Crass

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Crass
Crass pete steve andy.png
Crass on stage in Cumbria in May 1984, with the slogan "there is no authority but yourself" in the background. From left to right: Pete Wright, Steve Ignorant, and N.A. Palmer.
Background information
Origin Epping, Essex, England
Genres
Years active1977–1984
Labels
Associated acts
Past members

Crass were an English art collective and punk rock band formed in 1977 [1] [2] who promoted anarchism as a political ideology, a way of life and a resistance movement. Crass popularised the anarcho-punk movement of the punk subculture, advocating direct action, animal rights, feminism, anti-fascism, and environmentalism. The band used and advocated a DIY ethic approach to its albums, sound collages, leaflets, and films.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.

Anarchism is an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that advocates self-managed, self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions and the rejection of hierarchies those societies view as unjust. These institutions are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as distinct institutions based on non-hierarchical or free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful.

A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objectives through either the use of nonviolent resistance, or the use of force, whether armed or unarmed. In many cases, as for example in Norway in the Second World War, a resistance movement may employ both violent and non-violent methods, usually operating under different organizations and acting in different phases or geographical areas within a country.

Contents

Crass spray-painted stencilled graffiti messages in the London Underground system and on advertising billboards, coordinated squats and organised political action. The band expressed its ideals by dressing in black, military-surplus-style clothing and using a stage backdrop amalgamating icons of perceived authority such as the Christian cross, the swastika, the Union Jack and the ouroboros.

Graffiti Drawings and paintings on walls

Graffiti is writing or drawings made on a wall or other surface, usually without permission and within public view. Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.

London Underground rapid transit system in London, United Kingdom

The London Underground is a public rapid transit system serving London, England and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

Squatting The occupation of derelict land or an empty building without the permission of the owner

Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use.

The band was critical of the punk subculture [3] and youth culture in general. Nevertheless, the anarchist ideas that they promoted have maintained a presence in punk. [4] Due to their free experimentation and use of tape collages, graphics, spoken word releases, poetry and improvisation, they have been associated with avant-punk [5] [6] [7] and art punk. [8]

Youth culture the way adolescents live, and the norms, values, and practices they share

Youth culture is the way adolescents live, and the norms, values, and practices they share. Culture is the shared symbolic systems, and processes of maintaining and transforming those systems. Youth culture differs from the culture of older generations.

Avant-punk is a punk music style characterized by "screeching experimentation," and a term by which critics used to describe the wave of American punk bands from the 1970s. It originated with the New York-based rock band the Velvet Underground, while antecedents included the Yardbirds, the early Kinks, and garage band one-shots collected on the Nuggets series of compilation albums. According to critic Robert Christgau, between 1966 and 1975, the only notable acts who could be categorized as "avant-punk" were the Velvets, MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the Modern Lovers, and the New York Dolls.

Art punk is a subset of punk in which artists go beyond the genre's rudimentary garage rock and are considered more sophisticated than their peers. These groups generated punk's aesthetic of being simple, offensive, and free-spirited, in contrast to the angry, working-class audience generated by pub rock. In the late 1970s, the term was used as a pejorative for punk bands who were out of step with the genre's ideologies.

History

1977: Origins

Steve Ignorant onstage, June 1981 Crass steve 1981.jpg
Steve Ignorant onstage, June 1981

The band was based around Dial House, an open-house community near Epping, Essex, and formed when Dial House founder Penny Rimbaud began jamming with Steve Ignorant [9] (who was staying in the house at the time). Ignorant was inspired to form a band after seeing The Clash perform at Colston Hall in Bristol, [10] whilst Rimbaud, a veteran of avant garde performance art groups such as EXIT and Ceres Confusion, [11] was working on his book Reality Asylum. They produced "So What?" and "Do They Owe Us A Living?" as a drum-and-vocal duo. [12] They briefly called themselves Stormtrooper [13] before choosing Crass in reference to a line in the David Bowie song "Ziggy Stardust" ("The kids was just crass"). [14]

Commune Community of people living together, sharing common interests

A commune is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, often having common values and beliefs, as well as shared property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work, income or assets.

