Crass, relevant? Really relevant!

By Yvonne Hawkey

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This Sunday, One Little Independent Records are taking over our punk radio on Discord. And to celebrate we’re talking all things Crass. Founded in 1977 at Dial House in Epping Forest, Essex, Crass were the original avant punk, political, anarchist band.  Ruthless and uncompromising with a DIY experimental approach, they earned themselves a reputation of always challenging the status quo, always willing to experiment but always on their own terms.

From 1977 to 1984 they battled against Capitalism through an array of amelodic music, experimental sound collages, visuals, spoken word and poetry. Crass live it and don’t just sing about it and commercial ventures were never on their radar. As well as a fierce flow of independent record releases, they also founded an anarchist commune collaborating with other artists and labels on behalf of various political causes.

Fast forward to June 2022 and Crass is more relevant than ever, with One Little Independent, on behalf of Crass Records, releasing a 12” single reissue ‘Big A Little A / You’re Already Dead’. 

The original 12″ single for ‘Big A Little A’ was released in 1980 and featured ‘Nagasaki Nightmare’ on the B-side. Crass decided that the track ‘You’re Already Dead’ was more pertinent in society today and created a brand-new pressing (green vinyl in the US and pink in the UK). And, in true Crass tradition, the 12” also includes an exclusive stencil.  

Crass’ lyricist and drummer, Penny Rimbaud says; “Both the above tracks were selected for their relevance to the growth of authoritarianism, indeed, totalitarianism, under the dark cloud of Covid-19. But this was before Putin’s war in Ukraine, concurrent, of course, with numerous other global incursions, notably Palestine. One might have hoped that two world wars, the Holocaust and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have put an end to human idiocy, but no, since those times it has grown incrementally. To further the point, the release includes a ready to use stencil or, as Crass might put it, ‘don’t just play it, spray it. 

The game is not over – look to yourself.” 

Penny Rimbaud and fellow Crass member Gee Vaucher still live at the infamous farmhouse, Dial House, which has been a hub of countercultural musical activity for over 50 years and to this day still carries an ‘open door’ policy.

Crass continue to keep the anti-capitalist flame burning, forever active in promoting hope and very much a ‘valuable voice’ for today. 

A famous quote from Rimbaud reads: “If we want to see an end to personal and global conflict, then love is the only real answer”.

But can this idealism live on? Well, we certainly hope so! 

SUN 26 JUN 2022
OLI Records and CRASS will take over our Discord Radio

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