Recorded October 1978 / Released by Small Wonder February 1979
Video: CRASS – DO THEY OWE US A LIVING? Celebrating the 40th+ anniversary of the release of THE FEEDING OF THE 5000, the debut album/ 12” EP from CRASS, (December 1978).1978’s FEEDING OF THE 5000 was high on adrenalin and song count, no less than 18 tracks. The debut album showed they could better punk’s straitjacketing blueprint, but Crass wanted grassroots appeal and they were ready for the struggle to get it. Workers at the pressing plant refused to process ‘Asylum’ because of allegedly blasphemous content. Consequently, the debut EP was released without it, a replacement coming in the form of a 2-minute protest of silence, ‘The Sound of Free Speech’. As art-terrorists though, Crass were the best; ‘Asylum’ led to a visit from Scotland Yard. The ‘controversial’ song would later be re-recorded, extended and release as a single with a new title ‘Reality Asylum’ in May 1979. That was then the vice squad came a-bothering.
The following year, a new pressing of ‘The Feeding of the 5000’ (subtitled ‘The Second Sitting’), would be issued on Crass Records, one that restored the original recording of ‘Asylum’.The video here is DO THEY OWE US A LIVING?“`Do they owe us a living?’, with the question being answered at the end of each chorus `… of course they fucking do!’ was a rallying cry for those whose disillusionment led them towards an interest in crossing accepted lines” wrote George Berger in his book ‘The Story of Crass’.Steve Ignorant had taken the phrase from a poem by earlier Dial House resident Richard Le Beau called ‘The Window’.”He was living at Dial House when I first arrived there,” said Steve. “He’d written this small booklet — it was all a bit of a dark, semi-depressive type poem, hinted at suicide and all this business.” Crucially for our story, however, it also contained the lines: `Do they owe the chicken whose neck they chopped for dinner a living? Do they owe me a living? Of course they do. “So I just took that and put the ‘fucking’ in,” smiles Steve.