Login to Rate The black-and-white photo on the cover is both menacing and contemplative. To others, the lined face and strong hands show a spiritual strength to match the brawn. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the various sides of John Joseph: thug; criminal; street urchin; punk rocker; Cro-Mag; Krsna devotee. The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon starts with a bang, not a whimper. The reader is immediately sucked into a world where family abuse, drugs, and crime rule.
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Podcast: Play in new window Download In his autobiography, John recounts his hard times and spiritual redemption. Before fronting one of the most important bands in the underground punk scene, the Cro-Mags, as well as Bloodclot, John faced homelessness, addiction, betrayal and insanity.
The book is a raw and unapologetic autobiography about his life. Consider yourself warned. The events mentioned may or may not coincide with your life but the symptoms and remedies would surely do. The placid demonstration of truth presents an unmasked picture of his life. I want to show others that no matter what they are going through in life, they have to never quit and never surrender.
If you are willing to fight through it, you can get through anything. He also has many other projects in the works including books, films and TV projects. Transcription: Caryn: Hello everybody! Hello everybody! We have got one great show for you. Very blue! A traumatic childhood that is a gentle way to put your story, John. John: Thank you for having me back. Caryn: I wanted to say- my birthday is this Saturday.
I want to talk a bit about that because we were growing up in the same scene in some of the same places. When I read your book, it brought back memories. Your book is- there are no words. I was just heartbroken for the whole scene that we live in a world that is so cruel. John: Yeah. That was it. They fed us the same food as they did the dog at the same time to show us where we fell on the food chain and how insignificant…I mean, the whole time we were there- almost 7 years, they tried to make us feel insignificant and worthless.
Caryn: I remember you wrote about Pilgrim State. John: Yeah, Pilgrim State! People wonder how come kids keep quiet. They put the fear of God into you. The other thing was- my mother was suicidal. We went home on one visit and she tried to cut her wrists and take a bunch of pills and we had to call my uncle because we asked when we were coming home. She flipped out. My brother came up with the idea to just write down everything that they did to us.
When we finally left that home, the social worker broke down crying. You do that as a result because human instinct is to survive.
So, whatever we had to do to eat- and there are humorous moments in the book. We were stealing. We found out where they kept the money. Clothing we had to just wear stuff until it fell off.
Then go back to the poor box and pick out more clothes. They never bought us clothes. We never got clothes the entire time we were there. We were never allowed in the refrigerator the entire time we were there. They kept us in a garage sleeping on cots and this dirty den and we had to sit out in the patio in the freezing cold. So it was a lot of stuff to deal with, but it was the humor that got us through and then the fact that we were able to start getting over on them.
But, even when we stole money from them, we basically ate just enough but we always bought my mother gifts. Thinking like if we buy her this…we bought her art and I stole a fish tank one time out of a damn aquarium like a gallon fish tank- running down the street with it- because she said she wanted a fish tank and it was calming. Caryn: And ultimately you were there for him and his demise later on. John: You see that? Because that was the arc of the growth.
Caryn: Your mother did terrible things but you now understand why and what she was going through. Even that moment was so powerful because I just kept hurling hurtful things at her because she let that man move into the house. When her husband gambled the house away behind her back and he was a recovering alcoholic, he was in AA.
He became a gambling addict and gambled the house away. He was hitting her and had I would have known that I would have beat the crap out of him after what my father did to my mother. She never told us and then when they went to get divorced, she had nothing because he gambled away the house. Then I was doing good at the time, I signed a record deal and all this other stuff. I go and I get her an apartment. I mean, she left with nothing. Like, her clothes in boxes. I had to buy her furniture, a TV, get her an apartment- all of that.
Then when he passed away from cancer, he sat on my stoop- he was a big guy- he worked for Con Ed, he was one of these burly Con Ed dudes- he was down to about pounds, dying of cancer. My mother never put him in hospice, she took care of him. This was right before he went into the hospital, maybe a week before. He sat on my stoop with tears in his eyes and asked me to forgive him. And I did. Then when he was in the hospital I went and put holy water on him and played all this stuff to help him transition to the next life.
Caryn: You had your little radio. John: On a little radio. I think it was BAI or something right? I listened to him on this little transistor radio. No windows, no plumbing, dangerous gang dudes trying to come in a take the building from us and by candle light. I sat there taking notes from the stuff I learned from Gary Null. Thankfully I found a healthy way to eat. I always thought the food was going to run out and I would over eat and all of this stuff. John: Organic. Caryn: Organic. John: I got three letters for you, and I tattooed them on my leg.
Positive Mental Attitude. At the time I came out of jail- because if we fast-forward I was on the streets for almost 2 years. Then I got incarcerated, I was in some of the worst places a juvenile at 16 could go. Then I went upstate for 18 months, 3 months in Spofford, got stabbed in Spofford- fighting everyday.
Upstate in Lincolndale and then I came out and I got arrested again and at the time my mother had been seeing or dating this Navy recruiter and offered me the Navy as opposed to possibly facing more jail time. So we took the Navy. He got in trouble again. My brother was locked up with me in the same place. We were both on the street. Because at a certain we said, you know what? We went down this road and we tried to let New York State handle our business and take care of us and they failed miserably.
Because they never investigated that home, then they put us in these crazy boys homes, and all these other messed up families. Except for the McGallens who were cool in Garden City. But at that point we were damaged goods, so they got rid of us quick. So then we just said you know what? Caryn: Yeah I remember you writing about that. After coming out of lock up and getting re-arrested, I took the Navy. I went to boot camp- we were at Fort Hamilton ready to ship out January 3, and my brother said, hey I know a place right down the block that sells angel dust.
We went and bought; I think it was 4 or 5 bags of angel dust. We went to boot camp dusted on angel dust. I went on an airplane high on angel dust and then went to boot camp and woke up and was like, what the hell where am I?
But I was in great shape because when I was locked up I boxed, I lifted weights. In lockup, one of the terms they say is you got to get your weight up.
The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon
Nov 13, Johnny Kyritsis rated it liked it Yes he does often dip into political incorrectness but his story of growing up in New York City during the s is genuinely interesting. More of a coming-of-age memoir than a rock memoir which is not a bad thing. I take away feelings of gratitude and fellowship from it. Not money. Just knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Oct 27, Kyle Stevens rated it it was amazing All in all, this book has been an extremely interesting read. Its honest, brutal, eye-opening and tragic.