On July 6th, the CBGB’s Festival at Webster Hall in New York City was brought to a screeching halt following an incident in the VIP section where Harley Flanagan (founding and former member of the Cro-Mags) allegedly slashed current Cro-Mags bassist (and Harley’s replacement) Michael Couls with a knife and assaulted another man. Following the incident, Flanagan was subdued by concert security and received a injuries to his leg before being taken off by authorities. Currently, he is facing charges of second-degree assault, which can result in a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison according to New York State law.
Speaking exclusively to NY Natives, Flanagan claims to have been invited to the backstage VIP area where he was confronted by a group of men and “was getting the shit beat out of me. It was like an old fashion biker beat down.” Regarding the leg injury, Flanagan commented that it appeared to be a compound fracture until it “got cleaned up in the ambulance they realized it was more of a stab wound.” Further recalling the incident, Flanagan’s point of view is that he was invited to the dressing room for what he believed would be a conversation, until he was trapped and assaulted. Following this assault, Flanagan was removed to the balcony area by security where he was subject to choking as well as an individual standing on his back.
Speaking with NY Natives further regarding his relationship with the other members of the Cro-Mags, Flanagan stated “You may go your separate ways but you still have a certain connection that never really fades because you went through your youth together which is very important to most people and we played music together for a lot of years and that’s a very bonding thing.”
Since the incident, an online donation fund has been set up for assist Flanagan in his legal defense, but also a war of words has ensued, mostly on Flanagan’s part. On July 16th, he posted the following comment on his facebook page:
“To All My Family Friends Fans & Supporters, Let it be understood by All -That (Unlike some) I am not trying to fan Or fuel the fires of Hatred & Negativity Nor Do I hide behind others Or use others to do my dirty work Nor Do I use the press to try to provoke retaliation.. these type of actions are done by the weak and those with fear in their hearts & show what kind of nature and character one tru…ly has. I am a Man and this is beneath me.
“Again Thank everyone for your outpouring of support I mean that with All my heart. I will Not look back I will look forward. I have things in my life that mean far more then those that would wish to consider themselves my enemies. You mean nothing to me. Love will guide me, & when I fight it is Not with hate in my heart it is with Love, Love for my children and Love for those who Love Me… Again Thank You All.”
On July 13th, John Joseph (founding and current vocalist for Cro-Mags) released a statement regarding the incident from his perspective.
“[Harley’s] been watching too many sci-fi movies.
“First off, Harley was NOT invited to the show. He was told repeatedly by CBGB [Festival organizers] NOT to come. (I have all the texts and e-mails to CBGBs and security.) He was given a CBGBs laminate to attend another event (‘American Hardcore’ screening) and then used it to sneak into the show. And if he wanted to talk and resolve things, as he claims, why didn’t he come before doors where we could [have] taken care of any beef he had? No, he just wanted to come on the stage during show and try and do something to gain press — well, he got his press alright.
“At 6 p.m. [Harley] texted Louise (CBGBs) and asked her what time we were going [on]. She didn’t respond, but warned me. To which I alerted security to let them deal with it, [as] I had a show to do. He showed up 20 minutes before [and] hid in the crowd outside our dressing room door with a backpack and a KNIFE, never knocking on our door and saying, ‘Yo, guys… can we talk?’ He was also heard ranting outside that he was putting a stop to us playing his music (his music?). And while sitting outside our door told someone else that said to Harley that he doesn’t care about the beef he attends both HARLEY’S WAR shows and CRO-MAGS shows, that he was just a fan of the music. Harley’s response: ‘Yeah, well, fuck you. Some shit’s about to go down, so if you don’t wanna be involved, keep fucking walking.’ He also told people initially that I was in the dressing room when it all went down, making it look like I set him up when a thousand people saw me on stage ready to play.
“Look here’s the bottom line: Security was told to come up and they never did. So knowing this dude always carries weapons and his plan was obviously to use the laminate to gain access to the stage while we played and hearing what he was ranting that night, also remembering the whole Dimebag Darrell [late PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist who was killed on stage] situation, as we were on stage about to go on, he was asked to come in the dressing room by Mike. When Harley was grabbed to be searched for weapons, the fight ensued and those three took him down where he pulled a knife and began stabbing people. When the security finally arrived, he wouldn’t drop the knife and THEY banged him up, not those three. Again, dozens of witnesses.
“Look if you got beef, a show with women and children on stage ain’t the place to bring it. I believe those three stopped a much worse situation where perhaps kids could have got hurt who were on stage. And no one snitched — I refused to talk to the cops. Unfortunately for [Harley], it’s a criminal case so no one has to press charges ‘cuz he did that shit in a public venue. We have a way of dealing with matters — it’s called ‘street justice.’ You pull a knife, I pull a pipe and smash your face in. And I did have a pipe on stage, by the way, knowing this dude can’t really fight and always has a weapon, as I said.
“DMS are not thugs, so for the new jacks who weren’t even around long enough to remember their past and said that — keep your mouths shut. For the last 10 years plus, they have been security at shows stopping violence, even promoting the Black N’ Blue Bowl and other events where there is NEVER violence. If they had been doing security that night, Harley would have never got in and ALL of this could have been avoided. And only Mike is DMS, not the other two, and anyone who REALLY knows him (not you keyboard commandos talking crap anonymously) will attest to the fact that he’s the nicest dude in the world and NEVER starts trouble. The other one is a veteran who tried to get the knife away from Harley. The other just a friend of the band. And Mike (Harley’s replacement) was the one who got stabbed first.
“Bottom line, [Harley] was told not to come, he showed up right before we went on, he made threats and then he stabbed people. End of story.
“We will make up the show with SICK OF IT ALL as we are discussing another date now, but I wanted to set the record straight.
“Sure, obviously anyone who knows the past (it’s all in my book, ‘The Evolution Of A Cro-Magnon’) knows [Harley] has a problem with me. He talks shit all the time — I do not. But he knows my bell and where I live. He NEVER rang it once. I told him we can go to the East River and resolve any issues. He refused. So if you wanna believe all the lies and B.S. that dude posts on [Facebook] — your choice. The truth is an entirely different thing, though. Your sympathy should lie with those who got stabbed, not the dude who did the stabbing and caused this whole problem. So stop gossiping and move on — that’s what we are doing.
“See you in the pit.
“Peace and PMA.”
The simple facts are really that none of us were there and know what truly went down. In the end, it will still be just a continuous verbal war with the usual he said/she said type drama. So far, the above comment from John Joseph is the only to be released explaining that side of the story. It is unfortunate to say, but we will all just have to wait and see how this will play out in the end, by means of the court case.
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