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The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon Paperback – December 23, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

John Joseph's reality is the stuff that Hollywood lives for. But after the cameras are gone and the soundtrack goes platinum, there stands a man who's character is far taller and more Technicolor than any trifling Tinseltown tale. After reading The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, one understands the multiple harsh environments that created some of the most hardcore music ever. It's Mr. Joseph's sensitivity and his magnificent ability to make light of the heavy, however, that helps us to understand how complicated we all must be to survive the storms. Still, word to the wise: don't tread on he! --Sacha Jenkins - Vibe Magazine, July 2007<br /><br />This book kicked my ass. I have known Bloodclot (aka John Joseph) for many years. We know each other from around the NYC hardcore/punk scene. He was always cool with me but until I read this book, his autobiography, I had no idea about his background, about how he grew up. As I read the first few chapters, tears welled up in my eyes. A lot of people talk about coming from the streets, when Bloodclot says it, sh*t is real. I have tremendous respect for John, all that he's endured, and who he's become, and I would recommend this book to anyone in a heartbeat. So if you want to remember what New York City was like in the 70's and 80's, if you are interested in selling fake acid at Madison Square Garden, or dressing up like Santa Claus in a wheelchair to hustle money for the Hari Krishnas, or for that matter, if you are just interested in some of the best of the 8 billion stories that New York City has to offer, put a read on this. --Adam Yauch (MCA) - Beastie Boys, May 2007<br /><br />We should start with the time John 'Bloodclot' Joseph dressed up as a retarded, wheelchair-bound Santa Claus and scammed horrified Staten Island shopping-mall patrons on behalf of the Hare Krishnas. In his memoir, The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, Joseph claims to have made $3,000 in just one week this way, mortified mothers flinging $10 bills at him if he'd just go away, while distraught, teary-eyed children demanded to know what was wrong with Santa. Lots of things were wrong with Santa. This colossal, at least mildly appalling act of deception (Joseph is not disabled physically or mentally, and Evolution makes clear that, at least onstage with his beloved New York hardcore band, the Cro-Mags, he was thoroughly intolerant of jolliness) is probably not the moral low point of his life. His riveting autobiography is a profoundly seedy affair: boyhood abuse while in foster care, a drug- and violence-addled adolescence on the streets of apocalyptic '70s New York, 15 years or so AWOL from the Navy, myriad Hare Krishna related improprieties, a brief but vivid stint fronting quite possibly the most physically terrifying band in New York City history, and, just for the hell of it, on page 377, crack addiction. Joseph has survived all this, and is understandably proud. Regarding the retarded-Santa ploy, he is understandably regretful, but not for the reasons you'd expect... Read more at villagevoice.com, search 'bloodclot'. --Rob Harvilla - Village Voice, April 2008

John Joseph's reality is the stuff that Hollywood lives for. But after the cameras are gone and the soundtrack goes platinum, there stands a man who's character is far taller and more Technicolor than any trifling Tinseltown tale. After reading The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, one understands the multiple harsh environments that created some of the most hardcore music ever. It's Mr. Joseph's sensitivity and his magnificent ability to make light of the heavy, however, that helps us to understand how complicated we all must be to survive the storms. Still, word to the wise: don't tread on he! --Sacha Jenkins - Vibe Magazine, July 2007

We should start with the time John 'Bloodclot' Joseph dressed up as a retarded, wheelchair-bound Santa Claus and scammed horrified Staten Island shopping-mall patrons on behalf of the Hare Krishnas. In his memoir, The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, Joseph claims to have made $3,000 in just one week this way, mortified mothers flinging $10 bills at him if he'd just go away, while distraught, teary-eyed children demanded to know what was wrong with Santa. Lots of things were wrong with Santa. This colossal, at least mildly appalling act of deception (Joseph is not disabled physically or mentally, and Evolution makes clear that, at least onstage with his beloved New York hardcore band, the Cro-Mags, he was thoroughly intolerant of jolliness) is probably not the moral low point of his life. His riveting autobiography is a profoundly seedy affair: boyhood abuse while in foster care, a drug- and violence-addled adolescence on the streets of apocalyptic '70s New York, 15 years or so AWOL from the Navy, myriad Hare Krishna related improprieties, a brief but vivid stint fronting quite possibly the most physically terrifying band in New York City history, and, just for the hell of it, on page 377, crack addiction. Joseph has survived all this, and is understandably proud. Regarding the retarded-Santa ploy, he is understandably regretful, but not for the reasons you'd expect... Read more at villagevoice.com, search 'bloodclot'. --Rob Harvilla - Village Voice, April 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: PUNKHOuse; 1st edition (December 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980065704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980065701
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mountainman72 on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a long time Cro-Mags Fan and lucky enough to see them in the old days I had to read this book!
John Joseph's life took me on a crazy emotional ride! At first I felt horrible for him for all the terror he went through as a abandoned child living in foster homes with his brothers. People like the Valentis should be locked up for life, for the crimes they commited.
After that part of his life and when he is getting into his teens, I started feeling horrible for everybody else who had to deal with John, because as a result of his troubled childhood, he became a pest for anyone who had to deal with him and he constantly blows all chances that were given to him. Instead violence, drugs and scamming people became his way of life. Or better his way of survival in the hellish place New York must have been in the 70's and early 80's. You get a pretty good picture of the place. But actually living through all these crazy things, surpasses my worst nightmare.

