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April 2, 2006Parris on set of AOL music program with Country music superstar Tim McGraw (left) and Rascal Flats (right).
Parris filming Kanye West.
January 27, 2006
Chris Penn R.I.P.
January 7, 2006
I was admiring your pictures of you on the set of "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" and was reminded of a funny story involving me and Dito. In 1985, as a naive young kid from California, I placed an ad at Bleecker Bob's as an available drummer and the only person to answer the ad was Dito. I got to audition for his band One Nation with him and Mike O'Shea. The audition wasn't that great (I was nowhere near as good as I am now but very ambitious) but I did get to play the song "Whatever happened to the good old days," which I was happy to hear become one of Gutterboy's more well known songs. Seeing them evolve over the years was cool (I think they opened for Sinead O'Connor at the World in 1988); I also got to see Dito in a Versace suit at a party at Limelight and also collected a lot of his modeling photos. (I'm a girl - I couldn't stay away from those Calvin Ads)
Anyway, I know you guys are busy in post-production but I wanted to say hi to you and Dito and congratulations on getting such a cool movie made. If you see him could you please tell him the story; I doubt he remembers, especially being 20 years ago, but the memories came flooding back and I was so happy to see that he's been prolific as a writer and now is a filmmaker. If you have a mailing list regarding the film please add me to it because I'd love to see it as soon as it comes out. Is Sundance in January the first place?
I have great memories of Cro-Mags shows from that time as well and love seeing you guys still about.
Take care, Arleen
Update: December 8, 2005
A recent e-mail from a fan:
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2005
After five years after the last gigs under the banner Cro-Mags it is good to see two members of the band in one picture. Why? After all the shit that happend before and after the last gigs and all the years, I see two people with brains in their heads with no hate and anger in their faces. Cause all these negative terms are lost in time!
I wish that I will see in the year 2010 five guys (you know) in one picture on your webpage with a smile on the the faces and the memory of a short but great time with the result of the best hardcore album that was ever recorded, the "Age of Quarrel".
So I wish you only the best for the future.
Update: October 30, 2005
Doug Holland (www.krautnyc.com) coincidentally walked by the set of A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS a film Parris was shooting with ROBERT DOWNEY, ROSARIO DAWSON and CHAZZ PALMINTIRI. Doug was standing across the street. Parris waved him over and they talked for a few hours, Doug said "by the way that wasn't me who wrote that e-mail to you. But I did think it was funny what you wrote and I could tell by the way you worded it that you weren't being vindictive."
It has been two years since I, Parris Mayhew have addressed the mighty Cro-Mags Army. Welcome back. Now that the smoke has finally cleared and I have successfully transitioned out of the Cro-Mags, and left that world far behind, I can approach rebuilding the Cro-Mags Website with the mindset of tribute -- and not as simply a tool to warn fans against the self-serving acts of fraud against the name Cro-Mags. I am finally out of debt. Finally the obnoxious gay phone calls from Harley have ended. And seemingly the endless false reunions have fizzled out. I can now put it all to rest. I also recognize the need for a reputable place for people to go for information about Cro-Mags. Because that information is in demand. I've seen it every day for the past two years with seemingly endless e-mails of support from fans all over the world.
It amazes me that it's been 18 years since AGE OF QUARREL first came out and people are still hungry for any news or rumors about CRO-MAGS. Not just casually interested but fanatically obsessed. Actually, interest in Cro-Mags has escalated the band into legendary status worldwide. The Cro-Mags has truly become an URBAN LEGEND. The stories told and retold until they are unrecognizable. The truth about Cro-Mags now is insignificant and elusive at this stage in the convoluted history of the band. But it hasn't changed the fervor in which fans seek any piece of information, gossip or out right bold-faced-lies about the band. I receive questions on a daily basis through e-mail and from personal contact on the streets of New York and Los Angeles. The band is that important to some. I have become so accustomed to the recognition that I sometimes forget. It's just a part of my life and am only jolted by it when I see it through some one else's eyes. Like when I am with someone I work with who is unaware of my former band and I get approached by some wide eyed freak making a fist and yelling "CRO-MAGS YEAH, YOU FUCKING RULE MAN!" And my colleague invariably turns to me with a baffled look on their face and says, "You were in Cro-Mags?"
