CRASS

starring: Dave King, Gee Vaucher & Penny Rimbaud

“They walk the walk and talk the talk.”

 

The film made by support of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

The CRASS was an English anarcho-punk band between 1977- 84. It was founded by the drummer Penny Rimbaud (writer, poet, „toilet-seat philosopher”) and the vocalist Steve Ignorant (sculptor, his after CRASS bands: Conflict, Current 93). The name came from a line of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. But contrast with Bowie they wore only black military clothes constantly and used only 40W bulbs during their shows. Within a short time three guitarists, two female vocalists, a film maker, a sound engineer and Gee Vaucher visual artist to joined them. The members got involved in every peace and social movement and beside the music made fanzines and did street art activities. The band became the most influential anarcho-punk band of the world.

crass

Some CRASS cases

1978. The first EP bore the first conflict with the social environment. The Irish record pressing workers refused to handle it due to the first track: Asylum. Ultimately the song was pulled off the album, so it has started with 2 minutes silence which was titled: The Sound of Free Speech.

1981. The Penis Envy album was dedicated to the feminism and the sexual repressing with only female vocals. The last but not listed track is a parody of a Middle of The Road’s love song, Our Wedding. This was pressed on a white flexi disc too. It was only available via a teen girl magazine, Loving:

FABULOUS RECORD OFFER
(…) we’ve got together with Creative Recordings And Sound Services to offer you the chance of making your wedding day just that bit extra special with this romantic song. (…) fill in the coupon below and send it off together with stamps to the value of 18 pence and this super flexi single will be yours. (…) it’s a must for all true romantics!”

The hoax was revealed by a tabloid and the scandal broke up. It called the attention to the Penis Envy album too. In 1984 it would be banned and the copies were seized from the shops along with other records. Two record labels (one was the CRASS Records sure), a publishing company, the Flux of Pink Indians (punk band, published by CRASS Rec) and the CRASS were charged with infringe of the Obscene Publications Act. In the case of CRASS finally the Court of Appeal overturned the former condemned rule except for the lyrics of Bata Motel.

1983. A tape of a purported conversation between US president, Reagan and British Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher was circulated in Europe. The Falklands War (Argentina vs. Great Britain in 1982 spring) came up too. There was mentioned two ships, the Belgrano was an Argentinean and the Sheffield was an English.

R. Why eliminate “Belgrano”? You directed this. The Argentineans were then going…. Secretary Haig reached an agreement.
T. Argentina was the invader! Force has been used. It’s been used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.
R. Oh, God, it’s not right! You caused the “Sheffield” to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on screens. You must have too, and not let them know.

Moreover they argued the possibility of a nuclear warfare against the Soviet Union where Europe would be the buffer zone.

The State Department examined the tape. “This type of activity fits the pattern of fabrications circulated by the Soviet KGB, although usually they involve fake documents rather than tapes” (…) a technical analysis revealed that the voices were those of Reagan and Thatcher. (…) the voices were spliced together and said they were not part of an actual conversation. (…) an analysis by the language experts suggests that the author was not a native speaker.”

The tape made by Pete Wright, the bassist of CRASS.

 

The Art of Punk – 1st episode Black Flag

 


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