Presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump recently demonstrated that his New York roots run deeper than anyone would have guessed. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Trump remained characteristically unpredictable by revealing that he was the original singer of New York hardcore legends, the Cro-Mags.
While the identity of the notorious band’s “real” first singer remains a long-running point of contention, Trump may have finally put the argument to rest, saying, “Some people believe John Joseph was the ‘Mags original singer, while others insist the band was originally fronted by guy named Eric Casanova, but I’m here to tell you it was me all along.”
When asked why this information was not already common knowledge, the Republican nominee explained, “Back then I went by ‘DTs’ to not give myself away. I never actually recorded with the band, but I do take some credit for helping shape their sound and approach.”
Unbeknownst to the mavens of the New York scene, Trump had been attending punk and hardcore shows in Manhattan as early as 1978.
“Oh my God, I saw so many amazing gigs at places like CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City,” he enthused, “The Misfits! The Ramones! Hell, even a couple of early Blondie gigs. It was amazing, the bands were just tremendous. By ’81, I knew I had to get a band of my own going, even if it was just a weekend thing.”
And so he did. As a capable organizer, Trump pulled together a rag-tag team of youngsters to help realize his passion for the bare-knuckled music from the mean streets of the Lower East Side.
“I was 36 when things first fell into place,” he continued, “I took Harley Flanagan of The Stimulators, who were a great band, by the way, under my wing, and then found a couple of other kids who were hungry and motivated. My goal was to come up with some of the toughest tunes the Bowery had ever heard.”
In the meantime, Trump’s forays as a developer were already paying big dividends. It became increasingly difficult for him to remain incognito in the underground music community.
“Some people knew who I was, but they kept quiet about it. I wouldn’t throw my weight around, I was just part of the scene. I even got a black eye when Roger Miret [vocalist of Agnostic Front] elbowed me in the face at a show at City Gardens. I took my lumps with the best of them!”
Once he hit the stage with the newly-minted Cro-Mags, it became clear that the multi-millionare was not destined to make his imprint on hardcore history.
“I played several gigs with the band, and while the music was reaching people, a lot of them turned on me. I had put up Trump Tower by then, and I’d hear a lot of shouts from the audience, like ‘rich kid!’, or ‘go build another skyscraper, faggot!’. It really hurt. I was dead serious about what I was doing there, but I couldn’t convince them. Finally, I decided to step down. I let the band keep my lyrics to songs like ‘Street Justice’, and ‘Malfunction’, which is really the best thing I ever did. It’s an outstanding number, I have to say.”
No video footage or photographs exist of Trump’s live performances, but upon closer examination, he can indeed be spotted in photographs from many a classic NYHC show. Trump took things a step further by removing his blazer and shirt to show off his array of tattoos, at this point almost a body suit.
“I never stopped getting tats, actually. They mean a lot to me, and they tell my story of my time in that scene, and the double life I had to lead to do it. I’ll always be proud of that, and for my involvement with the Cro-Mags. My holdings, my properties, my candidacy, it all feels so unimportant compared to those shows and that music. I will always keep it close to my heart.”
At press time, Mr. Trump had just completed an election rally appearance in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he recited the lyrics to “World Peace” in their entirety.