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The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon
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The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  420 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
In his new autobiography, NYHC legend John "Bloodclot" Joseph recounts his hard times and spiritual redemption. A traumatic...see site for more info.
Paperback, 428 pages
Published December 23rd 2007 by PUNKHOuse (first published 2007)
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Aug 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Whoa, John Joseph! WHOA! A little insight into your own sexism/heterosexism would have vastly improved this memoir & helped me relate a bit more as a queer lady. Nevertheless, I deeply value folks telling their stories & doing so w/honesty. This memoir is like a free for all- his words just flow out of him & the intensity never falters. So, props for that. Now if I didn't feel like I was punched in the gut every time he talked about women &/or queer folks...
Johnny Kyritsis
Nov 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Yes he does often dip into political incorrectness but his story of growing up in New York City during the 1970s is genuinely interesting. More of a coming-of-age memoir than a rock memoir which is not a bad thing.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
With a childhood right out of Charles Dickens, John Joseph is a true survivor. I don’t know if it gets more harrowing: placed in a criminally negligent and abusive foster home, the young protagonist struggles to cope, paving the way for stints in various institutions and correctional facilities. When he wasn’t in a home of some sort he was homeless or squatting in New York City during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It’s a miracle he made it out alive.

John Joseph is a study in contradictions. At
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone.
Recommended to Thee_ron_clark by: Greg and Trish
Shelves: other-stuff
This book came highly recommended by some friends who said they could not put it down. As a punk rocker, I figured the stroy of one of the legendary bands might be an interesting read.

The story follows John Joseph (McGowan/ Bloodclot) from his early youth as a foster child into his life as a musician and writer. John describes his criminal activities throughout his life, his incarceration as a juvenile, his time spent in the Navy, his joining the Hare Krsnas, his singing for the Cro-Mags, and ma
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow.Scary stuff.Some of it is a "he said/he said" in regards to Harley Flanagan,who quit or got fired when and what not.Rough life and a survivor.
He wouldn't let his mom come to his shows,even though his band was doing good and she was proud of him.Ever seen the Cro-Mags? I wouldn't want my mom there.Cro-Mags shows were a literal blood bath.The kid with a mohawk got pummelled on the first note.Skinhead girls fighting.Four pits.Raybeez from Warzone guarding the stage.It was awesome,
He discusses h
Corey Schutzman
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
It started out really well, then devolved into a self righteous rant by someone who has screwed over everyone in his life and tried his best to hurt people and is apparently proud of it. I do not deal well with the citing of supposed scientific facts from a random, uneducated former street youth with no factual basis or reference. John Joseph, I lost a lot of respect for you and it tints your music for me.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yes, this is a lengthy book, but John does a great explaining everything that made him to be the way he is. Instead of the broad stroke of, "I was a stupid kid," he goes in very deep about his life.

You don't have to be a Cro-Mags fan to get something out of this. It's about life and struggle in the face of the dark side of life.
patrick q okane
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never give up!

There's a lot of hardships, a lot of laughs, and a lot of debauchery in JJ's memoir. I take away feelings of gratitude and fellowship from it. There's an urgency JJ delivers. He's asking us to pay it forward. Not money. Just knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. If you put good vibrations out, chances are you'll get 'em back.
Charles Werner
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Unbelievable and amazing story
Jamie Lewis
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing! A truly inspirational read.
Kathleen Hulser
Dec 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Hits the stage running and screaming, Cro-Mag autobio starts in high gear with walloping child abuse and kickass responses to the Neanderthal child welfare system. Learning to defend himself at an early age, he develops skills at dumpster diving, fridge-raiding, pint-size truculence, reform-school fisticuffs and other staples of the urban cave-child repertoire. And thus it was that the dear laddie whose only consolation was snarling music came to hardcore, AWOL from his Navy brig to slam dance a ...more
Mark R.
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book because I've been a Cro-Mags fan for a while and always found them somewhat fascinating, the exteremely influential New York hardcore band associated just as much with violence and agression as with Hare Krishna philosophies. Admittedly, when I got the book and saw how big it was, I found myself a little intimidated; John Joseph could definitely sing and write lyrics, but I had no idea if he could write an interesting four-hundred-plus page book.

What I found was that John c
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i've had a tough time finding a hard copy of this (outbid by £1 on ebay), so in the end had to surrender and get a free kindle reader for my iPhone and mac, just so i could finally read this. i have the audiobook (so great hearing john read it himself), but a lot is cut out of that so i was excited to finally have a copy of the book.

i couldn't put it down- it really is riveting and hooks you right in. i'm a sucker for new york city stories and it was so interesting to read about his experiences
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely crazy. It's just amazing that everything John Joseph went through, he came out of it and is doing amazing things with his life now.
This book takes you through his life starting with his f**ked up parents to his foster homes, to St. Johns then his life on the streets starting at age 14. And not just any streets, the streets of NYC in the early 80s. It was crazy to learn that when I was listening to Cro-Mags in the 80s, he was still squatting because he had to.
Some of the
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was an immensely entertaining, intense and at times tragic read. I love John Joseph's recounting of punk history before the gentrification of New York and the scene. His survival skills are something to admire, as is his positivity and refusal to be a victim despite everything he's been through. This book was a good reminder of the chauvinism in punk rock and in the Hare Krsnas, at times his heterosexism and sexism made me very uncomfortable, as did his insistence that he doesn't see r ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Having met John Joseph, I was very interested to read his full autobiography. He is such a survivor! Just when you think things are changing for the better, something happens and his life goes into another tailspin. It is a fascinating read and sure to inspire.

