John Joseph on Bloodclot, Trump, and Compassion
by Interviews

Legendary hardcore frontman John Joseph has resurrected his band Bloodclot and it’s about damn time. Trump is in office. There’s random shootings all over. People are alternatively unhealthy and starving. Things are not going well. To that end, Bloodclot’s new album dives right into these topics in a series of 90 to 120 second blasts.

Now also featuring Todd Youth, Joey Castillo, and Nick Oliveri, the band reaches back to Joseph’s influences, including the Bad Brains and the early punk scene, while adding a tinge of the classic metal sound that his co-conspirators helped forge. And frankly, this album rips. So, to get the inside scoop on the new LP, Punknews’ John Gentile spoke to John Joseph himself.

I must say, John, on this album you really do sound rejuvenated! I mean, I never stopped being rejuvenated. When Todd Youth brought the songs to me, I knew it was next level shit. It was very inspiring to write with these guys. They brought their A-Game and I had to do the same.

The album has some themes talking about the dire state of the world. Are we at a point of no return or can things be turned around? I think there is some really fucked up shit going on and you have to make people aware of it. But, I see the glass as half full. You have to make people be aware of that, too. I think we’re at a tipping point. People are waking up to the fact that we are being fed this shit by the government and whatnot- It’s being controlled by the military industrial complex. The cover is the bodies of an innocent family that was celebrating a birthday that was killed by US backed Saudi bombs dropped on the family and killed everyone. They all were like “oops! My bad!”

I use the term “woke” to describe that people’s consciousness are really waking up due to the fact that there is a lot of information out there. You do have people putting out false shit. This dude Trump talks about fake news- the dude’s whole thing is fake! They put this motherfucker in there to divide the country and polarize everybody against each other. You see all these Nazis and white power motherfuckers getting behind him. The black racists are in there, too. The ignorant people are going to rally in a circumstance like this.

But there is also a lot of positive shit going on. I try to help people with my books and everything else that I do and to try to help people get to a better place. I think there is some crazy shit going down and it has been happening since the ‘80s. There has always been governments lying to people- This whole nationalism bullshit that has happened for a while. Do I love America? Sure. I love everybody in it. It’s the government that’s fucked up.

Do you think people can change the world, or country, as a whole, or to paraphrase Penny Rimbaud, can one only change his immediate surroundings? Listen, anybody that is trying to change what these people are doing catches a bullet in the head. That’s what these people do. I think it’s up to people to change themselves. That’s how the world is going to become a better place. They are so deeply embedded in the bullshit and these ruling families- this new world order is bullshit. Obama quoted it. The Bushes quoted it. Everybody slept on Obama thinking, “oh yeah. He’s the greatest thing since sliced bread,” and the hope and bullshit that he peddled.” Like I said, Obama was the gateway drug for Trump.

You’re not going to change because some corrupt ass politician in Washington DC or anywhere has your best interest in mind- they don’t. They are bought and paid for. The real change is when people change their consciousness. That’s where it’s at for me. I don’t give a fuck about politics. I’ve never cared about it. I don’t debate people on politics. I’ve never fuckin’ voted. I don’t give a fuck. That shit don’t change nothin’. This motherfucker Obama got the Nobel peace prize and he dropped more bombs than anybody- Drone attacks and all the shit he got away with, and nobody says shit because he’s black. That was a perfect move by these people. They changed the dealer, but the deck was the same.

Nobody that gets in that office is going to change anything. It’s up to us to change ourselves.

Now I believe that animal issues and veganism are pretty important to you-- It’s not just that- I don’t even call myself a vegan, ever. That’s just the diet I choose to eat- a plant-based diet. The motherfuckers that get caught up in the food. It’s not about that. The food is not the end all. It is the step in the progress of one’s development. To maintain slaughterhouses- watch the move Cowspiracy. It’s destroying the fucking planet. How are we leaving the planet for future generations because you want to go eat a hamburger? And all of these people, the millions and billions of people who are eating animals, you’re actually fucking this planet up for future generations.

