Crass has always been one of my favorite bands. While mostly known for their brilliant iconography and lyrics, media pranks, and communal origins/existence, I think they made tremendously creative and musically interesting records. Drummer/lyricist Penny Rimbaud‘s drumming in particular is like none other I can think of. The man managed to work a bizarre martial uh…march feel into nearly all of their material, and therefore made Crass sound like no other “punk” band before or since.
I recently picked up Rimbaud’s autobiography, Shibboleth, and while there is precious little about the actual music, it’s a fun and informative read. An early moment finds teenage Jeremy Ratter (the future Mr. Rimbaud) crossing paths with The Beatles on Ready Steady Go.
As unlikely as that sounds, it’s thankfully preserved for all time on the YouTubes:
It also must be mentioned that Crass created the greatest lost feminist manifesto/concept album ever in 1981’s Penis Envy. I’d be hard pressed to come up with another band that was able to so beautifully marry great heaping mouthfuls of bitterly angry lyrics to almost jubilantly inventive music.
Bonus I: Crass’s Nagasaki Nightmare (fan vid)
Bonus II: Crass’s Bata Motel (fan vid)