the basic stuff about the band: they got into hare krishna stuff in the mid-to-late 80's the way some other NY bands did, the bass player, harley flannigan and john joseph hate each other for some reason, the new york hardcore scene was awesome, someday I'm going to CBGB's (something that I never got to do...although I received a phone call from there once...), etc...so the book was enlightening as to the band's history, and maybe more so, to John Joseph’s personal history.

John Joseph reveals his early life, how fucked up it was, going from foster home to foster home, joining the navy, going AWOL, doing every kind of drug possible, and generally not caring until he found a outlet and something to give a shit about; his personal spirituality, and punk/hardcore/underground music. A dramatic life, I can't relate personally to what he endured. amazing shit.

The real thing I enjoyed was his descriptions of the hardcore and punk scene's...Personally I could listen to old school punkers and hardcore guys talk about the scene in the mid 80’s to mid 90’s all day long. John Joseph gives some awesome accounts of Ban Brain’s early shows, being stave-dived on, skankin’, creepy crawlin’, going to shows, and just plain old being punk.

He gives awesome descriptions of the state of the hardcore punk scene in the 80's, including an awesome story about the legendary "fear appears on saturday night live and Ian MacKaye yells "fuck new york" on live national TV. ha, Awesome.

He talks about who the old school punk and hardcore kids were:

“…back then, most were individuals, most where unique, some where downright just outta their fucking minds. But a lot of them were serious thinkers who just thought out of the box. And if it wasn’t for punk and hardcore, they’d be fucked, because society wanted nothing to do with them.”

And he talks at length about punk and hardcore: the music, the scene that supports it, the people, and the attitude:

“…There’s something in my nature that forces me even at 44 years of age to go against the grain, to stay under the radar, to rebel and start shit, keep fuckers on their toes and thinkin’….because fallin’ in line is just plain suicide.

I didn’t chose punk and hardcore, it chose me, and for whatever reason I know this: It ain’t about fashion, or even the music for that matter, it’s a state of consciousness, and once you realize that, There’s no way you can ever sellout.”

It sounds kinda ridiculous to people who didn’t immerse themselves into this scene and to compare your personal philosophies of life with a youth culture, but I agree with John Joseph. The underground punk and hardcore scene tends to draw certain types of people; even people who on the outside look very different, but on the inside share similar ideas. The more involved you become in it, especially when you are young, the more it will influence how you think for the rest of your life.

Personally, I would still like to tell myself that I have this same mentality. That I’ve never “sold out” or “given up”: That I approach life with the energy, skepticism, passion, responsiveness, and the pure vulgarity expressed and valued in the punk and hardcore scene. Fuckin'shit.

Of Course, I’m writing this in an office on a laptop computer while I sip coffee. The difference is, I’ll be the guy blasting all flavors of punk/hardcore on my jobsite, and pushing my coworkers, and yelling at fuckers that pull divining rods out.

To: Mr. John Joseph…my personal experience was different from yours, but if you remember back to those shows that were so important to you, and you look at all those other kids in the crowd, I was that one guy, third from the left, next to the monitors. I’m just like all these other hardcore kids. Never sold out, and I still give a fuck.

Great book, read it!


Sarah said...

Huh, Joseph John likes John Joseph. Who would have thought??

And, CBGB's is no more. Died i think a few years back. Donefor.

Creepy crawling? Fuck, i used to try to get you to do that kind of punk shit with me when we were little. You would shit your pants at the THOUGHT of doing stuff with me.

So, after your read. Whose more punk now? ME?? or You??

Joe said...

I just shit my pants, and I'm at work....so I guess I would say that it'd be me whose more punk.

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