New York DJ Johnny Dynell is the man behind the latest track released in the ongoing remix project from anarcho-punk legends Crass.
The band offered the original track stems of their 1978 debut album The Feeding Of The 5000 to fans and professionals to be reconstructed into new versions, with all the money raised going to the charity Refuge.
The remix of G’s Song is a high-energy dancefloor version by the DJ and producer most famous for his 1983 hit Jam Hot (sampled by many, including Norman Cook and Beats International for the 1990 hit Dub Be Good To Me).
Crass only played once in the US when they made a trip to New York in 1978 and played a few gigs, where they met Dynell, who was then part of the art punk ‘no wave’ scene, and they’ve kept a friendship going ever since.
The track is available on a limited edition (500 copies) blue vinyl 12in single, Normal Never Was 2, which will be released on 4 September via Crass Records, but is available digitally now here:
As well as G’s Song, the release features Banned From The Roxy, which has been remixed by electronic composer Charles Webber. The release is the second in the project, after XL Recordings honcho Richard Russell’s remix of Bomb a few weeks back.
Dynell remembers: “I met Gee (Vaucher, visual artist for Crass) in 1977 when she came to live in NYC and we shared a loft space with another friend. I met Crass in 1978 when they came to play and we became very close.
“Gee had her own place by then, which is where the band stayed. After practically living with them all while they were in town, I quickly became aware of how bad things were in England and that bands like Crass were really trying to make a difference.
“The difference between the New York punk scene and the English scene at the time was striking. New York was nowhere near as political or as intense.
“Crass were definitely not just interested in getting a record contract. Gee was and continues to be a role model and a positive influence on me.”
Because of his fondness for Gee, Dynell picked G’s Song for his remix. It was his favourite Feeding of the 5000 track, written by Vaucher in NYC before she returned to England to join the band.
“This track was a real challenge though because I wanted to do something totally different with it,” he explains. “I wanted it to sound more like the tracks that I DJ in clubs, but still have the power and drive of the punk original. I used Steve’s iconic vocals and a few bars of the punk guitar in the intro to show the song’s roots.
“The drums change at the end of the song to a more driving punk beat. I hoped that this would bring back some of the original live energy of the band I’d experienced.”
First released in 1978, The Feeding of the Five Thousand pre-empted rap and grime in its hard-on-the-beat, fast fire, uncompromising lyrics, and the iconic sounds and messages are ripe for reinterpretation.
Crass encouraged people to rip apart the sound and ideas and create something new, then send the files to Crass Records for future releases and charitable projects. The message is DIY like it never was before.
Pre-order the Normal Never Was 2 12in EP HERE: