John Joseph – Meat Is For Pussies
Few people started out in an environment as unforgiving as hardcore punk legend John Joseph.
He came up HARD…
…learned the lessons of the streets…
…and survived extreme violence.
Yet he clawed his way out, inch by inch, to find his salvation in punk.
John went on to form The Cro-Mags, the now-legendary hardcore band who would gift to the world a groundbreaking fusion of thrash metal and punk.
His is NOT a story for the faint-hearted…
Beaten, starved and molested in foster homes, John was a drugs mule for heroin dealers on New York’s meanest streets at the age of 14.
He was shot, stabbed, survived gangland hits and saw people murdered before his eyes.
In our conversation John gives a no-holds-barred account of New York’s punk underground during the genre’s Golden Age of hard drugs, non-stop violence and incredible music.
In this episode John and I talk about:
- His years as an ass-kicking Hare Krishna warrior monk
- Surviving BETRAYAL by those closest to you
- The evolution of the vegan scene from a pioneering lifestyle choice to a community dominated by “douchebags.”
- Honouring your chosen craft with old school discipline
- How Trump put the RAGE back in punk
- How SEAL coaching got him across the finishing line of an Ironman race on ZERO SLEEP
- How meditation and martial arts saved him from self-destruction
John Joseph pulls no punches in this moving, frank and, at times, deeply funny interview.
02:15 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
04:47 Brian’s introduction.
05:26 Incredible London music scene different to New York.
10:15 Abusive and violent childhood in New York City leads to a dangerous drug scene.
19:57 Whatever hell we were going through, music was the salvation.
23:23 A time-bomb waiting to go off is conclusion of his Navy SEAL psychological test.
28:38 No band could ever touch the Bad Brains in a live performance.
31:21 AWOL, fighting for his life in New York, in need of healing.
44:15 Facing racial hatred down south and how John got his nickname Bloodclot.
47:27 How a crazy, drug dealing, scrapping in street guy comes to front a band.
50:25 Honour the music, study your craft; learning a lot from Robert McKee before writing his story.
51:35 It was hard in Evolution of a Cro-Magnon to write openly about abuse he suffered as a child.
53:21 Forsaking drugs and alcohol for eating raw foods and being a fighting Hari Krishna monk.
1:00:53 The hot girl on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii: would applying PMA have changed John’s future?
1:02:47 Return to NY punk scene then realising corruption existing within the Hari Krishna movement.
1:08:41 Why he had to live in crazy, lawless Alphabet City, NY.
1:12:21 Insane stunts at Cro-Mag performances, his lifestyle giving authenticity to song lyrics.
1:16:49 “My history is of being betrayed, so when betrayal happens something inside me breaks”.
1:26:21 Descent to rock bottom, constantly running from the cops with wealthy girlfriend.
1:43:53 Below rock bottom in a crack house. How and who gave the focus to climbing out of the hell.
1:48:21 John’s life now and his relationship with fellow vegans.
1:53:58 Competing the Ironman races. “The mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy”.
2:01:31 What will John being doing in five years-time?
2:02:14 Success secrets.
2:02:49 Is John ready for the ultimate test?
2:07:51 What keeps John away at night.
2:08:07 Advice to the twenty-year old John Joseph.
2:10:00 Best advice ever received.
2:11:41 Advice to the young person listening.
2:14:36 Brian’s summing up.
John Joseph links:
John Joseph website
John Joseph on YouTube
John Joseph on Instagram
John Joseph walking tours
John Joseph on Wikipedia
John Joseph’s Books:
Meat is for Pussies
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon: Second Edition Updated with new Chapters!
Charged GBH (band)
The Clash (band)
Sex Pistols (band)
Siouxsie and the Banshees (band)
Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears
Led Zeppelin (band)
Black Sabbath (band)
NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell (documentary)
Alphabet City New York
Tompkins Square Park
Max’s Kansas City
Sly and the Family Stone (band)
Bad Brains (band)
Navy SEAL Bud/s class
Act of Valor (film)
Teen Idols (band)
Untouchables (punk band)
Bob Marley (film)
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)
The Specials (band)
State of Alert (band)
Black Flag (band)
The Undead (band)
Story by Robert McKee
The Basketball Diaries (film)
Basketball Diaries Ages 12-15 by Jim Carroll
Wonder Woman (film)
The Dots (band)
Captured: A Lower East Side Film and Video History
Rubble Kings (documentary)
Survival of the streets
Street Justice lyrics
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Survival into the Twenty First Century by Viktoras Kulvinskas
What the Health (film)
Rich Roll Podcast
Who the Fuck is That Guy: The Fabulous Journey of Michael Alago (film)
The Four Agreements: Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
People mentioned in this episode:
Mackie “Hyper” Jason
Ray Chinna Shim
Robert J Ostfielf MD