Custom Search

Go Back   Punk Forum - > PUNK NEWS
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-28-2011, 08:47 PM
StevieB's Avatar
StevieB StevieB is offline
JESUS's Sibling
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,762
Default The History Of Art, Crime, Drugs And Punk Rock On The Lower East Side

Ex-con, ex-drug addict, and frontman for the legendary Cro-Mags, John Joseph was exposed to the harsh realities of the Lower East Side during the late '70s and '80s and lived to tell about it.

The punk rock singer now gives a candid three-hour walking tour of Alphabet City and takes you beyond the trendy upscale boutiques, coffee shops and condominiums that you see now, to the great music, drugs and violence that used to inhabit the surrounding area.

Life for John was anything but easy. “I never experienced peace in my life, it was always chaos,” John explains. With an abusive and alcoholic father, John was placed in foster care at a very young age. By the age of twelve, John had had enough of the system and decided he would reside on the dangerous streets of New York. “I was in a foster home in '75-'76 and I couldn’t take it anymore. I went out on the streets and that was it.”

It was not long before he was introduced to the drug and crime world of the Lower East Side and at fourteen he was arrested. After spending two years in the worst juvenile prisons in NY State, Spafford and Lincolndale, John helped form the New York hardcore punk band Cro-Mags in 1984.

Almost thirty years later, the one time squatter of the Lower East Side shares the culture and the significance of the area that has been lost in the recent years with the gentrification of the city. “I refuse to call it the Village” John says. “It’s either Alphabet City or Lower East Side.”

Looking at the trendy shops and sushi restaurants it is hard to believe that the Bowery was one of the most dangerous areas of New York. The saying during the 1980s was “Stay in school or you’ll end up in the Bowery.” John jokes that it was the only place a person could get robbed twice in one day. Salvation Armys, Hells Angel Clubhouses, winos, punk clubs, gang hangouts and drug spots occupied the LES during the 1980s.

John’s recollection of what took place during his years spent living in the LES is remarkable. He shares his anecdotes and funny stores of the crazy things that he’s seen go down. Everything from living below a murderer (The Alphabet City Butcher Daniel Rakowitz), scuffling with the Guardian of St. Marks Ave John Spacely, (whom the big rock stars came to cop from when in NYC) to witnessing the Tompkins Square Police Riot is perfectly portrayed. He takes you to the famous CBGB’s location where The Ramones and so many other legendary punk bands started, the Electric Circus where the likes of Bad Brains, Crass and so many others jammed, Max’s Kansas City and so much more.

Throughout his crazy and hectic life, John was able to find the time to detail his infamous life in his 2008 autobiography, “The Evolution Of A Cro-Magnon,” as well as write a guide to healthy living titled, “Meat is for Pussies” (John is a dedicated vegan).

Immersed in the danger and growing up on the streets of NYC since the age of fourteen, John gives a first hand account of the punk rock and crime that so many people don’t know about.

What more could you ask for in a tour guide?

Read more:
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2011, 08:59 PM
Adam Rebelius's Avatar
Adam Rebelius Adam Rebelius is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 21,168

As someone who used to hang out on the L.E.S. every time I visited my grand mother, I'd like to compare notes with him.
I may be old, but I saw all the cool bands!
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2011, 10:18 PM
Rex Kuntz's Avatar
Rex Kuntz Rex Kuntz is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 863

Ramones Forever.
The Guitarist Formerly Known as Rex
Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 07:35 AM
Little Satan
Posts: n/a

Aint it easier to write a book or has he?
Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2011, 07:36 AM
Little Satan
Posts: n/a

He did!
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.