Crass Records

From Academic Kids

Crass Records was a record label set up by the anarchist punk band Crass.


Overview and history

The band set up the label after encountering problems over the release of their first 12" EP, The Feeding Of The 5000, on the Small Wonder label in 1978. Workers at the pressing plant contracted to manufacture the disc refused to handle it due to the allegedly blasphemous content of one song, "Asylum". The record was eventually released with this track removed and replaced by two minutes of silence, wryly retitled "The Sound Of Free Speech". However, this incident prompted Crass to set up their own record label so that in future they could conrtol all aspects of the production of their material. Using money from a small inheritance that had been left to one of the band, the piece was shortly afterwards re-recorded and released as a 7" single using its full title, "Reality Asylum". A later repress of The Feeding Of The 5000 on Crass Records restored the missing track.

As well as releasing their own material, Crass were able to use Crass Records to make available recordings by other performers, the first of which was the 1980 single "You Can Be You" by Honey Bane, a teenage girl who at the time was staying at Dial House whilst on the run from a children's home. Others who recorded for the label included Zounds, Flux of Pink Indians, Conflict, Icelandic band KUKL (who included singer Björk), classical singer Jane Gregory, and the Poison Girls, a like-minded band who worked closely with Crass for several years. Many of these groups in turn went on to set up their own independant record labels loosely following the Crass Records model.

The label also put out three editions of Bullshit Detector, compilations of demos and rough recordings that had been sent to the band which they felt represented the DIY punk ethic.

Missing image
Sleeve of "You Can Be You" by Honey Bane, sleeve designed by Gee Vaucher
Missing image
Sleeve of "Angry Songs" by Omega Tribe, sleeve designed by Gee Vaucher and Omega Tribe
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Sleeve of "Weary of the Flesh" by Andy T, sleeve designed by Gee Vaucher
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Sleeve of "No Doves Fly Here" by The Mob, sleeve designed by Gee Vaucher and Twisted Image Graphix

Singles released on the Crass Records label had a distinctive 'corporate identity'. As well as lyrically addressing political themes from a broadly anarchist perspective, they were always low priced and usually produced by Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud and engineered by John Loder at Southern Studios in north London. They also featured sleeves designed by Gee Vaucher, often in conjunction with other artists, wherin the record's title and band name were set in 'stencil' style text in a black ring (see examples above) reminiscent of Jasper Johns' Target paintings. These folded out into large posters containing additional artwork and text.

The catalogue numbers of Crass Records releases were intended to represent a countdown to the year 1984 (eg, 521984 meaning "five years until 1984"), both the year that Crass stated that they would split up, and a date charged with significance in the anti-authoritarian calendar due to George Orwell's novel of the same name (see 1984 (novel)).

Although these vinyl records are now long deleted, many of the tracks have been collected and re-released on the A-Sides parts one and two compilation CDs.

Missing image
Sleeve of A Sides Volume One designed by Gee Vaucher


(NB, dates refer to initial UK releases, many of these records have since been re-issued in CD format)

Crass releases

(NB, for complete Crass discography see main Crass page)

  • "Reality Asylum" (7", 1978)
  • Stations Of The Crass (LP, 1979)
  • "Bloody Revolutions" (single, joint released with the Poison Girls, 1980)
  • The Feeding of the 5000 (Second Sitting) (12" EP, 1981, re-issue of first Small Wonder release, with missing track "Asylum" restored)
  • "Nagasaki Nightmare" (single, 1981))
  • Penis Envy (LP, 1981)
  • "Our Wedding" (flexi disc single recorded under the name Creative Recording And Sound Services given away with magazine Loving [1] (
  • "Merry Crassmas" (single, 1981, Crass' tongue-in-cheek stab at the Christmas novelty market [2] (
  • Christ The Album (double LP, 1982)
  • "Sheep Farming In The Falklands" (single 1982, originally distributed anonymously as a flexi-disc)
  • "How Does It Feel To Be The Mother Of 1000 Dead?" (Single 1983)
  • "Whodunnit?" (Single, 1983, pressed in "shit coloured vinyl", Crass' response to the re-election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher)
  • Yes Sir, I Will (LP, 1983)
  • "You're Already Dead" (single, 1984)
  • Acts Of Love (LP and book, 1985 (described as "50 songs to my Other Self", this features the poems of Penny Rimbaud set to classical music and sung by Eve Libertine and Steve Ignorant. The book is illustrated by the paintings of Gee Vaucher)
  • "Ten Notes On A Summer's Day" (12" EP, 1986)
  • Best Before 1984 (retrospective LP compilation, 1986)

Other artists

  • Honey Bane- "You Can Be You" (1979, Bane backed by Crass using the name Donna and the Kebabs)
  • Various artists- Bullshit Detector Volume 1 (1980)
  • Poison Girls- Chappaquidick Bridge LP (1980)
  • Zounds- "War/Subvert/Can't Cheat Karma" (1980)
  • Poison Girls- "Dirty Work/Promenade Immortale" (1980)
  • Poison Girls- Hex (1980, reissue of record originally released on the X-N-Trix label in 1979)
  • Flux Of Pink Indians- "Neu Smell" EP (1981)
  • Annie Anxiety- "Barbed Wire Halo" (1981)
  • The Snipers- "Three Peace Suite" EP (1981)
  • Captain Sensible- "This Is Your Captain Speaking" EP (1981)
  • DIRT- "Object, Refuse, Reject, Abuse" EP (1981)
  • The Mob- "No Doves Fly Here" (1981)
  • Conflict- "The House That Man Built" EP (1982)
  • Rudimentary Peni- "Farce" EP (1982)
  • The Cravats- "Rub Me Out" (1982)
  • Various artists- Bullshit Detector Volume 2 (1982)
  • Andy T- "Weary of the Flesh" EP (1982)
  • The Alternative- "In Nomine Patri" EP (1982)
  • DIRT- Never Mind DIRT, here's the Bollox (Live album, 1982)
  • Anthrax- "Capitalism is Cannibalism" EP (1983)
  • Omega Tribe- "Angry Songs" EP (1982)
  • Sleeping Dogs- "Beware Sleeping Dogs" EP (1982)
  • Hit Parade- "Bad News" EP (1982)
  • D&V- "The Nearest Door" EP (1983)
  • Lack of Knowledge- "Grey" EP (1983)
  • MDC- "Multi-Death Corporations" EP (1983)
  • KUKL- The Eye (1984)
  • Various artists- Bullshit Detector Volume 3 (1984)
  • Hit Parade- "Plastic Culture" (12" single, 1984)
  • D&V- D&V (1984)
  • Hit Parade- Knick Nack Paddy Whack (1985)
  • KUKL- Holidays in Europe (1985)
  • Jane Gregory- "Do Not Go/After a Dream" (1985)
  • Various Artists- A Sides. Part One. 1979/1982 (CD collecting earlier releases as listed above, 1992)
  • Various Artists- A Sides. Part Two. 1982/1985 (CD collecting earlier releases as listed above, 1992)
  • Penny Rimbaud- Christ's Reality Asylum (Spoken word cassette only release, 1992)

See also

External links


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