Steve Ignorant, frontman of Crass, the band who sparked the entire anarcho-punk movement, has announced a short UK tour for 2020.

Ignorant – real name Steve Williams – co-founded Crass with Penny Rimbaud in 1977, and they became the most influential punk band since the Sex Pistols.

Based at Dial House near Epping in Essex, Crass were much more than a band; they were an art collective who promoted anarchism as a political ideology, a way of life and a resistance movement.

They advocated direct action, animal rights, feminism, anti-fascism, and environmentalism, and their DIY ethic inspired thousands of others to think for themselves and get involved.

They released five albums between 1980-1983, all of them making No. 1 in the then-important UK Indie Chart.

The Feeding Of The 5000, Stations Of The Crass, Penis Envy, Christ – The Album and Yes Sir, I Will were as controversial as they were groundbreaking, and rattled cages in the corridors of power.

Questions were raised about the band in Parliament, with one MP trying to have them prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, and it was with some sense of relief for the establishment when they split up in 1984.

After Crass ended, Ignorant worked with several other groups, including Conflict, Schwartzeneggar, Stratford Mercenaries, and Current 93, as well as being an occasional solo performer.

Steve Ignorant performing with Paranoid Visions at North East Calling in 2018. Pic: Gary Welford.

In  November 2007, he performed Crass’s album The Feeding of the 5000 live at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, backed by guest musicians.

Other members of Crass were not involved, and while Rimbaud acknowledged and respected Ignorant’s right to do it, he said he regarded it as “a betrayal of the Crass ethos”.

Ignorant had a different view; “I don’t have to justify what I do. Plus, most of the lyrics are still relevant today. And remember that three-letter word, ‘fun’?”

In 2010 Ignorant and Rimbaud took to the stage together to be interviewed at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, where they revealed that Rimbaud had now given his blessing for Crass material to be performed live.

Steve Ignorant performing with Paranoid Visions at North East Calling in 2018. Pic: Gary Welford.

In 2011 Ignorant did a tour called The Last Supper, performing Crass songs from 1977-1982 with largely the same band that performed with him at Shepherd’s Bush. At the farewell London show he was joined on stage by Rimbaud and another original Crass member, Eve Libertine.

This was the last time Crass songs were performed live by him in his own right, though he has played some with Dublin punk band Paranoid Visions, with whom he formed an unlikely alliance.

Now, Ignorant is reclaiming ownership of his Crass back catalogue – era-defining songs such as Banned From The Roxy, Big A Little A, Securicor, and Do They Owe Us A Living? with the announcement of The Ignorant Tour 2020.

Tickets are on sale now from www.gigbox.co.uk for dates in April 2020, in Leeds, Newcastle, London, Brighton, Manchester and Glasgow.

Gary Welford
gary.ipamusic@gmail.com
ipamusic.co.uk owner