Gigs & Events Part One - 1975-1982
Gigs & Events Part Two - 1983-1999
Gigs & Events Part Three - 2000-Present
Discography Part One - Official Releases 1980-1983
Discography Part Two - Fuck Off & others 1979-1982
Discography Part Three - Steve Lake Projects
Discography Part Four - Zounds Post-1983
Discography Part Five - Compilation Appearances
An attempt to organize disparate information and celebrate the wonderful work of Steve Lake & Zounds. Most of the information below has been stolen
Sealed Records release of a complete singles album - Can't Cheat Karma LP available at La Vida Es Un Mus on both black and white vinyl.
Steve Lake's website looks dead, but the Zounds online site is up and running.
Originating from Reading, Steve Lake and Steve Burch formed the band in Oxford with Jimmy Lacey. After a single gig, Nick Godwin was recruited. As a four-piece they noodled and jammed around Oxford and embraced the loose hippie musical meanderings of the mid-70s. Real music.
Steve Burch left in 1978. Lawrence Wood was recruited.
A tour with Here And Now under the Planet Gong banner and numerous free festivals followed, during which Zounds and Yeovil misfits The Mob became acquainted. Jimmy Lacey departed, Zounds moved to London, eventually ending up in the Brougham Road squats. Judge (James Loudon), from Random Pulse Lights, volunteered his services at a festival and took over the drum-kit. Further touring with Here And Now and then the Weird Tales tours with Androids Of Mu, The Mob and The Astronauts among others followed. Some great recordings from Wood Green and at Street Level with Kif-Kif have survived from this period, along with some live recordings that are a joy to hear.
In the late 1979 haze Nick Godwin parted ways with Zounds. A visit to Dial House altered the direction - more of a tighter punk rock than the looser DIY sound. Steve and Lawrence, along with Josef Portar, friend of The Mob from Somerset, formed the most celebrated incarnation of the band and in 1980 Zounds released the 'Crass' hit single and then signed to Rough Trade, releasing the superb Demystification single and the equally superb solitary album (late 1981). Two further singles came out in 1982. Multi-talented Tim Hutton another Mob satellite played some drums in the studio and then joined to play bass on tour, reverting to drums when Josef jumped ship for The Mob.
Despite their success (albeit within the enclosed Melody Maker/NME 'alternative' chart umbrella), ideology, apathy, external and the usual musical differences combined so that the band eventually fell apart toward the end of 1982. Zounds would, years later, along with The Mob, be heralded as part of the UK 'anarcho' political peace-punk scene. Whatever that was.
Josef who was already drumming for both bands, carried on with The Mob until they packed it in, late '83, and then formed the Deltic of folk-punk bands that is Blyth Power.
Steve and Lawrence formed World Service for a quickie single on Rough Trade. Steve, with the help of Nick Godwin, then went on to release a couple of great (but much maligned by no-one more than Steve) euro-synth glazed albums in 1985 and 1987.
Steve Lake's numerous extra-curricular activities, away from both teaching and Zounds, have included performance as Steve Lake & I.K.E.; Neurostar; the Spook Orchestra; collaborations with Project Adorno; The Relatives, who released an album called Jim Morrison in 1990; and, Thee Evil Presleys with an album in 2007. The Sea Horse Opera has yet to see the light of day. An initial attempt to record the second Zounds album was abandoned, resulting in a CD single in 2005. A second album was eventually released in 2011.
Despite almost constantly bemoaning the albatross that is Zounds throughout the years, Steve has revisited his Zounds material often - Demystification on The Relatives album, Steve Paradis in Neurostar re-inventing Dancing, The Melt Project, and several 'this time only' Zounds re-unions or reincarnations.
As it stands now, he seems to have come to accept the **stardom** that comes with the Zounds moniker and gigs regularly as both Zounds and Steve Lake, performing solely Zounds' material.
Hopefully he'll revisit his later under-rated solo material and perform or re-release such greats as Prick, The Vigilante, Europa Radio & the Big Beat, I Joined The Navy etc in the very near future. Full remastered (and they could do with it) re-releases may be too much to hope for, but a compilation on All The Madmen entitled The Comedy Years would be just the thing. I live in hope.
