(c’77 – ’80) Frazer Towman (vocals), Rob Ledger (drums), Douglas Pierce (Rhythm Guitar) Tony Wakefield (Bass), and Lester “Lester Picket” Jones (lead guitar)
This Surrey punk band, that claimed Guildford as their home, performed at Rock Against Racism (RAR) and Anti-Nazi League (ANL) rallies as well as Right to Work marches. Sounds used the phrase “Music to March To” to describe the noise produced by founding members “Phrazer” Towman of Ash, Londoner “Insect Robin the Cleaner” Ledger, Pierce of Brookwood and Addlestone native Wakefield – who used to be in the Who / Status Quo covers band Backwater – and “Lester Picket” Jones, also of Brookwood. As well as RAR and ANL gigs the band played all over London including Acklam Hall and The Roxy, and across the country as well as ‘back home; at the University of Surrey, supporting The Ruts, and The Wooden Bridge. The Roxy was run by somewhat seedy Kevin St John who also managed Crisis for a time, until his murder. The Roxy saw them support Adam & The Ants, Slaughter & The Dogs and Sham 69 and then sleeping on the first train back to Woking. There was a John Peel session on 11 January ’78, followed by their first single, titled ‘No Town Hall’, released by Peckham Action Group, although some reports put this the other way around.
8 days after Peel, Crisis supported Sham 69 at Woking Centre Halls with Speedometers, Menace and Masterswitch, the ticket retailing for a quid. Frazer came on and rushed about the stage wearing a mask. Also in ’78, Crisis played live with Adam and the Ants again at South Bank Polytechnic, London, the recordings of which have disappeared and the gig ended in a bit of a riot. Just over a year later Phrazer was replaced by Dexter and Insect Robin the Cleaner was temporarily replaced by Jane Roberts, the drummer with Revolt, who performed a gig or two with the band but was deemed unsuitable and replaced by Luke Rendall. In ’79 the band undertook a month long tour of Norway, with reggae band Cygnus, thanks to the SWP and Socialist Nordski. The second single “UK 79 / White Youth” was released in 1979 on the bands own label Ardkor, having licensed the Peel Session recordings from the BBC instead of re-recording. The “Hymns of Faith” 12″ E.P, released on Ardker Records (CR1003), in April 1980 opens with “On T.V.” and closes with “Kanada Kommando”.
The cover art was drawn by Crisis roadie, Flea, who also drew the cover for the ‘UK79’ single. “Hymns…” was re-released by La Vida Es Un Mus (MUS41) in 2010, with a limited 700 copies on vinyl. After performing their last show in Guildford on 10 May ’80, supporting Magazine and Bauhaus no less, the band broke up.
Pearce and Wakefield went on to form Death in June in ’81, before Wakefield later formed Above the Ruins and Sol Invictus. Rendall joined Theatre of Hate, and Jones formed Carcrash International. Two releases came out about a year after the split. A 7” single featuring the two remaining tracks from the Peel Session, “Alienation” and “Bruckwood Hospital” (about Brookwood Hospital) on Ardkor and a 12” EP, ‘Holocaust UK’, which featured the tracks from the first two singles. 1997 saw the CD compilation ‘We Are All Jews And Germans’ released by World Serpent and organized by Pearce, with all of the original releases plus demos and a live recording made during their tour of Norway. In 2005, a further Crisis discography was compiled on a single CD titled “Holocaust Hymns”, released by Apop Records and in 2008 a recording of their final show was released as the “Ends!” by Hardcore Records (HCR002).
More recently, the ‘Kollectiv’ double LP on La Vida Es Un Mus has been released. Crisis make an honorable appearance in “Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter’s Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982” By George Gimarc which mentions the release of their first record “No Town Hall (southwark)” on Peckham Action Group on 12 October ’79 and asks how a punky protest band arose from the green countryside of Guildford.
Many years later, Wakefield formed 1984 to play the Crisis songs he’d written, with gigs across Europe with the promoters tending to market the Crisis angle. In 2017, 40 years on, Crisis reformed with a line-up of Wakefield (bass / vocals), Rendall (drums), Clive Giblin (lead guitar / vocals), Mark Geraghty (rhythm guitar) and Pete Fordham (vocals).