Crass – Rock On Interview – Radio 1 – May 1981

Introduction by Tommy Vance

Interview with Penny and Steve of Crass with tracks from Penis Envy – 30 minutes of rare chat!

Interesting Radio 1 interview with Steve Ignorant and Penny Rimbaud of Crass aired and recorded way back in May 1981.

Crass did not do too many interviews with radio stations, so sit back and enjoy what they had to say to the nation that were listening on that Saturday afternoon when this was originally aired.

Gee artwork above from the Crass magazine ‘International Anthem’ issue 2.


  1. back2front
    February 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    A brief history of Crass, much of which we’ve all heard before, and some interesting comment on the Feeding gig can be found here:
    This is the first of 8 parts.

    Agreed about Napalm Death – I did linger on to hear the “From Enslavement To Obliteration” album after which they became a karaoke band. The whole grindcore scene was very introspective I thought, and also very male. I think it alienated a lot of people. If only all this blether about bands was spent on more important things, people seem to get so worked up about the most banal and mundane things sometimes.

    The G20 summit for financial rescue will take place in London in April. Details here: There is a NATO anniversary summit in April in Strasbourg. The G8 tea party will be on the Sradinian island of Maddalena. Book early to avoid disappointment.

  2. John Serpico
    John Serpico
    February 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Mr Zubb – Plans for anti-G20 protests are still being formulated as are the details of the actual summit itself. Ian is doing a good job of collating information on his blog so yeah, as Johnn might suggest, just keep an eye on what he’s putting up. As for the Monday Club, I can’t advise. Wasn’t Martin Wright involved at one point, a long, long time ago? If you ever knew Martin there’s a really good interview with him conducted by Ian on his blog somewhere, or just search for his name on YouTube and it should come up. I reckon we’ve all got other things in common in the here and now besides punk and records of the past…

  3. chris
    February 6, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Cheers for the update Andus, again I was wrong as I thought that first ND vinyl LP came out in the LATE 1980s. I only ever heard about two minutes of it round a mate’s gaff and that was enough for me. To be honest, I never liked any of that stuff, or even the proto-thrash bands that preceded/influenced them (Disorder, Chaos UK, MDC, DKs etc) Though, to be fair, one COULD argue that musically thrashy ND DID ‘influence’ infinitely more bands than Crass did, albeit for worse, but that’s just my opinion. There were 1001 shitty, generic sounding thrash/speed/death core bands who emulated the thrash sound that ND (along with tha woeful Extreme Noise Terror) pioneered, however I really cannot think of ONE band who ever sounded like Crass musically.

  4. Nic
    February 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I shouldn’t really have mentioned ND in this context as it really muddied the waters and was probably a mistake as it personalised everything too much – which wasn’t the intention…I had intended to send you an email about it, Chris, rather than post here, and – in retrospect – that would probably have been a better idea…

    However, I still think the actual point I was trying (however ineptly!) to put across is a valid one…BUT, as back2front said, there’s much more important things to think about…
    Slyme’s comment about the current wave of strikes was interesting – I wonder what the haggard remnants of the far Left think about it…

  5. Nic
    February 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Andus – you (Aberration) did play some gigs because I remember going to them! You definitely played one at The Mermaid as Rat made me a tape of it (long gone, I’m afraid)…

  6. chris
    February 6, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    John Serpico: As for the Monday Club, I can’t advise. Wasn’t Martin Wright involved at one point, a long, long time ago?

    Haha, I think you mean Monday GROUP!! I can hardly imagine Mart hanging out with Roger Scruton & Norman Tebbit et al 😉

  7. andus
    February 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Nic. What we played a gig, damned if I can remember them. I remember playing bass for Anorexia, and doing my poems as an intro to Fall Of Because, but I don’t remember Aberration doing any gigs, but I will take your words for it Nic, bizarre. We played giggs, yeahhhhhh.

    I do remember we were originally going to be called Thorax. I remember we used to practice in my bedroom. Holland with his acoustic, Me with some poxy 5 amp for my bass. and Rat used to bang his feet on the floor, much to my mums annoyance. I think I have us on tape somewhere, in fact I am certain I have. probably on the same tape as the ND interview,

  8. baron von zubb
    baron von zubb
    February 6, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    He he…
    Yeah it was called the Monday Group after the Monday Club.
    Scerpico I know the history of who, what n where. I was there.

    (Read me book an make me a punkdogtrillionaire…Available on this site in the book section..)

    What I meant was where is the current equivilent to the Monday Group of old? Where are these glorious young anarchostuds of now?
    As I said if I go on any demos I wanna be close to the action so I can bonk some old bill with me zimmer.
    Or at least watch someone do that…
    I guess i’ll just go an follow the Bone..
    Eeh oop
    Cheers BVZ

  9. John Serpico
    John Serpico
    February 8, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    It might well be a bit of an in-joke but the thought of Baron Von Zubb and the likes of Martin Wright attending Monday Club (as opposed to Monday Group) meetings I find quite amusing…

  10. baron von zubb
    baron von zubb
    February 10, 2009 at 10:49 am

    A question.
    I remember there being a rumour that ‘sheep farming’ sold in enough numbers to be top five in the singles chart.
    But was sold through non chart retailers so didnt figure. Was that the case? And was there other punk records that did the same?

