Because I'm essentially a predictable cliche, I got dutifully hot and bothered yesterday when my old colleague Chris Harris of the endearingly juvenile metal blog Gun Shy Assassin posted the picture at left on Facebook (click on it to enlarge). For those fortunate enough not to recognize him, that's lamentable Rihanna-beater and justifiably-maligned pop-r&b singer Chris Brown sporting a fetching leather jacket emblazoned with the insignia of age-old bands like The Exploited, the Cro-Mags and Municipal Waste. While I honestly never gave a rolling rat fart about Municipal Waste, I do still hold both the Exploited and the Cro-Mags close to my heart (yes, I am a very silly person), and it pains me to see them associated -- however tenuously -- with a practitioner of strenuously insipid music, let alone a petty, violent guy who is -- let's face it -- pretty indefensible across the board. Also, if Chris Brown can cite a single song by any of the bands he's sporting on that jacket, I'll happily eat that triangular medallion that's hanging around his tattooed neck.
Later in the day, Gun Shy Assassin posted the development that the offending jacket in question has also graced the shoulders of Brown's former punching bag, Rihanna. Evidently, they're an item again, but it's not my job to keep track of such things (although I did once pen a flattering piece about Rihanna here, as much as it pains me to point out, given that she's since gone onto blight the world with a clutch of irritating earworms and is a nigh-on-inescapable figure of pop culture). I doubt she's a fan of the Cro-Mags either.
But, at the end of the day, I suppose I should get over it. It's a jacket. Big deal. And if it leads some gobsmacked Chris Brown fan astray and down the hardcore aisle to buy a copy of Age of Quarrel or Punks Not Dead or even Municipal Waste's Hazardous Mutation, then the world will be a better place.
But speaking of Age of Quarrel by the Cro-Mags, this incident left me wondering what the latest on their troubled front was, in the wake of this past summer's fracas at Webster Hall (which I spoke at some length about here and here). I know John Joseph's staying characteristically active, doing both his acclaimed rock tours of the Lower East Side and pitching in with Hurricane Sandy recovery. Is Harley still incarcerated? Is there an update?
While wondering about these matters, I happened upon this video report of the summer's incident. It answers precious few questions, of course. But if you feel like getting disgusted, stick around for the end of the clip wherein one Webster Hall-goer laments the interference of the NYPD (yeah, `cos a stabbing -- that's no big deal, is it), followed by a gaggle of ladies on a bachelorette spree. Cro-Mags shows evidently ain't like they used to be.
For the sake of context, here are the Cro-Mags in happier times ... and relatively not even all that long ago.
And, to be fair, here are The Exploited at their best (in my opinion):