The only reason I didn't give it more than three stars is that I found it difficult to read some of his very politically incorrect opinions. I also found many typos and grammatical errors. With that warning, I encourage you to read this bo
Ivy Jeanne
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Holy Shit!
I listened to this on MP3 during Black Rainbow tour and it nearly broke my mind!
We pretty much only listened to John Joseph, John Wayne and The Frogs on tour.
Definitely a sick social experiment. It is read by John Joseph himself which is a plus.
Follow John Joseph to "The Deuce" selling fake acid with his buddies Bobby C. and Computer.
Follow him from his fucked up upbringing in the NYC foster care system to finding his guru HR and hardcore.
From knife fights in Alphabet City to Hare Kris
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
listened to audio book version read by John Joseph himself. Really raw and honest writing. to say this guy had a rough life is an understatement. this guy truly lived it. any fan of the CRO-MAGS or the history of new york punk will dig this one. only thing i didn't like about it was the preachy hare krishna passages. i liked it when he called out certain accolytes of this religion as brainwashed cultists but some of the chapters have a zealotry that i found annoying. that aside, definitely worth ...more
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
i bought this book awhile ago and could never finish it. i won't write a criticism on John Joseph here that is another discussion but the book itself was very very interesting and I think people who haven't even heard or listening to the cro-mags or that type of music in general will get a rise out of this book because of the many struggles and experiences JJ went through. I'm glad i finished it and it will def stay in my small collection of books at home.
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
great read. even though this was written by john joseph and is partly his memoirs from the cromags, i would recommend this to a person who has never listened to punk or hardcore music. its a great and inspirational story. this guy has lived an insane life and it really makes a great read. the only complaint i can see anyone having with this book is its hare krishna slant, but that really doesnt interfere with the intensity or inspiration of the story. a must read.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Despite the proselytizing for Hare Krishna, this book was awesome. The stories from growing up in wacked foster homes and living on the street as a teenager in New York were so enthralling. The fact that Joseph was AWOL from the Military the entire time he was touring with the Cro-Mags is incredible, and the rest of his wild life as a drug dealer, squatter, and scam artist make this book definitely worth reading.
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i finished this audiobook on two transcontinental flights. this is probably one of the best biographies in existence. this guy is a classic american bad ass. you dont need to be a fan of the cro-mags to enjoy this, i actually don't like them at all. if you are interested in old school new york city, the history of punk, dealing drugs, doing drugs, beating the shit out of people, man vs. society, etc - then this book is for you!
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
John Joseph wrote a great book that captures the early East Coast H.C. scene better than anything I have ever read. If you don't know about the Cro-Mags or New York Hardcore, this book can get you lost at times. The juvenile delinquency will interest a wider audience though. Fans of Juvi books and films (Over The Edge, etc.) will really enjoy this.
Bill Florio
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I find it hard to believe any punk memoir could beat this. No pun intended. Most importantly, the fact that he was in a band for a couple of years seems to be a very minor part of the book. Compared to everything else he was involved with it makes punk rock the most and least important aspect of everything in life, something I can definitely identify with.
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Consider yourself lucky that you NEVER had a childhood like John Joseph.
Even if you aren't into hardcore music, this book reeks of honesty, pain, violence, dreams shattered & realized.
A product of the mean streets of NYC back-in-the-day, John Joseph shares w/ us about 8 million of them.
Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it
I listened to them MP3s of JJ reading the book, so that sort of counts. I'm not a Cro-Mags fan and didn't care about the band stories, but the earlier stuff about JJ's brutal and horrible childhood and later his time as a petty criminal in NYC were pretty engaging. Aside from the Krsna shit and the peripheral homophobia, JJ's a fine storyteller even if he repeats a lot of the same clichés.
Sep 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is like that friend who has a story for everything. You say "paperclip", he says "Time square. Public bathroom. 1982..." It's packed with great tales about 70's, 80's NYC. Unfortunately, you do have to wade through some Krishna and brown rice promotion, but it's well worth it.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: punk-books
New York Hardcore is about oral history, gossip, and conjecture. A lot of times, the truth of the story isn't as important as the story that's told. I don't know if John Joseph's story is completely true, but it is a captivating one.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
The former Cro-Mags frontman recounts a life in the LES.

AWESOME. the stories are great... painted a vivid picture of nyc in the late 1970's and 1980s... for a transplant like me, i like reading about cities.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenny by: joe
told by an amazing storyteller; john's history is unbelievable. no wonder he screams and thrashes people, hustles and gets fucked up. he has a warmth even when he's punching someone in the head...repeatedly.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Joseph McGowan (a.k.a. John Joseph) is a punk rock singer from New York City, most famous for his work with the Cro-Mags in the 1980s.

Joseph was raised in foster care and grew up on the streets of New York. He was the lead singer for the New York hardcore punk band Cro-Mags from 1984 until 1987, though he d
More about John Joseph...