Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Sunday, 21 March 2021

The Art of Crass


Music is a powerful medium with the capability of inspiring, provoking, challenging and changing the way that the people who engage with it.

Art is a powerful medium with the capability of inspiring, provoking, challenging and changing the way that the people who engage with it.

Combine the two and the result is more than just the sum of the two parts. The package is whole, a full blown assault on the aural and visual senses.

Some bands are lucky enough to have an artist within their circle who become unofficial, or even official members of the band, such is the importance of their particular contribution to the band's work. The Pistols had Jamie Reid, Buzzcocks had Malcolm Garrett and Linder, Dead Kennedy's had Winston Smith and Crass had Dave King and Gee Vaucher.

Whether these artists turned their hands to the design of logos, record sleeves or stage sets, in each case there work became inextricably linked to 'their' band.

Crass were a very visual band from the all black military stage wear to the printed banners that adorned every venue at which they played, all visual statements of the band's philosophy. The Crass serpent logo is arguably the most iconic band logos of all time, although I grant you that the Rolling Stones tongue is up there as well. Designed by Dave King, the intricate monochrome design is jam packed with meaning. The body of a serpent, or to be more specific, Ouroboros, a two headed creature of Egyptian origin that consumes itself. The fertility based symbolism of the ancient image was redefined to represent the symbols of power around which the serpent was coiled as well as a part of. The Christian cross, the swastika and the elements of the Union Jack, all symbols of immense power. Ultimately, the image of the serpent consuming itself is a representation of these powers destroying themselves.... a scenario that was high up on the Christmas list that was sent out annually from Dial House, Essex.

Dave King in front of his an in-progress version of his masterpiece.

As if Dave King's logo to beat all logos was not enough, the Crass armory additionally had the artistic talent of Gee Vaucher to ensure that Crass grabbed people's attention even without the music.

Her collage approach to artwork leant itself perfectly to the DIY punk ethic promoted by many in the punk scene. For Crass it was just perfect. Gee was a collaborator with Penny Rimbaud from the early'60's but found a real niche when Crass took off from the late 1970's.

Cover of CD release of 'Feeding of the 5000'

Crass were very astute with their visual presentation. The tendency to issue their records in folded sleeves that opened out into large posters meant that bedroom walls throughout the country bore the Crass anti-war message. The sleeve as poster also presented the perfect medium for Gee Vaucher's intricately detailed collage pieces.

The fold-out sleeve in fact became something of a hall mark of subsequent releases by bands that associated with the anarcho punk scene.

The artwork could be playful and humorous such as the reworking of a well known photo of the Pistols:

Which in the hands of Gee became:

Fold-out of the 'Bloody Revolutions' single (1980)

or even (although I am not sure whether this is attributable to Vaucher or not):

Her work had also occasionally cropped up in more mainstream media such as on this Daily Mirror front page reaction to the election of Trump as President of the United States.

Here is a short interview that the on-line music magazine conducted with Gee in October 2020 in which she discusses her artistic style that she applied to the original Crass albums as well as the recently released Crassical Collection reissues:


  1. The Crass graphics are timeless. Ace

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