Epping, Essex Town and parish in Essex, UK

Epping is a market town and civil parish in the Epping Forest district of the County of Essex, England. It is located 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Loughton, 5 miles (8 km) south of Harlow and 11 miles (18 km) northwest of Brentwood.

Penny Rimbaud writer, poet, philosopher, painter, musician and activist

Jeremy John Ratter, better known as Penny "Lapsang" Rimbaud, is a writer, poet, philosopher, painter, musician and activist. He was a member of the performance art groups EXIT and Ceres Confusion, and in 1972 was co-founder of the Stonehenge Free Festival, together with Phil Russell aka Wally Hope. In 1977, alongside Steve Ignorant, he co-founded and played drums in the seminal anarchist punk band Crass, who disbanded in 1984. Up until 2000 he devoted himself almost entirely to writing, returning to the public platform in 2001 as a performance poet working alongside Australian saxophonist Louise Elliott and a wide variety of jazz musicians under the umbrella of Penny Rimbaud's Last Amendment.

Other friends and household members joined (including Gee Vaucher, Pete Wright, N. A. Palmer and Steve Herman), and Crass played their first live gig at a squatted street festival in Huntley Street, North London. They planned to play five songs, but a neighbour "pulled the plug" after three. [15] Guitarist Steve Herman left the band soon afterwards, and was replaced by Phil Clancey, aka Phil Free. [16] Joy De Vivre and Eve Libertine also joined around this time. Other early Crass performances included a four-date tour of New York City, [17] a festival gig in Covent Garden [18] and regular appearances with the U.K. Subs at The White Lion, Putney and Action Space in central London. The latter performances were often poorly attended: "The audience consisted mostly of us when the Subs played and the Subs when we played". [19]

Gee Vaucher British musician

Gee Vaucher is a visual artist who was born in 1945 in Dagenham, Essex, England.

Peter Wright, was bass guitar player and vocalist for anarchist punk band Crass, from 1977 until 1984. Occasionally he is credited as Pete Wrong on the band's record covers. After the dissolution of Crass he formed the performance art duo, Judas 2.,

N. A. Palmer British musician and artist

Andrew "Andy" Palmer, also known as N. A. Palmer, is a British musician and artist. He was the rhythm guitarist for anarcho punk band Crass.

Crass played two gigs at the Roxy Club in Covent Garden, London. [18] According to Rimbaud, the band arrived drunk at the second show and were ejected from the stage; this inspired their song, "Banned from the Roxy", [20] and Rimbaud's essay for Crass' self-published magazine International Anthem, "Crass at the Roxy". [21] After the incident the band took themselves more seriously, avoiding alcohol and cannabis before shows and wearing black, military surplus-style clothing on and offstage. [22]

The Roxy was a fashionable nightclub located at 41–43 Neal Street in London's Covent Garden, known for hosting the flowering British punk music scene in its infancy.

Crass logo The Crass logo.png
Crass logo

They introduced their stage backdrop, a logo designed by Rimbaud's friend Dave King. [23] This gave the band a militaristic image, which led to accusations of fascism. [24] Crass countered that their uniform appearance was intended to be a statement against the "cult of personality", so (in contrast to many rock bands) no member would be identified as the "leader". [24]

Conceived and intended as cover artwork for a self-published pamphlet version of Rimbaud's Christ's Reality Asylum, [25] the Crass logo was an amalgam of several "icons of authority" including the Christian cross, the swastika, the Union Jack and a two-headed Ouroboros (symbolising the idea that power will eventually destroy itself). [26] [27] Using such deliberately mixed messages was part of Crass' strategy of presenting themselves as a "barrage of contradictions", [28] challenging audiences to (in Rimbaud's words) "make your own fucking minds up". [29] This included using loud, aggressive music to promote a pacifist message, [30] a reference to their Dadaist, performance-art backgrounds and situationist ideas. [31]

