“Harley Flanagan’s incredible story is not just the history of New York hard core, of which he is a founding father, but a history of New York itself,” wrote dear friend and fan, Anthony Bourdain, for the cover of Harleys recently-published memoire, Hard Core: Life of My Own.
Raised in Europe and on New York’s gritty Lower East Side among iconic figures like Allen Ginsberg, Richard Hell, Debbie Harry, the Ramones, Andy Warhol and the Clash, Harley began his own musical career at age 12, performing at legendary hangouts like Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs, as the drummer for the classic NYC Punk band, the Stimulators. His literary career began at age seven with the creation of his first book – a collection of illustrations and stories which was published when he was nine. Allen Ginsberg wrote the introduction.
During this same time period, this feral street kid prodigy founded the seminal Hardcore band, Cro-Mags, writing the majority of their music and channeling his powerful survival instinct into the blistering soundtrack and storyline for the 80’s and 90’s.
Harley’s ever-growing popularity with audiences outside of the Punk and Hardcore world, is a testament to the ORIGINS of alternative music and lost histories from the visionaries who created it. It has often been said, there would be no Metallica, Green Day or Foo Fighters without the Cro-Mags. In a world searching for authenticity- it doesn’t get any more real than Harley.