Penny Rimbaud & Eve Libertine to present “Yes Sir, I Will” at the Rebellion Festival 2014
The Rebellion Festival today announced an interesting addition to an already outstanding 2014 line-up.
“We have a very special event to open Rebellion Festivals 2014 on Thursday in the Empress Ballroom”
In commemoration of the thousands on both sides who died brutal, pointless deaths in WW1, Penny Rimbaud & Eve Libertine present a reworking of the Crass classic ‘Yes, Sir, I Will’ complete with a six piece band.
They are joined by Gee Vaucher who will be showing the classic film of the same name. As Rimbaud puts it:
“It will be good to do ‘Yes, Sir’ at the festival because it’s probably more relevant today than it was thirty-five years back, and all the more so for this being the centenary year of ‘the war to end all wars’ – will we ever learn?”.
Louder Than War is an Official online Rebellion Ticket outlet; A full range of tickets inc individual day, up to full 4-day tickets are available now for immediate delivery – Head to the Louder Than War Shop.
”Yes Sir, I Will’ was the last ‘official’ Crass album, and was released in 1983. The initial release consisted of one continuous piece of music spread over the two sides of the original vinyl release; the initial CD re-release split the album into 7 tracks, though only titled each numerically. This edition released as part of the ‘Crassical Collection’, comprises the initial CD release with a second disc drawing on material recorded during the initial sessions, and later augmented by non Crass members. Each individual track now has a title.
In early 1982 Crass released their fourth studio album ‘Christ, The Album’ this was a truly accomplished body of work, Crass had indulged themselves with a seven month recording period; they could afford to – at this point Crass were the biggest alternative band in the world, gigs were packed, record sales were huge; literally hundreds of thousands, the authorities were genuinely scared of Crass and the ground-swell of support they rode, as drummer Penny Rimbaud later reflected:
“By 1981 Crass had been in existence for four tempestuous years. In that time we’d encouraged punk to grow from being no more than just another ‘great rock’n’roll swindle’ into a genuine movement for change. Anarchy had been rescued from the dusty libraries of academia and the equally dusty dreams of barstool bullshitter’s to become the catchword for a whole new generation of streetwise activists”
The (then) UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, then entered the UK into the arguably pointless, and certainly futile Falklands War (unless you were a Falklands Islands resident) Not surprisingly the UK were victorious and Thatcher strode to the top of the UK polls buoyed by nationalistic chest beating. However for the 257 UK servicemen killed and maimed (647 Argentine servicemen also died), not to mention their families there would be little cheer, one such soldier was Welsh Guardsman Simon Weston OBE who suffered horrific disfiguring burns just days before the end of hostilities; Weston was aboard HMS Sir Galahad when it was bombed by the Argentinean air force.
Weston was famously interviewed on TV by The Prince of Wales “Get well soon,” the Prince said, and Weston replied “Yes Sir, I will” – the moment was photographed and published in The Sun on the 2nd December 1982.
Penny Rimbaud, commenting on this, has said:
“That was the hook. That was such an audacious thing to do at the time. Especially given that one had to feel compassion for Simon Weston.”
After the early euphoria of ‘Christ, The Album’ the war, and the subsequent revitalisation of Thatcher dealt Crass a body blow, however they rose to the challenge, and rose in style; initially recording and releasing “Sheep Farming In The Falklands”. The record was pressed as a flexi-disc and slipped into both the sleeves of the band’s earlier albums, and the sleeves of other bands whilst the covers were on the racks in the record store, a possibly pleasant surprise for the buyer and a way to avoid a draconian response from the authorities, who at the time felt they could essentially get away with anything.
Immediately after, Crass returned to the bunker of Southern Studios and in a reported 45-minute session ‘Yes Sir, I Will’ was created, gone were the standard ‘punk’ style musical outpourings to be replaced with a semi stream of consciousness; the album was essentially a bitter and virulent attack upon Thatcher and her Government in wake of the Falklands War, set nearly wholly over a raging and an almost free-form jazz style improvised backing. The majority of the ‘lyrics’ were lifted wholesale from Rimbaud’s extended poem ‘Rocky Eyed’ which originally appeared in the Crass produced magazine International Anthem.
“For several weeks I sat behind my typewriter tapping away as the words flew out in a stream of pained consciousness” he recalled. “This poetic rant, which initially I called Rocky Eyes, but which very soon became ‘Yes Sir, I Will’ was an all-out, full-frontal attack on everything that I loathed about Thatcher and “her” Britain”.