Harley Flanagan at Ieperfest
Harley Flanagan at Ieperfest
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Harley Flanagan suing CRO-MAGS for using the name without permission

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The New York Post has reported that Harley Flanagan, founder and former bassist of the legendary New York hardcore band CRO-MAGS, is suing John Joseph and Maxwell Jason, members of the current incarnation of the band, for the illegal use of the name CRO-MAGS.

Harley Flanagan says the punk band Cro-Mags was his idea and his alone when he formed it back in 1981.

But around 2002, other members — including singer John Joseph McGowen — took over the band and used the Cro-Mags name without his permission, Flanagan says in the suit.

At the time, “Flanagan’s first son was about to be born … and Flanagan had to stop touring to help with the baby,” the lawsuit claimed.

After that, the band went on without him and is now in the midst of a world tour that heads to the UK, Germany and France in June.

Flanagan is suing 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.

The lawsuit doesn’t make mention of a notorious 2012 incident at Webster Hall where he attacked two of the group’s members with a hunting knife, cancelling the show and sending victims William Berario and Michael Couls to Bellevue Hospital to be stitched up.

“They think they’re going to play my f–-king music that I helped write?” the bassist growled ahead of the backstage brawl, The Post reported at the time. / GO HERE to see the original feature.

Harley commented:

A lot of people are going to be talking a lot of crap about me because I’m finally taking John Joseph AKA John McGowan and Maxwell Jason to court over their violation of us trademark laws and the theft of my name Cro-Mags. Before any of you rush to judgement or open your mouth think about this: I have been attempting to reach out to all of them for years to see what I could do to try to put the band back together. John and Macki have always been unwilling to do so. This is the name I came up with, and songs I wrote.

Not only am I the only person who has appeared on every single Cro-Mags album but I am the only person who has written or co-written every single song and every single set of lyrics. I came up with Cro-Mags before John, Mackey, Parris or Doug were even players; this is been well-documented.

Although I have tried for years to stop the Faux-Mags playing under the name Cro-Mags (I have sent numerous cease-and-desist letters to the players, to the clubs and to the retailers selling bootleg Cro-Mags merchandise), all the while I have maintained my willingness to negotiate with all the Age of Quarrel line-up members, so everyone could benefit; even though they have been violating my trademarks.

Picture someone stealing your work and going out and selling it as theirs, stealing food off of your children’s table and money out of their pockets.

All of the efforts I have made to stop them from misuse of the trademark or negotiate some sort of settlement have been shut down, so I am forced to go the legal route. I have always been willing to negotiate and I still am, but I am not willing to get ripped off anymore.

I hope you all can understand my position.

Harley’s upcoming live schedule can be seen below:

Harley Flanagan live

CRO-MAGS are on tour in Europe with MODERN LIFE IS WAR this June. GO HERE to see the details.

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