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It’s a miracle that John Joseph McGowan isn’t dead or in prison.  He’s escaped AR-15 gun shots from cocaine dealers, managed to just miss being arrested while AWOL, and instigated many fights himself while he was a crackhead with a violent streak. It’s hard to imagine that a human could have endured so much adversity in his life and even more inspiring, come out the other side helping change peoples’ lives for the better.  JJ’s early days began with being sexually and physically abused in foster homes as a young child.  He ended up homeless living in burnt out buildings in the streets of New York City selling drugs and committing robberies and acts of violence in the 1970’s.  After being incarcerated as a juvenile, he was given the option to spend 4 years in the Navy instead of go to prison.  His drug and alcohol addiction did not end, nor did his fighting habits.  He even was smuggling drugs from Jamaica on his naval ship.  After getting in a fight on his ship, he was arrested, but a tooth infection sent him to the hospital.  During this time, he was able to escape and was AWOL for 15 years.  While AWOL, he dove into punk rock scene in the early 80’s after meeting H.R. from the Bad Brains and eventually started a few of his own band- Bloodclot and the legendary Cromags . After a 2 year stint with crack and cocaine and eventually finding his rock bottom, the tides finally began to turn. With a deep interest in philosophy and previous life experiences with Hare Krishnas, he found himself at the temple and committed to getting clean.  Not only did he beat his drug addiction and dealings, but he found Bhakti yoga, a vegan lifestyle, and spirituality that gave him a new sense of purpose: to be of service to others. John Joseph also has completed 10+ Iron Triathlons, still tours with his band, and has written 3 books- The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, Meat is For Pussies, and The PMA Effect.  Last year, he worked on a program called 30 to Life that provides housing and healing techniques to inmates who have been incarcerated and are now paroled after doing very long prison sentences. If you like this episode and want more, he has appeared on Joe Rogan, 6x on the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof and so many more. Explicit language warning

Topics Discussed in the Podcast 

  • why it’s important to do the thing that scares you
  • Rich Roll’s influence
  • how he found Ironman
  • from juvenile to the navy to AWOL
  • how to deal with fear when people are after you
  • how he became a Hare Krishna monk
  • how he it rock bottom and quit drugs
  • what he stands for these days


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