Skip to main content

[EXPLICIT] Punk Icon, Spiritual Warrior, Triathlete & PlantPower Iconoclast

By July 30, 2013August 7th, 202343 Comments

John Joseph is a true American original. John Joseph defines hardcore. John Joseph is a spiritual warrior. And he’s got a message for you.

First, let me say that this episode is EXPLICIT. John simply can’t be edited or muzzled, and you wouldn’t want him that way anyway. He has a strong preference for four letter words. He drops the f-bomb about a thousand times during the interview and recounts in technicolor detail the horrific, grizzly reality of his abusive upbringing, his criminal background and past penchant for violence in the underbelly of Manhattan’s lower eat side in the 1970’s and ’80’s.

So I’m saying it now — if you are easily offended, or this just isn’t your cup of tea, then this may not be the episode for you. That’s fine. Let’s just say this one just isn’t safe for the workplace.

Disclaimer aside, I love this guy. It’s rare to meet someone so raw; real and authentic. Unafraid of life and certainly not shy when it comes to speaking his mind. And in this interview he lays his truth bare. With John, what you see and hear is exactly who he is. And his message — and life lessons — are amongst the most powerful I have ever heard.

Conceived and raised in abuse. Deprived of opportunity. Left to his own devices. John turned to violence and drugs to make his way in the world. A path that led him to violence and crime — teen years spent as a drug mule; in and out of of foster care; and stints in juvi and jail. To avoid long-term incarceration, he enlisted in the Navy, only to go AWOL after a fight.

Fleeing the law and rudderless, John found redemption in the hardcore punk rock scene flourishing on the lower east side of Manhattan in the 1970’s. And under the wing of Bad Brains’ frontman H.R. — a devotee of Rastafari — John began to explore not just his musicianship, but his spirituality as well. A journey that not only birthed the Cro-Mags — one of the most iconic and influential hardcore punk bands of the 70’s —  but led to life in a Hare Krishna monastery, where he found his spiritual salvation, developing his life-long love of meditation, yoga, sacred chanting, service to others — and a diet devoid of animal products.

I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who has successfully transcended circumstances as horrific as his upbringing and lived to tell about it. And although John may have been educated on the streets, his spiritual acumen is legit — and vast. Make no mistake, this guys walks his walk. John is the true Thug Kitchen.

During this conversation we tap into it all, culminating in his newfound love for triathlon. And how his deep connection to physical pursuit is a mere extension of his ongoing quest spiritual growth – something I can relate to entirely.

I’m proud of this interview. And I’m proud to call John my friend. But again – this is a super intense conversation. Listen at your own risk. But I hope you do.

NOTE: Not for nothing, John is correct – just seven months before lining up at Badwater, David Goggins did indeed break the Guinness 24-hour Pull-Up World Record with 4030 pull-ups!  To see a video of the effort, click HERE.


So proud to announce that Julie and I – in partnership with— just launched our comprehensive online course covering everything you need to know to get — and stay — plantpowered. The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. 3 hours and 22 minutes of online video, broken down into 35 separate 5-15 minute videos, divided into modules and sections that address all the subjects, challenges and recipes you need to begin.  In addition, the program includes a variety of tools for download, including our Jai Seed eCookbook, additional recipes, a comprehensive grocery list and kitchen utensil guide and a variety of resources and additional information on food and nutrition.  Not enough? You also get exclusive membership to an online community forum where we address your questions, provide additional support and allow you to interact with other members to share your journey.

To find out more and preview an introductory video, click HERE.

You are one click away from changing your life.


Finding Ultra* recently hit bookstores and online retailers in paperback. And it’s cheap – just $12.45 on Amazon* last time I checked.  What the heck, right?  That’s like a one cold pressed juice at Whole Foods; and will hopefully be even a bit more nourishing. Check it out. Already read it? Then tell a friend.


*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Thanks for listening!

As always, thank you for all the ongoing support.  You guys are everything.


  • Jon says:

    Amazing podcast. He’s as real as it gets and speaks from the heart. Love it all. I mean I fucking love it fucking all

  • Brad Capello says:

    one of the your best episodes so far! John Joseph is legit!

  • Greg White says:

    Good stuff… he speaks the raw truth. Thanks!

