Thursday, October 1, 2009


This is my favorite release from the Crass record label. In my opinion, Subvert is the strongest of the three. However, Can't cheat karma, is a great track as well. Enjoy!!! Zounds formed in 1977 from loose jamming sessions around the Reading area. Originally they were part of the cassette culture movement, releasing material on the F**k Off Records tape label, and were also involved in the squatting and free festival scene. The name of the band is derived from the old English minced oath coined by William Shakespeare: "zounds", which is a contraction of "God's wounds" - i.e. the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ - formerly used as a mildly blasphemous oath.
The band formed around the nucleus of Steve Lake in Reading, Berkshire and evolved from a number of jamming sessions with other musicians and friends, taking in influences from the Velvet Underground to the Sex Pistols. The band began performing gigs in 1977/78 with a line-up of Steve Lake (Vocals/Bass), Steve Burch (Guitar) and Jimmy Lacey (Drums) adopting the name 'Zounds', chosen from a dictionary by Burch. Soon Burch left the group and was replaced by Joseph Lawrence. After this the band slowly became more politicized due to troubles with police and unfolding events of the cold war, and became more and more involved with free festivals, alongside The Mob who they developed a close association with.
The band met up with fellow anarchists Crass when, legend has it, their van broke down on the road. They made their way to nearby Dial House, where Crass were based, who helped them with repairs. The two bands became friends, and although musically very divergent, they shared many common political views. After undergoing several line-up changes Zounds shortly afterwards released their first EP, Can't Cheat Karma, on the Crass Records label (although drummer Joseph was replaced for the recording by a session drummer) in 1981. The EP featured possibly their most well known track "Subvert", a call to arms against the grind of daily life. The release of this EP and association with Crass led to an increase in the bands profile in the embryonic Anarcho Punk scene, touring with both Crass and the Poison Girls as well as performing several squat gigs in West Berlin.
The band released their first album The Curse of Zounds on Rough Trade Records in 1981, recording and mixing the LP within five days. The cover art, by anarchist artist Clifford Harper, featured a painting of fire fighters apparently trying to put out a blaze at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. However, the picture continued onto the back cover, which showed that in fact they are spraying the fire with petrol, thus feeding it. The band released three more singles on Rough Trade, Demystification (a psychedelia influenced track backed with "Great White Hunter"), Dancing and More Trouble Coming Every Day as well Le Vache Qui Rit (initially intended for a split EP with The Mob for an anti-draft benefit in Belgium)
The band split up in late 1982, Steve Lake disaffected with the Anarchist music scene in general and the band worn out from touring. Bass player and vocalist Steve Lake and guitarist Laurence Wood continued to work together for a while as The World Service, whilst drummer Josef Porta went on to join the The Mob and later Blyth Power. Lake continued work as a solo artist, and Zounds occasionally reform for benefit gigs with a line-up augmented by Protag (formerly of Instant Automatons, Alternative TV and Blyth Power) and drummer Stick (previously of DIRT, Doom and Extreme Noise Terror). A remixed version of the bands song "This Land" was released in 2001 as a CD single benefit for the McLibel support campaign. In 2005 the Go All The Way EP was released with tracks from an aborted second album, with tracks commenting on the USA's War on Terror.
REFERENCES - WIKIPEDIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zounds ZOUNDS HOME PAGE http://www.zoundsonline.co.uk/
1. WAR


garychching said...

Brilliant post, Frank, goes well with Longy's latest post.

I've been playing Curse of the Zounds non-stop for the last couple of days.

Longy said...

Fantastic single,probably the best ever on the Crass label along with Honey Bane's.


Thanks for the comments Gary and Longy.

topper said...

Like the subvert song

thanks Frank


I always felt Subvert was their strongest song.The 2cnd single is pretty good as well, maybe I'll post it sometime. Thanks Topper