Cro-Mags has become a large part of people's identity. So much so that countless fans of Cro-Mags have tattooed the name Cro-Mags on their skin. And many fans have even become angered by the behavior and actions of Cro-Mags members through the endless stories, true or otherwise, and attempt to become personally involved in the internal conflicts between the members of Cro-Mags because it is that important to them. Many fans actually take sides and act upon it. They want to be a part of Cro-Mags so much that they don't care if it is as a friend or as an enemy of Cro-Mags. I have been personally praised for my role in Cro-Mags. One fan that writes me often named his son Parris in my honor. On the flip side, other fans have threatened me with violence because they resent the fact that I ended the band. Their band! It has truly reached bizarre levels. I was confronted by a group of five New York gang members in a nightclub and was informed that I was to beaten upon leaving the club. One gang member then held out his hand for me to shake hand with him. I said "You guys are going to jump me later but now you want to shake my hand?" He said "We just came up to show you respect before we fuck you up. And after we fuck you up we are gonna go home and listen to your records. The Cro-Mags changed my life. I owe you that respect." I picked up that thread of respect for what I have done for him with my music and talked him and his friends out of spoiling my evening.
I even met a guy serving me coffee in a coffee shop on Ave. A who told me his friend died a young death in 2001, and his mother put his vinyl copy of AGE OF QUARREL in the coffin with her dead son because she knew he would have wanted it. The kid serving me coffee said, "I hope I didn't bum you out by telling you. I just thought you should know."
On the positive side I can't pick up a music magazine without seeing at least one mention of Cro-Mags within the pages. Even today and it is invariably a member of a current band sighting Cro-Mags as an influence or a reviewer pointing out the influence of Cro-Mags. In 1999 two of the guys from FILTER dragged me out of CRAZY GIRLS in L.A. to play me an advance copy of their latest CD. They excitedly repeated "can you hear the Cro-Mags influence?" I looked them in the eye and said "No. But thanks anyway." That is the truest testimony of the impact of Cro-Mags, the music.
Even today you see musicians wearing Cro-Mags T-shirts in their band photos -- MTV VJ Ian sporting a Cro-Mags shirt on 2002 NEW YEARS EVE broadcast and recently HATEBREED's vocalist wearing a Cro-Mags T-shirt in his video.
Cro-Mags were always a band's band. Our audiences have been littered with the faces of musicians from our first gig on, when Adam Yauch was sitting on stage behind the drums and Billy Milano and Vinnie Stigma stood on the other side.
I can't count how times someone told me AGE OF QUARREL is their favorite album ever. I can't tell you how many times I heard "AGE OF QUARREL changed my life." Be it from thousands of fans, or be it from musicians like Mike Patton from TOMAHAWK/FAITH NO MORE/FANTOMAS who once told me, "Cro-Mags changed my life. I didn't take AGE OF QUARREL out of my tape deck for three years, it was all I listened to." In 1993, at the Scrap Bar in NYC, Layne Staley screamed in my ear "Fucking Cro-Mags man! We gotta jam. I fucking love Cro-Mags! Everybody in Seattle listened to Cro-Mags. Cro-Mags were our Led Zeppelin." The list of noteworthy Cro-Mags fans is long including: RANCID, FOO FIGHTERS, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, MACHINE HEAD, PANTERA, ROB HALFORD, METALLICA and KORN. Rob Zombie is quoted in Rolling Stone Magazine as saying "Cro-Mags were way ahead of their time. If they came out today they'd be bigger than Metallica!" Kerrang Magazine included Cro-Mags "We Gotta Know" in their list of 100 greatest riffs of all time list. REVOLVER Magazine recently listed Cro-Mags in their 100 most important punk bands, in good company with BAD BRAINS, CIRCLE JERKS and DISCHARGE. Though their order of appearance made little sense to me. We were #22. At least we were ahead of BLINK 182.
The impact of Cro-Mags is enduring to say the least. SEPULTURA recorded "We Gotta Know" on their latest CD. One of many bands who include Cro-Mags songs in their live set including MACHINE HEAD, SOD and Corrosion of Conformity.
With all this to show for our music, we, the Cro-Mags, cannot seem to see eye to eye on anything. Not even on our pride in what we have done together. It seems that individual credit for the Cro-Mags origin and songwriting is endlessly being argued, claimed and verified by other members depending on whom is playing with whom at the moment. Claims never cease "I started the band! NO, I started the band! It was my concept ... blah blah blah." Of course, it's mainly Harley claiming credit for others contributions. Because Harley feels the desperate need to downplay anyone else's contributions by outright lying and taking all the credit for himself. This need has caused more problems than any other single factor in our turmoil filled history. It also amazes me the role fans play in supporting the different versions of our history based on which member of the band is "their boy" (at the time) despite the true facts. Who cares anyway? I mean really. The bass player of JUDAS PRIEST started that band and who gives a fuck when Rob Halford is writing all the songs? So, with John and Harley's revisionist history aside lets begin.
