New Crass A History Site

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I have created a new site for Crass a history, hopefully it is easier to navigate than the current WordPress site.

I will still be updating things here, and the new site too, including interviews and  images.

Please let me know what you think

http://crassahistory.com

DIRT: Object Refuse Reject Abuse 

Crass Records 321984/6

Recorded & mixed at Southern Studios, Sept 1981 and produced by Penny Rimbaud.

  • Bass – Vomit
  • Design – Dada Nana
  • Drums – Fox
  • Engineer – John Loder
  • Music By, Lyrics By – Dirt
  • Producer – Penny Rimbaud
  • Rhythm Guitar – Lou
  • Voice – Deno
  • Voice, Lead Guitar – Gxist

Gary Remembers from the Dirt Web Site

“Expression… the lyrics come from within… from things around us that happen to us, that we see.”
Like most of the releases on the label, members of Crass were directly involved with the record both with layout and with studio production. On the cover, crime and war scene photos are juxtaposed with a collage of photos of band members as a bit of lighthearted fun against the backdrop of doom and gloom. Also, for the first time, the black and white skull image that would become associated with the band as a logo appeared.
Gary, “The text was done by me, the collage was done by Andy (crass). The skull on the records which was also used as the bands logo was painted by an artist and best friend of the band… Leo!
“Many people have submitted to us what they feel it represents… No Comment!”
The recording itself was produced by Penny Rimbaud and engineered by John Loder at Southern.
Gary, “Recording was weird… never been in a studio before… it was good but also disturbing… in the sense that what may work live on a stage, sounds dreadful when you break down the individual instruments.
“Coupled with the fact that our equipment was the cheapest you could possibly get! And I seem to recall having to do my vocals over and over…
“Working with Crass was fun, inspirational and laid back. Southern Studios had a relaxed atmosphere and nothing was rushed… there was no obvious concept of time.

The Thatchergate Tapes

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In 1983 Crass produced a recording purporting to carry details of a secret telephone conversation between Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan. The conversation was produced by going through many hours of recordings of Thatcher and Reagan and splicing them together to make a plausible though low fi  personal phone conversation between Thatcher and Reagan discussing the the sinking of the Argentinian ship Belgrano and exocet missile strike on the British ship HMS Sheffield

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From The story of Crass                                                                                                    After they’d recorded ‘Sheep Farming’, with Eve’s sparkling imper- sonation of Thatcher, an idea took seed. “She sounded so much like Thatcher,” remarks Penny Rimbaud, “without even trying that hard. So the initial idea was that we should get an actor who sounds like Reagan.” Crass knew an American actor, John Sharian – perhaps best know for his role as the replacement robot in Red Dwarf – and per- suaded him to record a ‘dialogue’ with Eve as Thatcher.

Pete suggested he tried to do it as an edit. In those pre-digital days, this was a mammoth task of physically cutting and re-assembling tapes of speeches, word by word. “It was the most extraordinary piece of editing I’ve everseen,”remarksRimbaud,“but obviously the sort of stuff the KGB were up to all the time, because that’s what the Pentagon thought it was.

“The tape was done in absolute secrecy at Southern.We worked with one engineer – the tapes were taken to his house every night and stuck away. No-one knew about them . . . it was quite a dodgy thing to be doing really.”

When it was completed, Pete went off to Europe to distribute the tape in the most anonymous way possible and nothing more was heard.

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Letters released in 2014  by the National Archive on the Crass Regan – Thatcher tapes