  11. John Eden
    John Eden
    February 10, 2009 at 11:22 am

    “It’s sinister that we can sell 20,000 records and not appear in the charts, a very effective way of shutting you up. We would expect if we put out an LP for it to sell 20,000 in the first few weeks…”

    “…Stations has now sold over 90,000, and when it goes to 100,000 we’ll press one in chocolate and present it to each other and then take some photos and send them to the press, because the music press tries to pretend that we don’t sell thousands of records. If the charts had been honest then we’d have been in the actual top ten on a number of occasions i.e.; Nagasaki Nightmare, Penis Envy, and Christ The Album…”

  12. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    February 14, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I read an interview with Orbital in yesterdays ‘Sun’ of all places, Crass were name checked, never thought I’d see the day…

  13. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I never thought I would see the day you bought and read the Sun Graham! 😉

  14. alistairliv
    February 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Here is Crass in Sun shock horror quote

    “There are few words in Orbital’s music, but there was always a political edge. They wore anti-poll tax t-shirts, railed against the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (the nemesis of illegal raves) and lampooned the likes of John Major.

    Paul explains: “It all came from punk. It was the music we listened to. I was a sort of raging pacifist vegetarian. In my last couple of years at school, I was listening to people like Crass. Not bad role models really. Then we got into the whole electro thing, high-energy disco. (Paul glances at Phil) We loved it didn’t we?”

  15. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    February 14, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Penguin, I didn’t buy the Sun but found a copy in the pub last night.

  16. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    February 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I remember reading another interview with Orbital a few years ago in which they also name checked Flux of Pink Indians and mentioned their involvement in Stop The City. They’ve also sampled Crass ‘How Does It Feel’ and ‘Dehumanisation’ by Crucifix.

  17. alistairliv
    February 15, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Orbital Stop the City

    From an NME interview 13 August 1994

    In 1990, with their first techno hit ‘Chime’, Paul and Phil went on Top Of The Pops wearing anti-Poll Tax T-shirts. They haven’t been asked back.

    Somehow, as tracks like ‘Choice’, with its ranting agit- punk Crass sample, and the obviously Gulf War-inspired ‘Desert Storm’ have stacked up, Orbital have still principally been portrayed as ‘sound engineers’, egghead science lab students with oscilloscopic thought patterns. But look at their past and they’ve got more in common with Chumbawumba than Kraftwerk

    Paul and Phil were not ideally suited to the conformist semi-rural environment of suburban Sevenoaks. ..Externally, Paul was getting into anarcho-punkers Crass and US proto-hardcore-ists The Dead Kennedys and Phil was getting off on the radicalism of ANL rock events. The older Hartnoll still has a tattoo scar on his hand to remind him of his early demo days.

    “I used to go to a lot of Animal Liberation demonstrations,” recalls Paul. “There was a weird era of it being really popular, this was early to mid-’80s times and also there were the Stop The City demonstrations, anarcho unofficial type things where everyone was charging around the Bank Of England trying to disrupt the day. I used to go on them, which was really quite freaky when I think of it now; they were really quite vicious.”

    Found at

  18. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    February 19, 2009 at 1:56 am

    Just wondering – has anybody got the Crass interview from Rapid Eye Movement fanzine circa 1980? As I recall this was one of the more interesting Crass interviews, although it was a long time ago that i last read it (I’m pretty sure I’m reading it in this photo – sad git! ), but I’d be interested in seeing it again if anybody fancied scanning and uploading it… Nic? Chris??

  19. Mike A
    Mike A
    February 19, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Did I hear Steve Ignorant right in this interview or are my ears distorted or don’t want to believe that he said he was friends with facists and doesn’t want to say who they were, because they are people!

  20. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    February 19, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Tony Puppy’s shirt is great in this docu…Have not had time to see it all Andus but will check it out when back from the grind.

  21. Graham Burnett
    Graham Burnett
    February 20, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Thanks Penguin, an interesting read once again!

  22. Dan
    February 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Yeah, it was definately on a Saturday afternoon when this was originally aired – I’ve still got the old cassette tape that I recorded it on……..’Rock On’ was aired on Saturday tea-times (5 – 6.30pm) usually followed by ‘In Concert’ between 6.30 – 7.30pm, as for Vance’s ‘Friday Rock Show’ – the detail’s in the name, and Crass were the last band you would’ve heard on that show!

  23. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    July 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    On a Crass related note a new blog has appeared with memories of Crass on said blog, only the first post so far but it looks like it could be quite a read when more posts appear on it. See the first post here:

  24. Chris L
    Chris L
    August 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Penguin Says:

    July 25th, 2011 at 7:16 pm
    On a Crass related note a new blog has appeared with memories of Crass on said blog, only the first post so far but it looks like it could be quite a read when more posts appear on it. See the first post here:

    >>> Interesting account. I found this part particularly poignant:

    the singer was so unbelievably angry. His relentless rage and the barrage of words utterly fascinated. holding me spellbound. I had no idea what he was so unhappy about, but I knew I had to get to the root of it. Because I wanted to be unhappy about it too, and as soon as was humanly possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *