Organ Thing of The Day, two very different slices of goodness for you this very windy day. New vinyl, they might be just a little pricey for a 12″ single but hey that’s the music business for you, eighteen notes for a single, someone’s having a giraffe! Whatever happened to punk rock prices? Everyone’s reissuing everything, shall we re-release that Gog Magog seven incher and cash in? Honey Bane always has done it with a certain amount of style though and that Jane Gregory single from the last century was a choral curve ball that still stands up (in a polite kind of way). Here’s your Bandcamp link, here’s our cynical smile , we could re-issue that one as well, been there, done tha, on with the new things, do they owe us a living? ‘course they do, ‘course they do. Hey Crass wreckords, here’s where you donate, all that money you’re making out of our coverage over all these years, I mean, as much as we love yer, how much for a twelve inch single?!
“Punk pioneers Crass have announced a new vinyl reissue series repressing their limited releases of adjacent artists through Crass Records, in association with One Little Independent Records. The first of which are by Honey Bane and Jane Gregory, out on March 4th.”
Noah did it two by two, which is as good a reason as any for Crass Records to do likewise. Taking the first and last recordings from an impressive list of bands they supported, and then going from the top downwards and the bottom upwards, the newly minted 12” records will be released in a series of pairs; “2 by 2 and back again”.
The series, including over twenty bands and solo artists, kicks off with two contrasting examples of the vast Crass musical spectrum; punk icon Honey Bane with ‘You Can Be You’, and classical soprano Jane Gregory with ‘Do Not Go’. The prescient nature of both artists makes them seem even more relevant today than they were on release.
First released on 7” vinyl, limiting the sound, the new series has been remastered for 12” by Alex Gordon at Abbey Road Studios, allowing them to be heard as never before. This, plus enlarged replicas of the original covers, brings new gusto to their already radical sound.
‘You Can Be You’ by Honey Bane (ex Fatal Microbes and Poison Girls affiliate) captures all the spirit of late 70’s anarcho-punk with furious lo-fi guitars and a DIY aesthetic. Jane Gregory’s infamous ‘Do Not Go’ is a beautiful operatic drama, one seeped in a level of expression and passion rarely found across other genres. Rare too are the original pressings, now one of the hardest on the Crass Records back catalogue to find.
Where Bane rages against social injustices, Gregory offers the solace of love, but the essential message is the same – “Make love, not war”. Crass co-founder Penny Rimbaud notes that “the original series was opened by Bane and closed by Gregory, female artists in what was seen at the time as a predominantly male genre. This in itself says a lot about Crass’ radical gender politics, and yes, the album, ‘Penis Envy’, was a ball-breaker”.
He continues; “Our (Crass’) interest was never in personalities, profits or power, and neither did they have time for reformist liberals. Their position was solidly revolutionary; they took no prisoners. Talking the talk was never enough for Crass, no, they demanded that you also walk the walk. Theirs wasn’t a show, it was a battle, not a living, but a lifestyle, a lifestyle with a difference – rather than looking only to themselves, they sought to share their gains. This willingness added great strength to the form of anarchism that they practiced on stage and out on the street.”
In giving a platform to an impressive array of other bands, Crass Records broadened the front of what popularly became known as anarcho-punk. Not, it must be said, a moniker that Crass themselves much favoured. In this respect, Crass’ classic line, “There is no authority but yourself”, makes its point. Crass sought to empower others, and the output of Crass Records does much to confirm this, while ‘2 By 2 And Back Again’ seems to nail it – “get out of your own way, we’re all in this together”.
The Press release history bit…
About Honey Bane
Honey Bane began her musical career in 1978 at the age of 14 when she formed the punk rock band the Fatal Microbes. The band released a split 12″ record with anarcho-punk band Poison Girls the same year. The first single, ‘Violence Grows’ garnered some press attention and was given positive reviews by the British music paper Sounds.