Now you can eat veggie burgers that bleed. Why the fuck do you need hamburgers? They had veggie burgers on the Today show and they said pick the real meat and every fuckin’ time they picked the veggie-based meat. Why do you need to slaughter all these animals? There’s collective karma for that.

Then there’s the environment- they’re tearing down the rainforest. They’re saying the ocean could become barren by 2050 due to all the overfishing that we are doing and all the nitrogen being released into the water due to the run off of the slaughter houses. This shit has got to go somewhere. For every reason, I choose to eat a plant based diet. For lack of a better term, I live a vegan-base lifestyle. I don’t wear animal products or cleaning products. Everything I use is not animal based and doesn’t torture animals. That shit is fucked up. We’re gonna look a hundred years from now and say,“motherfuckers had their head sup their fuckin’ asses! What a fucked up group of people!” That’s how this world today is going to be looked at.

If anybody goes and sees what they do to these animals, you really have to have a screw lose to eat meat after that. I just say to people, watch three movies, Earthlings, Cowspiracy, and Forks Over Knives. Another one just came out- What the Health.

You wanna be punk rock? There’s nothing more punk rock than realizing it’s a conspiracy to make you sick because the same motherfuckers that are behind the American Cancer Society are in cahoots with food companies and pharmaceutical companies to make you sick- they are killing your family, killing your relatives, killing your friends, and then they turn around and put you on all this chemo and drugs and everything under the sun. It’s all this racket that we don’t need to be involved in.

I don’t take medication for anything. I’m turning 55 in a couple of months. I just completed my ninth ironman. I barely ever get fuckin’ sick. I’m out there training in the gym. I still do my martial arts and whatever else I do. Box, anything I want to do because I invested in my health. You have to invest in your health.

There’s a disconnect called specism. Why is Fido laying in bed lickin’ his fuckin’ balls and we’ll wipe its ass with baby wipes and then we’ll go eat animals that are being tortured their entire life. What species of animal drinks fuckin’ milk when they get to be 40 or 50 years old. Milk is for baby cows. That’s why everyone is getting fat and sick. You know the latest statistics- In Harlem and the Bronx 80% of African American male are obese. 80 fuckin’ percent! What the fuck is going on?! One out of three Americans are obese. Go to the Midwest. I travel all over the planet. I’m seeing it everywhere now.

This corporate greed is spreading. Just keep pushing the fast food and the nasty food and all this shit- people are going to swell up and not even look human anymore. They look half fuckin’ cow and half human becuase they are putting hormones in everything. You can’t escape it. You can’t. As much as they tell you this mea is “organic”- listen, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.

Everything we do, we are leaving a fucked up footprint on this planet. Turn on the 6 o’clock news. Every other fuckin’ commercial is for KFC, the bucket and this and that, and the next commercial is drugs for hypertension and gout and IBS, and Crohns- this is all from glyphosphate which Monsanto snuck into the food supply via roundup. That shit is not supposed to be in our food.

Aspartame is in everything. It’s a neurotoxin. We are consuming shit that is killing us. But, People are waking up. Now that plant based food is spreading like wildfire. People are waking up.

I care about animals and I care about people and I care about the planet, and that’s why I choose to eat a plant based lifestyle and not support those industries that do that other fucked up shit.

The reason that I bring this up is because- and I’ll just say it- you’re a pretty tough guy, John. You had some pretty hard years as a kid, as a teenager you saw some rough things, and in the punk scene you had some real challenges. So, I think you’re pretty tough or however people want to phrase it- but, what people talk less about you, is that as seen by the environmental topics, and the animal rights topics, is that you are a pretty compassionate person. Of course! People write me all the time. I go speak at schools. I speak at prisons. I don’t even get paid for it. People write me all the time. I give them meal plans. I opened a yoga center for the homeless for ten years and spent my life savings. I just don’t tell people about the shit that I do.

Listen, having compassion don’t mean that you are weak. It’s all these fake ass tough guys that think they are badass and “beat everybody down” and in reality, its bullshit. Those guys crumble like cheap suit when the shit hits the fan. It’s always the talkers that fold. I’ve been on the streets. ‘76 , I grew up all fucked up my whole life. I’ve seen people get murdered in front of me. Like KRS-one says, “the real bad boys move in silence. “The motherfuckers that are always talking are only trying to convince themselves. And convince you.