I personally was there, from day one of Cro-Mags. I know what happened when. And who did and didn't do what. And who did and didn't write what! My stamp on the history of Cro-Mags is clear and indisputable from go, On the back of AGE OF QUARREL "ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY PARRIS MAYHEW and HARLEY FLANAGAN." With that said of course Harley's stamp is just as clear as mine. That truth I would never dispute and never have. Why would I? I'm not an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.
In short, as I predicted (which is no great psychic feat), Harley and John are at odds yet again. Back in 2001 I actually used the phrase "it is only a matter of time before they turn on each other." But in retrospect I realize that phrasing wasn't exactly accurate or fair to John. I'm sure John didn't turn on Harley at all. It is so obvious that John wants to embrace his role in Cro-Mags. And why not? No, it was definitely Harley's fault. Believe me, I know. As much as I've credited John in the past with playing an instrumental role in the demise of the Cro-Mags, I'm sure this chapter of the Quarrel was Harley's doing.
I personally am humbled by the achievements of Cro-Mags. Not a day passes where I am not approached by someone on the street or by someone on a film set who gives me the thumbs up and says "Cro-Mags right? Age of Quarrel is the shit!" On the film sets it's usually the tattooed grip.
At this point, even the contributions of the other members that I've qualified over the years as temporary or inconsequential in the big picture. I now recognize as unavoidable and integral to what "IS THE CRO-MAGS" not what I may have once wanted our music to be. But since that "BIG PICTURE" of the Cro-Mags was never full filled as I saw it. The Cro-Mags ARE, as any band becomes when they are done. They are simply the sum of what they've left behind. The RECORDS! The records are all that matters in the end. No matter what happens or happened when you sit down and listen to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath that is BLACK SABBATH to the fans forever. It is permanent. And when fans listen to AGE OF QUARREL that is the Cro-Mags for them forever. Like it or not we are all part of each other's identity. All that matters is the AGE OF QUARREL, BEST WISHES, and as much as I hate it ALPHA OMEGA, and even the atrocity NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE. And of course REVENGE doesn't even make up for NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE but it does put things in perspective and shows the promise of what could have been. Just as NEAR DEATH shows the folly of a Cro-Mags album without me, the main songwriter and guitar signature sound. REVENGE does shout "What if we had just stayed together after AGE OF QUARREL and cooperated. That is all academic and irrelevant now.
In the end, the Cro-Mags all have a lot to be proud of. We should be. Because no matter who started the band. Who was the first singer? Who really made up the name? Or if there would have been an AGE OF QUARREL with or with out John. It doesn't matter now, because John was on AGE OF QUARREL, and that moment in time, when for two years we Parris Mayhew, John Joseph, Harley Flanagan, Doug Holland and even the short timer Maxwell Montgomery Jayson cooperated for our own individual reasons we made AGE OF QUARREL. We did something that was worth battling over for 18 years. And worth people caring about and fighting about for 18 years.
So with that I will attempt to honor that time. With this Website -- The official Cro-Mags Website. A time which is now long past when the Cro-Mags ruled the earth.
This website will include an accurate detailed history of Cro-Mags written by someone who was there. Me! Brace yourself, because if you thought the stories you heard before were unbelievable and bizarre, let me tell you now, the truth is even sicker.
Don't think this acknowledgement of our group achievements is a warm a fuzzy call for peace in the ranks. I know that is impossible better than anyone. I am building this website for the good of the Cro-Mags separate from its individual members. And for the good people who have shown boundless enthusiasm for Cro-Mags in friendship, and in their knuckleheaded misplaced partisan loyalty. Whichever you may be.
The issues between the Cro-Mags are far from settled. In 2003, John has been performing as Cro-Mags with a backup band of scrub musicians. That doesn't bother me as much as the fact that upon direct questioning he told promoters in Toronto when asked about whether Harley and myself were to be performing he said "Yes."
Fraud plain and simple. Fraud against the fans and promoters. A lie designed to RIP YOU OFF! It's lame. Charlie Benante from ANTHRAX verified all this to me personally. By the way, Harley and I were not a part of the performance in Toronto, so how could it have been Cro-Mags?