Steve's book Zounds Demystified is probably the best place to start. Notes and lyrics. A good read. Send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for details.
Check out the Muhmur blog for an excellent review of Steve's book.
For official banter and the late much lamented ace anarchist Lance's take on things, see
A-B-C-D Paranoia's Killing Me
or view the original article as it appeared in Maximum Rock 'n' Roll #227 April 2002.
Steve Burch's site has an early 1978 Zounds recording called The Bird Of Bob.
Adobe Flashplayer can be a bit of a drag so I've recreated it here >
The Bird of Bob > Dark Star > The Eleven
Try the Blyth Power website
for Josef's unique writings (Genesis To Revolutions in particular) and his somewhat dismissive views on the pre-Blyth Power zeitgeist.
Special praise for Nick Godwin's treasure trove of Fuck Off era paper and photos, some of which I've reproduced here where relevant.
Avoid like the plague
A book entitled anarcho punk albums that is a complete rip-off. Poorly written and less insightful than a Janet and John book.
More trouble coming... soon
(see top left of page for links)|
Researching Zounds has not been easy and I'm responsible if there are any errors here, either for propagating long-standing myths or brand new errant suppositions on my part. Hopefully though, I've made a decent fist of things. Nowadays you almost expect to pop a subject into your favourite search engine and discover that some nerd, either connected to the band or wholly disconnected from society, has already gathered inside-leg measurements, off-piste shenanigans and all other information imaginable. I may be as close to that nerd as we're going to get. I've not approached band members (so far); and aside from shouting 'Prick' at Steve Lake on occasion, I've always been one of the quieter followers not wanting to impinge too much on anyone's space. In retrospect it may have been better to be the 'in yer face' talky-talky bloke - I'd have more info to work with for sure.
A-B-C-D Paranoia's killing me...
This research has been hindered, not only be a now semi-infamous attempt to destroy their own pre-1980 history when the lure of black-clad punk stardom became overwhelming; but also, by the fact that there seems to have been some mysterious attempt by persons unknown to put their post 1980 activities into the shadows as well.
There were a few reviews in the music press but little else considering the relative sales' successes of the singles and the album. A couple of contemporary interviews after the album came out but not much hype; and, despite helping the band out considerably in the background, there was little support from Rough Trade really, compared to some of the nonsense stuff that carries the RT prefix.
With a few exceptions, if there was a gig with 4 bands on the bill then only 3 made onto the flyer and none of those were called Zounds; the What's Going On? listings for a tour with a couple of bands or more, rarely seem to get to the letter Z where our heroes here are concerned.
Despite how it seems with the revisionist eyesight of today, Zounds were always slightly out of synch with 'The Happening'; that, combined with an inability to keep the same band together for more than 5 minutes, and a strange lack of self-confidence inevitably meant they were destined to sparkle but briefly. Probably anathema to all, but I think a Fripp-type production would have benefited the guitar skills of Lawrence Wood (and Nick Godwin), and that, combined with the brilliant lyricism and showmanship of Steve Lake could have taken the band forward in the 80s. Listening back to the post-Crass live stuff from Zounds, Lawrence's distinct guitar sound suffers in the 'mix' and with the lack of time and space necessary to keep the bouncing hordes happy.
I'm not sure when the term Anarcho-Punk was first coined but my preferred tag would be Peace Punk - where'd that come from? Anyway, without the interest of a few Americans and Greeks and the work of Sean and Ben at Rugger Bugger it is quite probable that the likes of Zounds and The Mob would have remained in the relative "oh, they did a single on Crass" obscurity that they inhabited in the mid-80s. The Holidays In The Sun appearance and subsequent similar events mean that they're probably more well-known now than they were in 1982. They'd sell far less 'units' nowadays - that's the modern way; but at least now they can get more than petrol money for turning up to a gig, most of the time.
Rambling over. For the moment. I'll go and listen to some Gene Clark.