PENNY RIMBAUD: INTERVIEWS by V. Vale ofRe/search Publications
Penny Rimbaud is probably most famous as the drummer, songwriter and philosopher-founder of the proto-Punk band CRASS (1976-1984), which in a pioneering D-I-Y spirit produced their own vinyl LPs which included dazzling poster-size artworks by Gee Vaucher (plus lyrics, essays) hand-inserted into plastic sleeves. The listener had a lot to look at while hearing the record! After-CRASS, Penny has written poetry, journals, prose, produced drawings, lectured, read poems aloud and done musical performances (with Japanther, jazz musicians) in Europe, London and at City Lights Bookstore and Emerald Tablet in San Francisco.
Also notable is the CRASS promulgation of vegetarian diet, which caused thousands of Punk “anarchists” to identify with vegetarianism. For nearly fifty years, the CRASS experiment with collective living on a farm producing regular crops of vegetables, still exists as “Dial House.” Penny is an amazing improvisatory cook as well as a baker of hearty home-made bread.
“Performer, philosopher, writer, poet, and provocateur Penny Rimbaud straddled both the hippie counter-culture of the 60s and the Punk era of the late 70s. He was born in 1943 into a world of social privilege as Jeremy John Ratter to upper-middle-class parents. He attended public school, then went on to art school—where he met Crass artist Gee Vaucher.”—The Quietus
“In the late Sixties, two young artists rented a tumbledown cottage near Epping in Essex. Inspired by Lennon, Kerouac, Camus, RD Laing and other counter-culturals, they changed their names, becoming Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher…Out of Dial House would emerge a series of radical creative projects, the best known of which is the Punk band Crass. And the message was: Do it yourself. Take responsibility. You are in charge of your own life. There’s no authority but Yourself. With their fantastic symbols and art and straight-forward rage, Crass found a huge audience.”