By George Berger

"We've Heard It All Before,
revolutions at my back door,
but whose to say it won't happen all again,
coz the Generals sip Barcardi while the Privates feel the pain".
But we ain't heard it all before, because Crass were and still are
very selective in who they gave an interview to. Nothing much
reached the music press about
Crass in the early years. The writers
of Sounds or the NME, we're so far up their own arse they couldn't
see the bigger picture. George writing this BOOK is more from a
Penny Rimbaud point of view than they rest of
Crass. Don't get me
wrong here, most of
Crass get their input into the book, but Penny
is the real spokesman! From the Pre-
Crass days and the setting up
of Dial House, the communal living space rented from the Post
Office, which is very much pointed out in the book to say was a 'free
house', and never a Hippie Commune. By the way Hippies are not
called Hippies, they're called Freaks! Right through to their
Crass band Exit, from Art school days, which most of the
people working with
Crass had a small input. This book to a point,
gave some great insight into the Free Festivals set up by Wally
Hope. Who would play a great part in Penny's Life, and for whom
many years later would take on court battles in trying to prove that
Wally had been a victim of conspiracy in his untimely death. Much of
the book takes place Pre-
Crass, and the meeting of minds, an
in-depth look into CND, the Greenham Common Women's Peace
campaign, Anarchist Movement and many a side track to wonder
down before the really story begins.
Crass was formed by Steve Ignorant and Penny Rimbaud in the early days of '77 as a two piece band of drums and
vocals at a little house in Epping. Like most new bands they become a part of the rampant Punk movement of the time,
playing their first gig on Huntley Street of the same year. But soon input from those around the house moved the band
onto a swift tour de force. There would be many additions to the fold in the shape of Andy Palmer (Guitar), Pete Wright
(Bass), Phil Free (Rhythm Guitar). Along with the addtional vocal talents of Eve Libertine and Joy De Vivre. A close
friend of Penny's from Art School where Penny would also teach was Gee Vaucher. Her input into this story would be
that of Art design for the
Crass project. Also Mick Duffield who was the man behind the films which would accompany
as a back ground movie while playing live was another important member. Moving swiftly along with page by page
that gives nothing really away as to why
Crass worked well as a band. However this combination of like minded folk
jelled into the flagship of the Anarchist movement, setting up projects from Anarchist drop in centres, to their own
Art of ExitStencil Press. And finally intitation of
Crass Records after their first recordings on Small Wonder Records
came to a halt when the record pressing plant refused to Press the LP (Feeding The 5,000), while a certain track
remained on it. The track in question was 'Reality Asylum'.
Crass reluctantly went ahead with the pressing, replacing
'Reality Asylum' sarcastically with the 'Sound of Free Speech'. Which was in fact a recording of silence for the first 4
minutes. This cencorship resulted in
Crass setting up their own Record Label. Many stories come and go over the years
about how
Crass were banned from playing and how their records were removed by the courts from various record
shops. To be truthful
Crass really did have a fight on their hands to be heard, but in reality the only record ever took
successfully to trial was 'Bata Motel' off the Penis Envy album, and then it was only in a dumb city in England.
Somewhere that was never that clued up in the first place.
Crass were committed to get their message out into the
music world, which worked realy well for the first 3 or 4 years, but things within the band were falling apart. Steve felt
liked jumping ship, a long time before Andy Palmer eventually called it a day. But what
Crass did was to question the
questions and fight for the answers. The music itself leaves most wanting for more, give or take a few dodgy releases
towards the end. For those that came in
Crass's wake their intital legacy still drives this force onwards. This book looks
and feels the way I did with
Crass splitting in 1984. It leaves you just wanting more, a few questions get answered but a
lot still remain!
George, a nice book, but
Crass, Do They Owe Us A Living? I feel a song is always spoken best within the words. And
that they got up and did it, meant so could I, and so could you!
Sid Nuneaton (October 8th 2006)

296 pages
Publisher: Omnibus Press (September 6th 2006)
ISBN: 184609402X
Punk The Whole Story (Courtesy of Joe Donnell)
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