The band eschewed elaborate stage lighting during live sets, preferring to play under 40-watt household light bulbs; the technical difficulties of filming under such lighting conditions partly explains why there is little live footage of Crass. [32] They pioneered multimedia presentation, using video technology (back-projected films and video collages by Mick Duffield and Gee Vaucher) to enhance their performances, and also distributed leaflets and handouts explaining anarchist ideas to their audiences. [33]

1978–1979: The Feeding of the 5000 and Crass Records

Crass' first release was The Feeding of the 5000 (an 18-track, 12" 45 rpm EP on the Small Wonder label) in 1978. Workers at the record-pressing plant refused to handle it due to the allegedly blasphemous content of the song "Asylum", [34] [35] and the record was released without it. In its place were two minutes of silence, entitled "The Sound of Free Speech". This incident prompted Crass to set up their own independent record label, Crass Records, to prevent Small Wonder from being placed in a compromising position and to retain editorial control over their material. [36]

A re-recorded, extended version of "Asylum", renamed "Reality Asylum", was shortly afterwards released on Crass Records as a 7" single and Crass were investigated by the police due to the song's lyrics. The band were interviewed at their Dial House home by Scotland Yard's vice squad, and threatened with prosecution; however, the case was dropped. [19] "Reality Asylum" retailed at 45p (when most other singles cost about 90p), [37] and was the first example of Crass' "pay no more than..." policy: issuing records as inexpensively as possible. The band failed to factor value added tax into their expenses, causing them to lose money on every copy sold. [38] A year later Crass Records released new pressings of "The Feeding of the 5000" (subtitled "The Second Sitting"), restoring the original version of "Asylum".

1980: Stations of the Crass and Bloody Revolutions

Crass, 1981; N. A. Palmer (left) and Steve Ignorant pictured at Digbeth Civic Hall, Birmingham Crass3.jpg
Crass, 1981; N. A. Palmer (left) and Steve Ignorant pictured at Digbeth Civic Hall, Birmingham

In 1979 the band released their second album ( Stations of the Crass ), financed with a loan from Poison Girls, [39] a band with whom they regularly appeared. This was a double album, with three sides of new material and a fourth side recorded live at the Pied Bull in Islington.

The next Crass single, 1980's "Bloody Revolutions", was a benefit release with Poison Girls which raised £20,000 to fund the Wapping Autonomy Centre. [23] The words were a critique (from an anarchist-pacifist perspective) of the traditional Marxist view of revolutionary struggle, and were (in part) a response to violence marring a gig at Conway Hall in London's Red Lion Square at which both bands performed in September 1979. [40] The show was intended as a benefit for the so-called "Persons Unknown", a group of anarchists facing conspiracy charges. [41] During the performance Socialist Workers Party supporters and other anti-fascists attacked British Movement neo-Nazis, triggering violence. [42] Crass afterwards argued that the leftists were largely to blame for the fighting, and organizations such as Rock Against Racism were causing audiences to become polarised into left- and right-wing factions. [43] Others (including the anarchist organisation Class War) were critical of Crass's position, stating that "like Kropotkin, their politics are up shit creek". [44] Many of the band's punk followers felt that they failed to understand the violence to which they were subjected from the right. [45]

Crass singer Joy De Vivre, 1984 Crass Joy.jpg
Crass singer Joy De Vivre, 1984

"Rival Tribal Rebel Revel", a flexi disc single given away with the Toxic Grafity[ sic ] fanzine, was also a commentary about the events at Conway Hall attacking the mindless violence and tribalistic aspects of contemporary youth culture. [46] This was followed by the single, "Nagasaki Nightmare/Big A Little A". The strongly anti-nuclear lyrics of the first song were reinforced by the fold-out-sleeve artwork. It featured an article by Mike Holderness of Peace News magazine connecting the atomic power industry and the manufacture of nuclear weapons, [47] and a large poster-style map of nuclear installations in the UK. The other side of the record, "Big A Little A", was a statement of the band's anti-statist and individualist anarchist philosophy:

"Be exactly who you want to be, do what you want to do / I am he and she is she but you're the only you" [48]

1981: Penis Envy

Loving ad for "Our Wedding" Crass in Loving magazine.png
Loving ad for "Our Wedding"

Crass released their third album, Penis Envy , in 1981. This marked a departure from the hardcore-punk image The Feeding of the 5000 and Stations of the Crass had given the group. It featured more-complex musical arrangements and female vocals by Eve Libertine and Joy De Vivre (singer Steve Ignorant was credited as "not on this recording"). The album addressed feminist issues, attacking marriage and sexual repression.

