You think you know Harley Flanagan but I assure you—you don't know Harley Flanagan.
His September 2016 memoir, Hard-Core: A Life of My Own recounted his bohemian childhood and adolescence that would have been story enough, but Harley also played drums in his Aunt Mercedes' band (The Stimulators) before forming the legendary Cro-Mags.
He has a new record out soon and was the first to live stream a "quarantine concert" when the Cro-Mags show opening for Ice-T's Body Count on March 15th was canceled by the necessary stay-at-home order in New York City.
In this episode, recorded on April 7, 2020 when Covid-19 deaths were just about to peak in New York City, our conversation turned to difficult topics. Harley and I are near the same age, and we've both experienced the loss of close friends to suicide. We talk about the difficulty of overcoming both tragic circumstances outside of your control but more importantly, making the choice to change yourself and your actions.
I think it's important to make this point: fame (or infamy) doesn't equal wealth. And money, though it gives you more choices, doesn't equal happiness. The story Harley tells about his life now, nearly five years after the release of his book, is inspiring. There isn't a magic formula here. It's about thinking about who you want to be as a human and making the choices that help you become that person. The path is long and the work is hard. You gotta show up.
If you've ever felt the numbness of despair; get help. Seriously. There are people who can and will help you. Here's a few phone numbers and websites where you can get immediate assistance:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): (800) 662-4357. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, the professionals on the phone can provide treatment information and referrals in English and Spanish to people who have questions about mental health or substance abuse disorders.
Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 and press “1”. This toll-free hotline is available for veterans and their loved ones. You can also send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential, free support and referrals.
If you're unable to "talk" try the Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741. This service is available 24/7 and provides free crisis support and information via text.