  • JasonRH says:

    This was pure fucking gold. What a journey this guy has had, can’t wait to read that book.

  • Amy says:

    I love it!!! Love John Joseph, his book, your book,
    thanks for the interview!!

  • Randy says:

    Thanks for posting such great content, I will need to read John’s book.

  • Justin says:

    That was a gamechanger Rich… Handled so well… Thank you Rich, Julie and John.

  • Stu says:

    Hello from oz. Great podcast Rich, most entertaining yet! Loved the aussie accent attempt from John too!!!

  • TeeL says:

    Best episode yet. Passionate words spoken from the heart. John you are a fucking legend. Thanks Rich and Julie for bringing the noise. Listen and learn pussies!

  • jaimela says:

    Loved the John Joseph episode. Cant say enough.

  • Ryan Sell says:

    best podcast yet dude.

  • Ignacio Soto says:

    This was a good one, very entertaining!

  • ultrastevep says:

    Loved the podcast, Rich….unfortunetly, I went to buy the book and it’s our fo stock everywhere!

  • Jennifer says:

    Loved this interview. I have trouble relating to people that come from privledge and feel isolated in the plant based world, but not anymore. I can’t wait to read meat is for pussies! Thank you rich for being diverse and welcoming to all spreading the message!

  • Julia says:

    That was so fucking punk rock! He is a true American gem & thanks for bringing his voice to your audience. 14 mile run with a strained quad & laughing the whole way. Meat is for pussies & can’t wait to get the book.

  • richroll66 says:

    Hey Steve – yeah not surprised – he is currently working on a new version of the book, which will be released wide by a major publisher. But it will be a while before this is out. You might be able to buy one directly from him if you message him on FB. Also – check out Evolution of a Cro-Mag – but only if you want your mind blown:

  • richroll66 says:

    Thanks for the great response everyone. I love Johnny Blodclot – glad to hear you do too now. He’s the man! Will definitely be a recurring guest on future episodes

  • shannon says:

    So good! Amazing couple of hours, thanks Rich.

  • Robert Oetjen says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Enjoyed every minute of this podcast over the better part of a 3+ hour run through forested trails of southern Estonia (!). What a gift to be able to “join in” on such artful conversation with awesome people. Yeah, John Joseph dropped a ton of “f” bombs, but revealed an arsenal of priceless wisdom, inspiration and passion as well. By the end I couldn’t help but think he even made the “f” word seem beautiful. Keep the high gear going, this stuff is life-changing.

  • ultrastevep says:

    Thanks, Rich….I don’t do FB, so I guess I’ll wait for his new release.

  • JimBerridge says:

    Rich, Julie – amazing podcast. Thanks for all the authenticity. Where do you find such inspiring characters. Keep up the great work!!!!!!!!!!

  • Monique says:

    Oh man, this ranks as one of my favourite podcasts! The shit just got real with John Joseph!

  • Run Off The Grid says:

    I saw the Cro-Mags in NYC at L’Amour in Booklyn back in 1987? I was fortunate to see that show. That’s when The Cro-Mags ruled the NYHC scene. All these years later I get to hear JJ on a fitness podcast? How cool is that.

  • Nicole Duran says:

    LOVE IT! x KEEPING IT PUNK ROCK w RASTA ROOTS &* SUPERFOODS! ~ thats the way!! x KEEP IT COMING!! the podcast is getting better & better & more exciting everyday! x

  • Scott Ormond says:

    Dear John Joseph. I respect your past and was so intrigued by your experience and true stories. The accent was awesome!! Don’t get to hear that. You have overcome and continue to do so. Very inspiring. Now, I ask you to make one more step in your personal progress- give up the F bomb thing.

    Here’s what happens with that word. Your intention is likely to add impact and drive home a point, sound street, be authentic, and talk like you were raised. I get it, but it’s a mistake. It has the opposite effect. It’s laziness. Used sparingly and with emotion the F bomb works. Used every other word, it is simply annoying to a great many people. Those you could reach and need your profound message may reject it due to this one negative. Here you are this amazing guy who has overcome profound trouble and yet you maintain this one ugly habit. Please consider cutting way back on the F word, it does you no good. It sends you and me in the wrong direction. It doesn’t build and motivate, it destroys. Overcome this addiction and we will see you in a beautiful new light.

