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Text on Button Crass Fight War Not Wars
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A solider in a circle is staring with a cartoonish smile on his face, the top half is white on black and the bottom is black on white.

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Crass was a politically active English punk rock band that was formed in 1977. The band promoted anarchism and resistance movements as a way of promoting their support of direct action, animal rights and environmentalism.

The band members were Steve Ignorant, Penny Rimbaud, Gee Vaucher, N.A. Palmer, Phil Free, Pete Wright, Eve Libertine, Joy De Vivre, Mick Duffield, John Loder and Steve Herman. Steve Ignorant was inspired to create a band after seeing the Clash perform in Bristol. The band’s name came from a reference to “crass” in a line from David Bowiie’s song “Ziggy Stardust.”

“Ziggy played for time, jiving us that we were voodoo

The kids were just crass, he was the nazz”

One of the ways that Crass demonstrated their anarchist beliefs was through their logo which blended icons of authority to create a new symbol. The logo included the Christian cross, the swastika, the Union Jack and a two-headed Ouroboros (serpent or dragon eating its own tail). Crass started their own record label so that they could avoid censorship. The police investigated the band after the release of its song “Asylum.” Additionally, the band was known for being pacifists. 

Classical music, Benjamin Britten, John Cage, and Karlheinz Stockhausen in particular, as well as various artists and writers influenced the band. One of the writers that Crass has cited as being influential is Baudelaire. Additionally the band has mentioned that existentialism and Zen philosophies have also influenced their work. These influences could be heard in their music and seen in their performances and promotion, as they employed tape collages, graphics, poetry and improvisation. 

Catalog ID MU0135