They’ve gone from fighting in a moshpit to fighting in a courtroom.
A founder of hardcore New York punk band Cro-Mags sued his ex-bandmate in Manhattan federal court Monday for allegedly ripping off the group’s trademark name to publicize a show.
Former lead singer John Joseph McGowan used the name “Cro-Mags Jam” to promote an April 23 benefit concert in the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park — causing confusion about who was actually performing, according to the filing.
The suit, filed by a company controlled by founding bassist Harley Flanagan, alleges the use of the phrase violated a 2019 settlement agreement that stated he controlled the rights to the Cro-Mags name.
McGowan and another former member of the group, meanwhile, were allowed to use the name “Cro-Mags JM” under the terms of the deal.
“The impermissible phrase Cro-Mags JAM suggests that Mr. Flanagan, the original member of Cro-Mags, would be conducting a jam session with other musicians—which is obviously not the case,” the suit states.
“This clearly constitutes unfair competition, trademark infringement, and a material breach of the Settlement Agreement, as it is an impermissible use of Plaintiff’s CROMAGS Mark,” the filing adds.
The lawsuit is the latest salvo in a long, bitter and sometimes violent beef that’s played out in recent years among the band’s founding members.
Flanagan has claimed that Cro-Mags was solely his idea when he formed the band in 1981. He filed a federal trademark infringement against other members, including McGowen, in 2018, claiming they took over the band in 2002 and used the Cro-Mags name without permission.
In 2012, Flanagan allegedly stabbed two other members of the group in the backstage area at the “CBGB Festival” at Webster Hall.
“They think they’re going to play my f–-king music that I helped write?” Flanagan allegedly seethed before the fight, The Post reported at the time.
Later that year, Flanagan said in an interview that the charges were dismissed and he’d been acting in self-defense.
After the backstage dustup, McGowan told The Post that Flanagan had been telling people he planned to attack his former bandmates while maintaining he was the sole founder of the Cro-Mags.
“He tells everybody he founded the band,” McGowan said. “We founded the band.”
Before the April show in Tompkins Square Park, Flanagan’s wife, Laura Flanagan, wrote a cease-and-desist letter requesting McGowan not use the name to promote the concert.
“We wish you success with your benefit. If there was ever any interest in Mr. McGowan performing in a charitable benefit with the Registrant and Cro-Mags, that is an opportunity that we would be happy to discuss; the offer has been extended many times in the recent past,” the letter states.
An attorney for Flanagan did not return a request for comment.
McGowan could not immediately be reached.