    I talk to myself as I also have a swearing problem. I am working on it. Wish you the best John. Luv Black Flag. Luv Henry’s spoken word tour. Never met anyone like you. Thank you for sharing your life with us. All my best brother. scottyO-Aspen

  • EJ Taylor says:

    I loved this podcast! Including the F-Bomb. It helps show a real side to the people being interviewed. Honestly if he didn’t use it there would be a fake sense of reality, like someone is putting on a show, and that’s not what I am here for. I found John Joseph very inspiring and his high energy pumped me up! Thanks for doing what you do Rich, I love it!

  • JimBerridge says:

    I agree with Scott – the F bomb just dulls the message and gets in the way. John Joseph could have even more impact without it.

  • Green Juice A Day says:

    Loved this podcast. Bring him back.

  • Tommi Forss says:

    What a Great episode! Really kept me awake while driving back from Tri race.

  • mwood343 says:

    LOVE this podcast! as a firefighter paramedic trying to go plant powered it was awesome to bare some of the steryotypes and put them in their place! This guy was awesome!

  • Zack Maddox says:

    Rich: Read your book two summers ago and have been listening to the podcast since day one. I’ve learned something and grown from each one. This John Joseph podcast is something special. I’ve never felt so inspired to dig deeper and go the distance as I do now after listening. I’m a 42 year old childhood cancer survivor with heart problems whose health has been helped so much by what you’re doing. Thank you, and thank John Joseph.

  • Lucy says:

    this is the best podcast you have done!
    had know idea who this guy was but now a huge fan of ‘bloodclot’
    what an amazing guy!!! love that he can talk to all sorts and hold their attention
    he is a true inspiration, wanted to buy his book, its sold out right now not suprisinigly
    dude you need to take back orders but will be looking out for it as really want to hear yr whole story
    peace plants x

  • ann says:

    Wow! Awesome podcast…I’ve been listening to your podcast since day one and this is the best one yet…
    What I have liked about your podcasts is the variety – There is always something interesting to hear. I really appreciate hearing different perspectives.
    – I continue to learn something new on each show.
    With that, I had no idea who John Joseph was until now. His message is truly gripping and inspirational ….I had no problem at all with the language –
    Thanks for bringing him on the show and Thanks for what you are doing Rich!

  • Phil Cole says:

    His book is sold out, or something. I want to leave this laying on my desk at work for all the red-state hunters to stumble across. Guerrilla messaging!

  • Sam R says:

    If you’re listening to that podcast and the main thing you’re taking out of it is the use of one word you need to listen again.

  • theBernd says:

    Cro Mags was more in the 80s (I think the first demo is from 82 and i if I remember correctly Harley said he was 16 at that time). Anyway, great band. Sad I never had the chance to see them with John Joseph. Not as sad as the recent Bad Brains performances though (fortunately we have You Tube now)…

  • I think it’s great that he speaks unapologetically in his own voice. Perhaps that voice will appeal to certain people in a way no else can.

    And above all, I think it’s great to be who are regardless of how people may or may not react. He is, after all, a punk icon. And what can be more punk than that?

  • jason says:

    Why can’t I fast forward or rewind? I did not have time to listen to the whole podcast. I don’t want to listen to a whole hour and a half to listen to the last hour. Help please

  • richroll66 says:

    Hi Jason – thanks for the comment. We just launched this website 1 day ago. The audio player is custom – we know we need to add FF / rewind capability to it but it might take a week or so before we have the functionality live. Apologies for inconveniencing you. In the meantime, you can always listen to this on my iOS app or on Soundcloud, both of which will allow you to FF. Alos you can download the mp3 and use whatever you would like to play it & FF it. Thanks for giving the episode a shot. JJ is great and this is an amazing conversation.

  • jason says:

    Thank you for getting back. Like your new site. I have listened to the JJ interview about five or six times. This was a life changing interview for me since the first time I heard it 6 weeks ago.
    I listened to half of it with a friend. Thank you for the options.

  • Josh Meckel says:

    JOHN IS AWESOME!!! I cannot wait to meet him someday! 🙂

Leave a Reply