Enlarge Photo Credit: Dixon Johnston via Wikimedia Commons

John Joseph (ex-Cro-Mags) Again Defends Giant NYC Hardcore Show as Pushback Against Government Overreach


The massive hardcore show that attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 attendees to a New York City park this weekend continues to attract controversy, as John Joseph — who performed at the event with Bloodclot and is best known as the former Cro-Mags frontman — has again defended his participation in the event and its very existence, claiming it was a stand against government overreach related to mask-wearing, vaccination and other Covid-19 safety protocols.

Madball, Murphy’s Law, Bloodclot and The Captures performed in Tompkins Square Park on Saturday, April 24, at what was likely the largest concert to take place in the city since early March of 2020. Photos and videos of the show depict many attendees openly flouting Covid-19 safety regulations by ignoring social distancing and masking mandates as they mosh up front, sparking an outcry throughout NYC and the heavy music community as a whole.

Joseph published an initial defense of the show on Sunday, drawing a false parallel between last year’s Black Lives Matter protests (which saw the vast majority of folks masked and distanced) and the show, which saw hundreds of unmasked people crammed together up front. He has now taken to Facebook to publish one more defense, a response to the negative media coverage of the event over the past two days.

His statement reads in full:

“Of course the media tried to put the spin on the show. So people said ‘It wasn’t a protest – it was bands playing. Comparing that to BLM is insane.’ So here is my rebuttal.

“When I initially approached Cuz to set up a show. This is exactly what was discussed. First and foremost people need some music – lets put a free show on for them. To enjoy getting back to the life we know Then the conversation immediately went to taking a stand against all the bullshit. Draconian lockdowns, peoples small businesses being destroyed by politicians who don’t even follow their own guidelines. In fact they are total hypocrites. How many of our friends and family lost everything, committed suicide, relapsed into drugs and alcohol, OD and died.

“This was a pushback against government over stepping their reach, telling people they cant gather in public, or a church, mosque, temple etc, while they did whatever they wanted.

“Now Cuomo passing a bill requiring a passport of your medical history to enter certain businesses. Which will become more of a thing – guaranteed. And finally we have a Governor – caught several times not following his own damn guidelines and who killed over 10,000 seniors in nursing homes, while being a fucking pig to women around him, and a mayor who took in 800 million from tax payers for the homeless – him and his wife gave the $ to their friends charities (of course), and I’m told there’s an investigation into it – especially when the homeless situation is as bad as it was in the seventies and eighties.

“So you may not have a dog in this fight – or care – or pay attention or have no problem with whats happening right now – but this is what was said on stage at the show. As musicians we did our job – we spoke up about it – we rallied, we protested, we gigged, unlike these other bands who sold out to the bullshit.

“Waiting for greedy politicians and corrupted industries and Government organizations bought and paid for to tell them what they can and can’t do. It was about bringing people together – but of course the media did it’s job & put a spin on it to get clicks and divide people. All in all it was an amazing day – and those who didn’t want to come – didn’t. Those who did – did. Now Im deading this issue.”

I will admit that I agree with some of what Joseph is saying: people need to get back to the life they know, we badly need music, our politicians are hopelessly corrupt, this pandemic has been emotional and financial hell on everyone, etc. Those things I do not dispute.

But much of his statement is so, so misguided. For starters, claims like “the homeless situation is as bad as it was in the seventies and eighties” are at best unsubstantiated, at worst completely false. To his claim that he’s “deading” this issue, NYC jargon for ending it; no, man, you’re deading people. The very ones you claim to support.

It’s Joseph’s general premise that’s the most off-base of all: that this concert needed to happen NOW. Our biggest criticism of the concert is not that it happened at all, it’s that it happened in an unsafe manner, right now, putting attendees lives at risk while Covid-19 levels in NYC are still high. Had they waited until, I dunno, July — which isn’t that far off — when vaccination rates are expected to exceed 70%, it would’ve been much, much safer! The MAN isn’t trying to KEEP YOU DOWN, John… the government is trying to protect people from killing themselves and their loved ones for just a little while longer. Yes, folks maintain individual free will to attend your show or not, but that logic falls apart when they later unknowingly expose friends and family they love to a deadly disease; those people, in turn, did NOT make a choice! Putting this show on right now was akin to a kindergartener pulling down his pants in the classroom and yelling “It’s a free country! I can do what I want!” But I wouldn’t expect anything more mature than that coming from a tough guy hardcore bro.

And all that’s to say nothing of the fact that Joseph begins his statement by promising a rebuttal to the criticisms that slammed him for comparing the show to BLM protests… a rebuttal he not only doesn’t deliver, but fails to mention at all after the intro!

Earlier today, local news station PIX11 reported that the event’s organizers submitted a misleading application for the permit to hold the event. The organizers, Black N’ Blue Productions, denied those claims.

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