The last track on Penis Envy, a parody of an MOR love song entitled "Our Wedding", was made available as a white flexi disc to readers of Loving, a teenage romance magazine. Crass tricked the magazine into offering the disc, posing as "Creative Recording And Sound Services". Loving accepted the offer, telling their readers that the free Crass flexi would make "your wedding day just that bit extra special". [49] A tabloid controversy resulted when the hoax was exposed, with the News of the World stating that the title of the flexi's originating album was "too obscene to print". [50] Despite Loving's annoyance, Crass had broken no laws. [51]

The album was banned by the retailer HMV, [52] and in 1984 copies of the album were seized from the Eastern Bloc record shop by Greater Manchester Police under the direction of Chief Constable James Anderton. [53] The shop owners were charged with displaying "obscene articles for publication for gain". [54] The judge ruled against Crass in the ensuing court case, although the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal (except the lyrics to one song, "Bata Motel", which were upheld as "sexually provocative and obscene"). [55]

1982–1983: Christ – The Album and strategy change

Steve Ignorant and N.A. Palmer pictured at the Wapping Autonomy Centre, December 1981 Crass steve dec1981.jpg
Steve Ignorant and N.A. Palmer pictured at the Wapping Autonomy Centre, December 1981

The band's fourth LP, 1982's double set Christ - The Album , took almost a year to record, produce and mix (during which the Falklands War broke out and ended). This caused Crass to question their approach to making records. As a group whose primary purpose was political commentary, they felt overtaken and made redundant by world events:

The speed with which the Falklands War was played out and the devastation that Thatcher was creating both at home and abroad, forced us to respond far faster than we had ever needed to before. Christ – The Album had taken so long to produce that some of the songs in it, songs that warned of the imminence of riots and war, had become almost redundant. Toxteth, Bristol, Brixton and the Falklands were ablaze by the time that we released. We felt embarrassed by our slowness, humbled by our inadequacy. [52]

Subsequent releases (including the singles "How Does It Feel? (to Be the Mother of a Thousand Dead)" and "Sheep Farming in the Falklands" and the album Yes Sir, I Will ) saw the band's sound go back to basics and were issued as "tactical responses" to political situations. [56] They anonymously produced 20,000 copies of a flexi-disc with a live recording of "Sheep Farming...", copies of which were randomly inserted into the sleeves of other records by sympathetic workers at the Rough Trade Records distribution warehouse to spread their views to those who might not otherwise hear them. [57]

Direct Action and internal debates

Detail from front cover of Stations of the Crass, illustrating Crass' stenciled graffiti Stations.jpeg
Detail from front cover of Stations of the Crass , illustrating Crass' stenciled graffiti

From their early days of spraying stencilled anti-war, anarchist, feminist and anti-consumerist graffiti messages in the London Underground and on billboards, [58] Crass was involved in politically motivated direct action and musical activities. On 18 December 1982, the band helped co-ordinate a 24-hour squat in the empty west London Zig Zag club to prove "that the underground punk scene could handle itself responsibly when it had to and that music really could be enjoyed free of the restraints imposed upon it by corporate industry". [59]

In 1983 and 1984, Crass were part of the Stop the City actions co-ordinated by London Greenpeace [60] which foreshadowed the anti-globalisation rallies of the early 21st century. [61] Support for these activities was provided in the lyrics and sleeve notes of the band's last single, "You're Already Dead", expressing doubts about their commitment to non-violence. It was also a reflection of disagreements within the group, as explained by Rimbaud; "Half the band supported the pacifist line and half supported direct and if necessary violent action. It was a confusing time for us, and I think a lot of our records show that, inadvertently". [62] This led to introspection within the band, with some members becoming embittered and losing sight of their essentially positive stance. [63] Reflecting this debate, the next release under the Crass name was Acts of Love : classical-music settings of 50 poems by Penny Rimbaud, described as "songs to my other self" and intended to celebrate "the profound sense of unity, peace and love that exists within that other self". [64]