Penny recalls in Vice magazine

THATCHERGATE
We wanted to come up with something which might get rid of Thatcher. It was just after the Falklands charade, when she was about to get re-elected. We were told something we knew could seriously dent the Thatcher Empire. Allegedly, the Navy had allowed HMS Sheffield to be blown out of the water by not informing them that an incoming Exocet missile had been picked up on the radar. The other three boats in the grouping were informed and took defensive action. Why? Because one of the ships was the Invincible and on board was Prince Andrew. Given that the information was classified, we decided the only way to make it public was to fake a telephone conversation between Thatcher and Reagan. We edited bits and pieces from speeches made by the two of them, creating a conversation which included all the details of the Sheffield. We then sent out tapes to all the major European newspapers, but nothing happened. Thatcher was re-elected, but then, six months down the line, the US State Department announced that they were in possession of KGB tapes “produced to destroy democracy as we know it”. It soon became obvious that it was our tape they were talking about. It was frightening. A bunch of anarchist jokers sparking off a world war? Anyway, the same KGB story eventually broke in the British press and it wasn’t long before The Observer got in touch with us, asking whether we knew anything about the tapes. It was unbelievable. The whole operation had been carried out in absolute secrecy, but somehow or other they’d managed to pin it onto us. After a gruelling day of negotiations, we agreed to admit responsibility if they would print the Sheffield details in their article, which, true to their word, they did. We did our best to expose the story but even now it’s an issue which has never really been given full and proper investigation.

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Exit stencil card number 12

Exit Stencil postcard Number 12

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Photo from Stop the City 1983

LACK OF KNOWLEDGE – GREY

Crass Records 121984/6

  • A1) Another Sunset
  • A2) Girl In A Mask
  • B1) Radioactive Man
  • B2) We’re Looking For People
  • Bass [Uncredited] – Paul Stevens
  • Design [Cover Design], Photography By – Dada Nana, Lack Of Knowledge
  • Drums [Uncredited] – Philip Barker
  • Engineer – John Loder
  • Guitar [Uncredited] – Tony Barber
  • Producer – Penny Rimbaud
  • Songwriter [Uncredited] – Chiefy (tracks: A1,B1,B2), Daniel Drummond, Paul Stevens , Philip Barker(tracks: A2), Tony Barber
  • Vocals [Uncredited] – Daniel Drummond
  • Written-By [Written And Directed By] – Lack Of Knowledge

Recorded 6th/7th August 1983 at Southern Studios, London.

Some note about the recording from the bands web site

In the summer of 1983,the band finally made their way down to Southern Studios to record the “Grey” 7” for Crass Records.Continuing off from their debut single,Lack Of Knowledge found ways of remaining melodic and memorable while exploring new musical ideas.Drummond’s vocals are deeper and less typically “punk”,a style that would even further develops on subsequent releases.Needless to say,Joy Division comparisons were to follow.There are quite a variety of tempos and rhythms over just four songs.Lyrically,the record is a mixture of paranoia and nuclear anxiety.Using ambiguity to their advantage,the band wound up sounding more like a “Crass” band then they realized.

The design is a collection of photos detailing architecture around certain parts of the city becoming what’s known as a psychogeographic map.The concept,developed as a way of combining subjective and objective modes of study by the Situationists in 1958,is a means of defining the geographical design of an environment and it’s implications on the psyche of it’s inhabitants.While the term doesn’t imply it,historically,all psychogeographic maps have been of urban settings.The collection of photos on “Grey”,of London’s council estates vividly depicts how the architecture as well as city planning helped to increase alienation and despair.

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Promotional Badge produced by Better Badges

Semi Detached the films of Gee Vaucher

 

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Semi – Detached is a collection of films made by Gee Vaucher, that were show along side Crass during their live shows on TV monitors. Gee made these collages of video by in camera edits, filming straight from an old black and white TV at Dial House.

Gee interviewed at “In all our decadence” her New York show states “we thought it needed some imagery , I started working with Mick Duffeild, he was working with Super 8 and I was working with Video, because video had suddenly been invented, so thats whenI picked that up, because it was cheap and you could re use the film. We had a lot of imagery on stage in terms of the banners, we had a screen at the front of the stage for the super 8, then we had, I put two big monitors on either side of the stage, which would have the films I made and their would be a loop film on stage, and then there would be a TV on stage running what ever was on TV that night, coronation street or whatever, so there was a lot going on, They just fitted with the collages, I just started filming off the TV, there is nothing there that has not been see and I just cut it inside the camera. I would just choose one of the songs and think i’ll illustrate that”

Originally released on VHS Semi – Detached has been reissue on DVD  by exit stencil Press you can get it here. Cleaned up from the original VHS and issued accompanied with a booklet.

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Exit stencil card number 11

Exit Stencil postcard number 11

Titled Still life with nude

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Gee later released this image as part of the Pax Britannica box set of Art, from  artists including Banksy, Billy Childish and Jamie Reid

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