Real compassion means I give a fuck and I’ll help you and I don’t have to go telling everybody what I’m doing. I don’t have to go on Facebook and say all the shit. The universe, God, Krishna or whoever you choose to believe, it’s keeping score. Your karmic bank account keeps score of everything. So, of course I care abut people because I lost a lot of people to drugs.

I mean, I shouldn’t even be here doing this interview with you. 18 months I was doing crack and freebase and robbing drug dealers- there’s a reason I’m still here and I don’t even take that for stuff for granted.

Along those lines, you're also involved with Prabhupada’s teachings and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness-- I’m involved in exposing the fucking corrupt people that have hijacked that movement. The people that follow that are good people, but they are following these jackals. One of them paid for a contract hit against someone that was speaking out against them. These people are the worst of the worst. I just finished this book on PMA- I say that there are always wolves in sheep clothing in the areas of self improvement. There will always be jackals and wolves dressed like lambs waiting to pounce, to exploit them, and take their shit. That’s not what Prabhupada was about. Everybody loved Prabhupada, because Prabhupada would cook for 60 people, serve them all, clean out all the pots, before he would even take one grain of rice and slept on the floor and had no possessions.

Prabhupada is my spiritual teacher- those books saved my life, OK? This is not some religion. This is not some cult. This is Vedic science from hundreds and thousands of years ago- the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Nectar of Devotion- these literatures are in Harvard university, recognized by scholars. How many books did Prabupada translate from Sanskrit and Bengali? He’s done more than anyone and never to exploit anyone. He had no bank account.

These guys had millions of dollars stashed away. They just sold the Brooklyn Temple for 60 million dollars. They are just scammers and they have to be exposed. That’s what I do- ever since I found out in ‘83 and ‘84 that these guys are scammers and are ripping people off. They molested the children. They’ve done way worse than the Catholic Church or Scientology or any of these fuckin’ cults- and they get way with it.

So, considering your beliefs and Prabhupada’s teachings, do you think that, that path works for everyone, or that, that path works for you, but everyone has their own individual path? You know, no two paths start the same. But here’s what I say. It’s a science. You apply the formula, you get the result. Apply the formula and see what happens. It’s all about mindfulness and mediation. It could be yoga, meditation, it could be anything for anyone. But if you don’t have an outlet for mindfulness, meditation, looking inside of yourself, you’re going to be one unhappy motherfucker.

You may have some illusion about yourself, but human begins are made for higher consciousness, to search out truth. When you are not doing that, you are missing your calling. The material world is hanging in lamentation. You go for one thing after another after another and you’ll never be satisfied. You go on to the next. It’s getting worse and worse and worse. This is a society of consumerism. It’s becoming a miserable society and a sorrowful society and it’s the most over-medicated society in the history of this fucking planet. Look at the antidepressants and drugs that people take to try to pull some pleasure out of this material world. Look at the gaping hole inside yourself. That’s what you need to fix. I don’t tell anybody that anybody’s way is right for them. It’s time and circumstance. I came to my way- I lived as a monk for two years. I know the process works. I applied it as a formula.

One thing that’s interesting is that on the new album, you had Nick Oliveri on bass. At least a few years ago, he was living a pretty extreme lifestyle that may not have been as disciplined as the way that you look at life, now. Nick’s a great guy. He shows up. He’s a professional musician. We haven’t toured yet, but I fuckin’ love the guy. Joey Castillo, too. Me and Todd- we wanted to play together since the ‘80s. We go into LA to do this record and Nick says, “you know the Cro-Mags video for ‘We Gotta Know’ when the guy with the long blonde hair runs into the Santa Monica Civic Center at the beginning of the video? That’s me!’ I never knew that. Nick is a fuckin’ solid guy. We have all had issues and we all have done crazy shit. We’re not cut from the same cloth as the people in society. I’ve lived outside the realm for so long. Some people are just satisfied to live days of quiet desperation. These people in this band are all risk takers.