Thatchergate

Another Crass hoax was known as the "Thatchergate tapes", [65] a recording of an apparently accidentally overheard telephone conversation (due to crossed lines). The tape was constructed by Crass from edited recordings of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. On the 'rather clumsily' forged tape, they appear to discuss the sinking of HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War and agree that Europe would be a target for nuclear weapons in a conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. [65]

Copies were leaked to the press via a Dutch news agency during the 1983 general election campaign. [66] The U.S. State Department and British Government believed the tape to be propaganda produced by the KGB (as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle [67] and The Sunday Times ). [65] Although the tape was produced anonymously, The Observer linked the tape with the band. [68] Previously classified government documents made public in January 2014 under the UK's 'Thirty Year Rule' reveal that the prime minister was personally aware of the tape and had discussed it with her cabinet. [69]

1984: Breakup

Eve Libertine, May 1984 Crass evelibertine.png
Eve Libertine, May 1984

Questions about the band in Parliament and an attempted prosecution by Conservative Party MP Timothy Eggar under the UK's Obscene Publications Act for their single, "How Does It Feel...", [70] made them question their purpose:

We found ourselves in a strange and frightening arena. We had wanted to make our views public, had wanted to share them with like minded people, but now those views were being analysed by those dark shadows who inhabited the corridors of power (…) We had gained a form of political power, found a voice, were being treated with a slightly awed respect, but was that really what we wanted? Was that what we had set out to achieve all those years ago? [52]

The band had also incurred heavy legal expenses for the Penis Envy prosecution; [55] this, combined with exhaustion and the pressures of living and operating together, finally took its toll. [52] On 7 July 1984, the band played a benefit gig at Aberdare, Wales, for striking miners, and on the return trip guitarist N. A. Palmer announced that he intended to leave the group. [71] This confirmed Crass's previous intention to quit in 1984, and the band split up. [72]

Crass Collective, Crass Agenda and Last Amendment

In November 2002 several former members arranged Your Country Needs You, a concert of "voices in opposition to war", as the Crass Collective. At Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's South Bank, Your Country Needs You included Benjamin Britten's War Requiem and performances by Goldblade, Fun-Da-Mental, Ian MacKaye and Pete Wright's post-Crass project, Judas 2. [73] In October 2003 the Crass Collective changed their name to Crass Agenda, [74] with Rimbaud, Libertine and Vaucher working with Matt Black of Coldcut and jazz musicians such as Julian Siegel and Kate Shortt. In 2004 Crass Agenda spearheaded a campaign to save the Vortex Jazz Club in Stoke Newington, north London [75] (where they regularly played). In June 2005 Crass Agenda was declared to be "no more", changing its name to the "more pertinent" Last Amendment. [76] After a five-year hiatus, Last Amendment performed at the Vortex in June 2012. [77] Rimbaud has also performed and recorded with Japanther and the Charlatans. A "new" Crass track (a remix of 1982's "Major General Despair" with new lyrics), "The Unelected President", is available. [78]

2007: Ignorant's The Feeding of the 5000

Poster for the 5000 performance, November 2007 Ignorant 5000gig nov2007.jpg
Poster for the 5000 performance, November 2007

On 24 and 25 November 2007, Steve Ignorant performed Crass' The Feeding of the 5000 album live at the Shepherds Bush Empire with a band of "selected guests". [79] [80] Other members of Crass were not involved in these concerts. Initially Rimbaud refused Ignorant permission to perform Crass songs he had written, but later changed his mind: "I acknowledge and respect Steve's right to do this, but I do regard it as a betrayal of the Crass ethos". [81] Ignorant had a different view: "I don't have to justify what I do...Plus, most of the lyrics are still relevant today. And remember that three-letter word, 'fun'?" [81]

