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Monday, April 25, 2011

Crass' Steve Ignorant Explains the S.F. Origins of the Anarchopunk Band's Iconic Logo

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 11:35 AM

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How did Crass start?
I'd known [Rimbaud] from when I was about 13 or 14. And I just went to visit him one day when I was around 19 and said, "I'm thinking of starting a punk band," and he said, "All right, I'll play drums for you."

Seen on punk-rockers' buttflaps the world over.
  • Seen on punk-rockers' buttflaps the world over.

What are the origins of the logo?
The two serpents' heads are meant to be power eating itself and the cross in the middle can represent Christianity or the church or religion if you like, because religion has always wielded a lot power. It came about because a guy who lived in San Francisco named David King designed it for Penny -- Penny had written an article. It wasn't a song, it was more like a booklet. The actual Crass design was for that, but when we started the band, we adopted that logo for Crass. [King] was an English guy who moved to San Francisco and still lives there now, and he'll be at the San Francisco show.

What did you want the message to be -- what were you hoping to say in the songs?
When we first started, all we wanted to say was "Fuck off" to the police, to the government, to anybody really. To be honest, when we first started Crass we thought it would just be a bit of a laugh on a weekend. But then we started writing these songs, like I wrote "Owe Us a Living" and "So What?" and Penny wrote "Banned from the Roxy," we realized we did have a message to get across. That's when we got a bit more serious about it. We didn't go like, "Oh if we do this we'll be known all over the world," or "We'll be rich and famous about it." It was just something we did.

Were you surprised by the legacy of it?
Blimey, I can't believe it! I thought when we split in 1984 that that would be it, no one would talk about it, but I must admit, there seems to be a real interest now in Crass. It really hit me when I got on the Internet. I sort of clicked in "Crass" and "Steve Ignorant" and all these bloody sites popped up! I was like, my god, you know this is really big.

Again, because Crass never came to America, so many people want to hear and see these songs live. I just think a lot of people are coming so they can talk to me. I have a sore throat, not only from performing the songs onstage, but because from the minute I get to the venue, I can't stop talking to people [laughs]. To me that's part of the deal, that's why I'm here. If people bother to buy one of my records or come to one of my gigs, the least I can do is give them five minutes of my time.

I don't know if you want to say that in print, because now even more people will come up to you in shows.

Well they have been so far! I don't like hanging out backstage anyway. I'd rather be at the bar drinking beers and shooting the breeze with people.

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