Harley Flanagan, who founded the legendary hardcore band the CRO-MAGS at the age of 14 and toured with the band for some twenty years, was arrested in New York City on July 6 on charges of attacking several members of the new CRO-MAGS lineup during the CBGB Festival. Flanagan, who had been a panelist at one of the event's seminars, allegedly attempted to attend the concert of his former band. Neither Harley Flanagan nor Parris Mayhew, the two founding members of the band, is still in the CRO-MAGS.
According to news reports, William Berario, 45, was slashed above the eye and bitten on his cheek, and Michael "The Gook" Couls, 33, was cut on his arm and stomach during the incident, which happened around 8:30 p.m. Flanagan was seen in photographs posted on BoweryBoogie.com being wheeled from the venue by EMTs. He was reportedly taken to Bellevue Hospital to be treated for a broken leg and was charged with second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
New York Natives sat down with Flanagan for an exclusive interview about the events of July 6.
According to Harley, he was invited to the Webster Hall gig and had a VIP pass which he used to enter the venue. He says he went there with "the best of intentions" hoping to mend years of bickering and make the fans happy. After he was invited to the backstage dressing room, he says that instead of being welcomed, as he expected to be, he was jumped by a group of men.
"When I saw that door get pulled shut, I was literally fighting for my life," Harley said. "I was afraid these guys were going to kick me half to death, roll me down the back steps and that no one would see it... and there would be no witnesses and that would be that....and all I could think about was getting home safe to my kids... I wanted to save my life, to protect myself and these guys were trying to do me in.
He added, "I was getting the shit beat out of me. It was like an old-fashioned biker beatdown. . . And at that point everybody started screaming and I saw the door of the dressing room open and I started screaming, 'Security, security,' and I saw somebody pull the door shut to keep security out. And in my mind, I thought to myself, 'Fuck, these dudes, their intention is to fuck me up, they don't want no one to see it they're trying to beat the shit out of me... So what I did was defend my life.
He continued, "I'm getting the shit beat out of me. Then at that point that's when the bouncers managed to get in the room and I ended up getting dragged out into the balcony area, which is where everybody says the mêlée took place but no the mêlée took place in the dressing room behind a locked door where I was getting jumped people by myself."
Read the rest of Harley's account, and check out exclusive photos, at New York Natives.