2010: Crassical Collection reissues

In 2010 it was announced that Crass would release The Crassical Collection, [82] remastered reissues of their back catalogue. Three former members objected, threatening legal action. [83] [84] Despite their concerns the project went ahead, and the remasters were eventually released. First in the series was The Feeding of the 5000, released in August 2010. Stations of the Crass followed in October, with new editions of Penis Envy, Christ – The Album, Yes Sir, I Will and Ten Notes on a Summer's Day released in 2011 and 2012. [85] Critics praised the improved sound quality and new packaging of the remastered albums. [86] [87]

2011: The Last Supper

In 2011 Steve Ignorant embarked on an international tour, entitled "The Last Supper". He performed Crass material, culminating with a final performance at the Shepherds Bush Empire on 19 November. [88] Ignorant said that this was the last time he would sing the songs of Crass, [89] with Rimbaud's support; the latter joined him onstage for a drum-and-vocal rendition of "Do They Owe Us A Living", bringing the band's career full circle after 34 years: "And then Penny came on...and we did it, 'Do They Owe Us A Living' as we'd first done it all those years ago. As it started, so it finished". [88] Ignorant's lineup for the tour were Gizz Butt, Carol Hodge, Pete Wilson and Spike T. Smith, and he was joined by Eve Libertine for a number of songs. [88] The set list included a cover of "West One (Shine on Me)" by The Ruts, when Ignorant was joined onstage by the Norfolk-based lifeboat crew with whom he volunteers. [88]

Artwork and exhibitions

In February 2011, artist Toby Mott exhibited a portion of his Crass ephemera collection at the Roth Gallery in New York. [90] [91] The exhibit featured artwork, albums (including 12" LPs and EPs), 7" singles from Crass Records and a complete set of Crass' self-published zine, Inter-National Anthem.

Artwork by Gee Vaucher and Penny Rimbaud, including a recording of the original 'Thatchergate Tape', featured as part of the 'Peculiar People' show at the Focal Point Gallery in Southend on Sea during the Spring of 2016, part of a series of events celebrating the history of 'Radical Essex'. [92] Vaucher's painting 'Oh America', featuring an image of the Statue of Liberty hiding her face with her hands, was used as the front page of the UK Daily Mirror newspaper to mark the election of Donald Trump as US President on 9 November 2016. [93] From November 2016 to February 2017 the Firstsite art gallery in Colchester, hosted a retrospective of Gee Vaucher's artwork. [94]

In June 2016, "The Art of Crass" was the subject of an exhibition at the LightBox Gallery in Leicester curated by artist and technologist Sean Clark. [95] The exhibition featured prints and original artworks by Gee Vaucher, Penny Rimbaud, Eve Libertine and Dave King. During the exhibition Penny Rimbaud, Eve Libertine and Louise Elliot performed "The Cobblestones of Love", a lyrical reworking of the Crass album "Yes Sir, I Will". [96] On the final day of the exhibition there was a performance by Steve Ignorant's Slice of Life. The exhibition is documented on The Art of Crass website. [97]

Influences and Influence

Crass onstage Crass2.jpg
Crass onstage

For Rimbaud the initial inspiration for founding Crass was the death of his friend Phil 'Wally Hope' Russell, as detailed in his book The Last of the Hippies: An Hysterical Romance. Russell had been placed in a psychiatric hospital after helping to set up the first Stonehenge free festival in 1974, and died shortly afterwards. Rimbaud believed that Russell was murdered by the State for political reasons. [98] Co-founder Ignorant has cited the influence of The Clash [10] and David Bowie [14] as major personal influences. Band members have also cited influences ranging from existentialism and Zen to situationism, [99] the poetry of Baudelaire, [100] British working class 'kitchen sink' literature and films such as Kes [101] and the films of Anthony McCall [99] (McCall's Four Projected Movements was shown as part of an early Crass performance). [102]