Amazon is right letting us know that this book is unapologetic and raw and that we should consider ourselves warned. Johns writing style is straight out and full of slang and the fact that he almost never makes a statement that certain things were just a step too far is disturbing to me too, as another reviewer mentioned. Where he (other reviewer) takes the example of John and his brother, scamming their Indian landlord out of months worth of rent, there are plenty more earlier in the book. There is the story where he watches one of his lowlife hangouts smashes a broken bottle through this girls face without any reaction from him.
On another occasion he knock's out his younger brother to get in his mothers house.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark Rinker on April 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book because I've been a Cro-Mags fan for a while and always found them somewhat fascinating, the exteremely influential New York hardcore band associated just as much with violence and agression as with Hare Krishna philosophies. Admittedly, when I got the book and saw how big it was, I found myself a little intimidated; John Joseph could definitely sing and write lyrics, but I had no idea if he could write an interesting four-hundred-plus page book.

What I found was that John could definitely write, and pretty damn well. The book starts out with a fast pace, which continues straight through to the end, and really just gets better and better as the story unravels. John writes about his childhood, homeless living on the streets, his time in the Navy, time with the Hare Krishnas, and naturally, the Cro-Mags. I would agree with the review above that the Cro-Mags section of the story isn't even the most interesting of the many stories in this book.

Between anecdotes, John talks about his spirituality and beliefs regarding religion, the after-life, and life philosophies. These sections blend very easily with the episodic moments in the book and with the longer stories. His outlook and message are very positive, and I would recommend this book to just about anybody, not just hardcore or Cro-Mags fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Iron Maiden on May 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
You will never be same after getting to know John Joseph's life story. It blows my mind that someone who saw so much poverty, violence and suffering ended up being such a productive and compassionate member of society. Joseph describes the old New York City of the 70s and 80s so vividly and hilariously, I felt like I'd seen it myself. This guy is more than just a talented musician, his writing is killer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Rogers on June 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just finished this up today and was wiped out. I approached this as a " interesting read " being a Cro-Mags fan and also a Vaisnava. What I walked away with was so much more, This book is raw and rough to read at times. It is an inspiring look at an amazing soul and I am thankful it was written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying three things: 1) I admire Mr. Joseph for writing this memoir. Writing is difficult and writing nearly 700 pages is an incredible feat. 2) The Cro-Mags "Age of Quarrel" is one of my favorite hardcore albums. 3) I saw the Cro-Mags live and they were amazing.

That said, on to the book review:
Throughout the book, Mr. Joseph brags about being a hustler who could sell anything to anyone. He proved this by selling this awful book to me and to others.

If 1/3 of the incredibly redundant stories in this book are true, Mr. Joseph has led a wild life full of great difficulty.

The book devotes roughly 30 pages to the Cro-Mags, approximately 5 pages at the end to his life turning around for the better and several hundreds of pages of unrepentant misogyny, homophobia, thuggish, criminal behavior, back-stabbing (which he bemoans in others) and glorification of violence, drugs and crime. Throughout the book he makes constant excuses for his behavior, demonstrates a giant martyr/victim complex and blames others for nearly everything that befell him. Let me save you $10 and hours of your time and summarize the book. John Joseph:
- was treated terribly as a child. (I don't belittle this, No child should have to endure the things described in the early part of this book.)
- dropped out of school.
- went AWOL from the Navy.
- destroyed anything that anyone ever trusted him with.
- smoked a lot of weed.
- dated really hot women, and if you don't believe him you can ask (name drop musician here).
- got in lots of fights.
- robbed lots of people.
- sold lots of fake and real drugs.
- studied Krishna (during which, nearly everyone but Mr. Joseph was corrupt. Mr.
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