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Cro-Mags Vocalist John Joseph Moonlights as NYC Tour Guide

Chris Clinton

If you ask Noisecreep who the quintessential New York hardcore musician is, we will undoubtedly answer the Cro-Mags‘ John Joseph. Born in Queens and a resident of downtown Manhattan since the days when it was still dangerous to walk south of 14th Street, Joseph is as New York City as bagels and crosstown traffic. That’s why it’s no surprise that the veteran hardcore vocalist is now moonlighting as an NYC tour guide.

Just don’t expect to see the Statue of Liberty and Times Square on his tour.

Joseph’s walking tour is called The History of Art, Crime, Drugs and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side. As Joseph recently told Noisecreep, it didn’t take much to convince him to take the job. “Jake [Szufnarowski], the guy who runs the [tour] company doing it, is an old friend. He actually books the Cro-Mags and one of the only promoters in New York that makes sure that the bands get paid. He read my book, and in it I mention how I would love to give people a real tour of what NYC and our punk rock and rock ‘n’ roll history is all about. So when Jake asked me if I would be interested in doing this, I wasn’t hesitant at all.”

The book Joseph is talking about is his 2008 autobiography ‘The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon.’ In the book, his larger-than-life personality shoots off each page like something out of a Hollywood gangster movie. Anyone already familiar with Joseph’s life and career knows the guy isn’t bluffing.

“I’ve been part of the scene here since the late ’70s, so you know I’ve seen it all. The tour gives the people a slice of that history from someone that was actually there, going to all of the clubs. I didn’t go on the Internet looking up ‘NYC punk rock history’ and then decided to do this tour. I was there in ’77 and knew all of the crazy drug dealers, gangs, and bands of the time.”

“The walk lasts about three hours and so far, everyone’s loved it. I let people ask questions and they seem to like that too. The crowds have been mixed and not just hardcore and punk people. I had a script writer come down the other day to take notes on everything. It’s just a great way to learn about the NYC scene and its rich history.”

You can buy tickets to the walking tour here.

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