After the 1979 breakup of the Fatal Microbes, and a stint in a juvenile detention facility that attracted more press attention, Bane formed a collaboration with Crass while on the run from the Social Services (having already served a sentence at the St. Charles Youth Treatment Centre in Essex). With Bane as lead vocalist backed by Crass (under the stage name of Donna and the Kebabs) Crass Records released ‘You Can Be You’ in 1979. The following year, Bane released her debut solo single, ‘Guilty’, sang vocals for Killing Joke on ‘What’s the Matter’ (written by her), and rehearsed with Killing Joke at London’s Venue club. The recording was later released on a bootleg album, ‘Killing Joke – Live At The Venue LP’.
In 1981, Honey Bane starred as Molly in the late Mai Zetterling’s feature film ‘Scrubbers’ along with Kathy Burk, Pam St Clements, Miriam Margolis and many more. She began collaborating with her then manager, Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey. The collaboration resulted in new single, ‘Turn Me On Turn Me Off’ which peaked in the UK Singles Chart at No.37 and Bane subsequently performed on Top of the Pops. Also, in 1981 Honey Bane played a leading role in Granada TV’s ‘Crown Court: A Sword In The Hand Of David’. That same year Honey was interviewed by Sally James on the TV Show ‘Tiswas’. She was Wade Radford’s leading lady in ‘A Last Chance At Paradise’ in 2014 and ‘The Last Sex Lies and Depravity’ in 2019, with her music being used in multiple independent films by him too.
In 2016, Bane released her first full studio album ‘Acceptance of Existence’, which was over ten years in the making. She released it independently via her website, along with an Anthology CD titled, ‘It’s a Baneful Life… The Anthology 1978-2016’, which features her complete works. Both titles were released on Bane’s own label, You Can Be You Records.
About Jane Gregory
Gregory is a soprano who sang a wide range of music from pre-baroque to contemporary avant-garde and every musical era in between. She took the soprano role, alternating with Sarah Brightman, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Requiem’ in the 1985 premiere performances in London, going on to perform in subsequent premieres of the piece around the world.
‘Requiem’ was a choral work set for three soloists (Brightman, Placido Domingo and Paul Miles-Kingston) and was premiered early in 1985. It was around this time that Gregory was contacted by Rimbaud to perform on a Crass related track that he was working on at Southern Studios. This led to his collaborating with Gregory on ‘Do Not Go’, which he co-arranged and subsequently produced. Penny says; “Jane wanted to do a crossover single, her idea being to make an accessible classical record through which a larger audience might be attracted to beauties of the genre. Regrettably, it wasn’t to be, but it remains an extraordinarily beautiful recording which most certainly deserves a wider audience.”
On this matter, Gregory comments, “As the recording progressed, in a ‘music’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans’ sort of way, the songs morphed into something quite different, something the music scene of the mid-eighties didn’t really have a place for; Classic FM was several years down the line. From my perspective, the fruits of the endeavour transpired to be the creative process itself, and a life-long friendship with Penny.”
Originally released in 1985 by D Sharp Records, ‘Do Not Go’ was then taken over by Crass Records. Due to distribution issues at the former and the last-minute nature of Crass Records’ involvement, as well as a certain amount of musical prejudice of the time, the release didn’t receive the attention all parties felt in deserved. However, the original 7” record is now one of the most sought-after and collectable in the Crass Records catalogue. In the Rare Record Price Guide, it runs at £150, while in competitive online auctions it has sold for up to £300.
Crass were an English art collective and punk rock band formed in 1977 who promoted anarchism as a political ideology, a way of life and a resistance movement. Crass popularised the anarcho-punk movement of the punk subculture, advocating direct action, animal rights, feminism, anti-fascism, and environmentalism. The band used and advocated a DIY ethic approach to its albums, sound collages, leaflets, and films. Crass spray-painted stencilled graffiti messages in the London Underground system and on advertising billboards, coordinated squats and organised political action. The band expressed its ideals by dressing in black, military-surplus-style clothing and using a stage backdrop amalgamating icons of perceived authority such as the Christian cross, the swastika, the Union Jack and the ouroboros. The band was critical of the punk subculture and youth culture in general. Nevertheless, the anarchist ideas that they promoted have maintained a presence in punk. Due to their free experimentation and use of tape collages, graphics, spoken word releases, poetry and improvisation, they have been associated with avant-punk, art punk and prior to Crass were associated with the Fluxist Movement.