Crass have said that their musical influences were seldom drawn from rock, but more from classical music (particularly Benjamin Britten, on whose work, Rimbaud states, some of Crass' riffs are based), [103] free jazz, [55] European atonality [55] and avant-garde composers such as John Cage [104] and Karlheinz Stockhausen. [55] Crass influenced the anarchist movement in the UK, the US and beyond. The growth of anarcho-punk spurred interest in anarchist ideas. [105] The band have also claimed credit for revitalising the peace movement and the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament during the late 1970s and early 1980s. [106] Others contend that they overestimated their influence, their radicalising effect on militants notwithstanding. [107] Crass' philosophical and aesthetic influences on 1980s punk bands were far-reaching, although few mimicked their later free-form style (heard on Yes Sir, I Will and their final recording, Ten Notes on a Summer's Day). [108] Their painted and collage black-and-white record sleeves (by Gee Vaucher) may have influenced later artists such as Banksy (with whom Vaucher collaborated) [109] and the subvertising movement. Anti-folk artist Jeffrey Lewis's 2007 album, 12 Crass Songs , features acoustic covers of Crass material. [8]

Members

Discography

(All released on Crass Records unless otherwise stated.)

LPs

Compilations and remastered editions

Singles

Other

Live recordings

Videos

Crass
Crass Agenda

See also

Related Research Articles

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EXIT were a performance art group during the mid-1970s. EXIT members Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher later founded anarchist punk rock band Crass, adopting many of EXIT's experimental/multi media techniques into Crass' presentation.

Last Amendment

Last Amendment is the working title of a series of collaborations by ex-members of the anarcho-punk band Crass and others. Although Crass formally split up in 1984, Penny Rimbaud, Gee Vaucher, Eve Libertine, Steve Ignorant, Andy Palmer and Pete Wright came together in November 2002 to put on a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's South Bank in opposition to the at that time proposed War on Iraq. Although they did not all appear on the stage at the same time, most of the ex-members of Crass participated in the event under the name of The Crass Collective, along with other performers such as Ian MacKaye, Goldblade, the English Chamber Choir, Fun Da Mental, Nabil Shaban, etc.

<i>Acts of Love</i> (album) 1985 studio album by Penny Rimbaud

Acts of Love is an album of 50 poems by Penny Rimbaud of the anarchist punk band Crass, set to classical music composed and arranged by Penny Rimbaud and Paul Ellis, and performed by Steve Ignorant and Eve Libertine. Released in 1985 on Crass Records, the record was accompanied by a book of 50 paintings by artist Gee Vaucher.

Eve Libertine British singer

Eve Libertine is a British singer.

Poison Girls band

The Poison Girls were an English anarcho-punk band from Brighton. The singer/guitarist, Vi Subversa, was a middle-aged mother of two at the band's inception, and wrote songs that explored sexuality and gender roles, often from an anarchist perspective. The original Poison Girls line-up also included: Lance D'Boyle (drums); Richard Famous (guitar/vocals); Nil ; and Bernhardt Rebours (bass/synthesiser/piano).

DIRT were an anarcho-punk band from London, UK. Initially formed in 1980, the band frequently played with fellow anarchists Crass, before releasing their first EP, Object, Refuse, Reject, Abuse on the Crass Records label. Their second release, Never Mind Dirt, Here's the Bollocks, also on the Crass label, was a live LP released in 1983. The band went into a brief hiatus after 1982 when they took to the road again and recorded the Just An Error album, after which they split in 1986.

This is an overview of the Crass Records discography. (NB, dates refer to initial UK releases, many of these records have since been re-issued in CD format)

<i>There Is No Authority But Yourself</i> 2006 film by Alexander Oey

There is No Authority But Yourself is a Dutch film directed by Alexander Oey documenting the history of anarchist punk band Crass. The film features archive footage of the band and interviews with former members Steve Ignorant, Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher. As well as reflecting on the band's past the film focusses on their current activities, and includes footage of Rimbaud performing with Last Amendment at the Vortex jazz club in Hackney, a compost toilet building workshop and a permaculture course held at Dial House in the spring of 2006.

References

  1. Rimbaud 1999, p. 69.
  2. "In August 1977 Dave King went (...) As Dave exits stage left, Steve Ignorant returns to Dial House and (...) Crass was born."Berger, George (2006). The Story of Crass. Omnibus Press. p. 76.
  3. Rimbaud, Penny (2004). Love Songs. Pomona Publishing. p. xxiv. ISBN   1-904590-03-9. We believed that you could no more be a socialist [band] and signed to CBS (The Clash) than you could be an anarchist and signed to EMI
  4. Anarchist Punk genre at AllMusic
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  6. "Reading And Rioting: A Louder Than Words Walk Through". The Quietus. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  7. Gonsales, Erica (25 May 2011). "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: Anthony McCall's Enchanting Film Installations". VICE. Creators. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  8. 1 2 Lynskey, Dorian (28 September 2007). "Jeffrey Lewis, 12 Crass Songs". The Guardian . London.
  9. Sleeve note on Bullshit Detector Volume 1 (Crass Records, cat no.421984/4); "Sometime in 1977 Rimbaud and Ignorant started messing around with a song called 'owe us a living'. They ran through it a few times and decided to form a band consisting of themselves. They called themselves Crass"
  10. 1 2 "At the end of the Clash gig there was all these people shouting and saying 'your shit!' and Joe Strummer stood there and said 'if you think you can do any better go ahead and start your own band.' And I was like what a great idea!" "Steve Ignorant Interview". Punk77.
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  20. ""Banned from the Roxy" from Feeding the 5000". Small Wonder Records. 1978.
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  32. Berger 2006, p. 108: "They were very difficult to film, because with Super-8 you needed far more light than was available at a Crass gig – all you'd get was shadows and light – that would be about it. So it was a bit pointless filming the gigs. I did try asking for maybe 60 watt bulbs instead of 40 but there was no deal" – Mick Duffield
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  35. Maria Raha (31 December 2004). Cinderella's Big Score: Women Of The Punk And Indie Underground. p. 96. ISBN   9781580051163.
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  44. Home, Stewart (1988). The Assault on Culture – Utopian Currents From Lettrisme to Class War. Aporia Press. p. 96. ISBN   978-0-948518-88-1. like Kropotkin, their politics are up shit creek
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  75. 'This is the spiritual home of jazz and we ain't leaving' https://www.theguardian.com/music/2004/may/31/popandrock1 Penny (he's a bloke) has started a petition to keep the Vortex in Stoke Newington, and puts up a notice in the club saying: "This Is the Spiritual Home of Jazz and We Ain't Leaving." The resulting petition ends up going to the council with 3,000 signatures on it
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  93. Allen, Gavin (10 November 2016). "The story behind the Daily Mirror's historic US election front page". mirror.
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  98. Rimbaud, Penny (1982). The Last of the Hippies – An Hysterical Romance. Crass. The court passed a verdict of suicide with no reference at all to the appalling treatment that had been the direct cause of it. [...] Our inquiries convinced us that what had happened was not an accident. The state had intended to destroy Wally's spirit, if not his life, because he was a threat, a fearless threat who they hoped they could destroy without much risk of embarrassment.
  99. 1 2 Berger 2006, p. 33.
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  105. Savage, Jon (1991). England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock. p. 584. ISBN   978-0571227204.
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  107. "In their own writing, Crass somewhat overstate the contribution that anarcho-punk made to resuscitating the moribund Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the early 1980s. The initiation of a new arms race, confirmed by plans to deploy first-strike Cruise and Pershing nuclear missiles across Europe, revived anti-nuclear movements across the continent, and would have arisen with or without the intercession of anarcho-punk. What Crass and anarcho-punk can quite legitimately claim is to have convinced a substantial number of radical youth to commit their energies to the most militant anti-militarist wings of the disarmament movement, which laid siege to nuclear installations across the country and which saw no conflict between its pacifist precepts and its willingness to commit acts of 'criminal damage' on the military property of the nuclear state" Rich Cross, 'The Hippies Now Wear Black', Kill Your Pet Puppy web site http://killyourpetpuppy.co.uk/news/hippies-now-wear-black-rich-cross/
  108. Glasper 2007, p. 17.
  109. "Santa's Ghetto 2004, Charing Cross Road, London, December 2004".
  110. Rimbaud, Penny (19 August 2005). "John Loder obituary". The Guardian. London.

Bibliography

Further reading