Seminal anarcho-punk band Crass are to have their classic albums remastered and reissued, beginning with their 1978 debut, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand.

Emblematic of a more credulous and committed age, Crass promoted anarchism as a political ideology, a way of living and a resistance movement – promoting direct action, animal rights, feminism and environmentalism. Uncompromisingly DIY, the band were based around Dial House, a commune near Epping, Essex, and became notorious for their sloganeering graffiti assaults on the walls of the London Underground and advertising billboards, as well as coordinating squats and organising political protests. Formed in ’77 by Steve Ignorant and Penny Rimbaud, the band released six official albums of original material before disbanding in 1984.

Crass became particularly infamous for their politically motivated hoaxes, including the so-called Thatchergate tape: a cassette, leaked to the press, featuring what seemed to be a private telephone conversation picked up by accident as a result of crossed lines. The tape was actually constructed by Crass using edited recordings of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’s voices; on the tape they discussed the sinking of the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War, and appeared to suggest that Europe would be used as a target for nuclear weapons in any conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Despite record sales of over 1.5 million and being discussed as a threat to national security in Parliament, Crass are frequently omitted or glossed over in the standard master-narrative of punk history. This reissue programme, courtesy of the band’s own Crass Records, should help address the injustice. The Feeding Of The Five Thousand has been restored from the original analogue studio tapes, and will be accompanied by rare and unreleased tracks as well as new artwork from Gee ‘G Suss’ Vaucher riffing on her original design (detail pictured above). Reissues of Stations Of The Crass and Penis Envy will follow later in 2010.

Crass fans will be pleased to learn that Southern Records are next month publishing The Rest Is Propaganda, the autobiography of Steve Ignorant, to coincide with Ignorant’s upcoming The Last Supper solo tour. Oh, and Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher will this year relaunch their Exitstencil imprint, promising reissues, new music, books and film projects.

More information here.



Share Tweet