According to the New York Post, Harley Flanagan, who founded the legendary hardcore band the CRO-MAGS at the age of 14 and toured with them for some 20 years, is suing members of the group for allegedly using the CRO-MAGS name without his permission.
Claiming that CRO-MAGS was his idea when he formed it back in 1981, Flanagan has filed a lawsuit against the current lineup of the group — including singer John Joseph McGowen — in part for copyright infringement, saying he trademarked the "Cro-Mag" name for recording in 2010 and for merchandise in 2009 and then again in 2017.
Harley claims in the lawsuit that the other members of the CRO-MAGS took over the band around 2002 when "Flanagan's first son was about to be born… and Flanagan had to stop touring to help with the baby."
The CRO-MAGS have been touring sporadically ever since and are scheduled to play in Europe in June.
In July 2012, Flanagan was arrested in New York City on charges of attacking several members of the CRO-MAGS 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.
At the time, Joseph told the New York Post he and Flanagan started the band together in the early '80s, but Flanagan continually takes all the credit for himself. Joseph claimed the situation got so bad, Flanagan pocketed every cent from their 1986 tour. "That caused me to lose my apartment and be homeless in 1987," John said. "I lived hand to mouth."
In a separate interview with The New York Times, Joseph said that Flanagan "has been a negative thorn in the side of this band forever."
Less than two years ago, Harley told Straight & Alert that he "would love to make peace with all" of his former bandmates in the CRO-MAGS. "But I don't think they are ready or able yet," he said. "But I would do it. I have put it out there and I want that to be known. But in all honesty, I really care less and less about it every day. I would do a show, to make the fans happy. I'd record a album, 'cause I think we could do a great one and I think it's a shame that we only ever recorded the one record, 'The Age Of Quarrel', as a group. I would be happy to share the stage with them one last time. But, honestly, none of them are people I really want in my life at this point. I am in a great place in my life and I don't really want to bring any negativity or any of those guys back into my life. A show would be great, and for the fans I would do it. A record would be great. I write songs every day; that's never a problem. And I would even love to play with them, all of them again, even if it was just in a rehearsal studio together in front of no one just to do it. But it's all good. I'm not holding my breath."
Photo courtesy of "The New York Hardcore Chronicles Film"