Vice Squad

Formed in Bristol, England, in 1978, Vice Squad emerged from two local bands, Contingent and TV Brakes. The line-up originally comprised Beki Bondage (b. Rebecca Louise Bond, 3 June 1963, Bristol, England; vocals) Dave Bateman (guitar) Mark Hambly (bass) and Shane Baldwin (drums). Their first EP Last Rockers was released on their own Riot City Records in 1980, and brought them some press in the weekly music press paper Sounds. Their EPs Resurrection and Out Of Reach were distinctively melodic. However, the debut album No Cause For Concern was disappointing. After signing a contract licensing the Riot City label to EMI Records, for which they would come in for a fair amount of criticism from politically minded punk artists, they were rushed into the studio. Taking only three days, the finished product was barely listenable. Much more polish went in to the superior Stand Strong Stand Proud, only six months later. Despite Bondage’s increasingly high profile and naïve exploitation of her sex (she was voted ‘Punk’s Prime Minister’ in an absurd contest in Punk Lives! magazine), EMI wanted their success to transfer from the independent to national chart. Bondage left amid some degree of acrimony, commenting: ‘It was very hard. I’d wanted to go for about a year. I realised that I wasn’t doing anything. Looking back, it seems a funny situation. I joined when I was 15, the others were 17 and 18, and everyone was really nasty from the start. I never liked them and they never liked me.’ The singer formed the short-lived Ligotage and then Beki And The Bombshells, while the band continued for a short time, recruiting a new female singer called Lia and guitarist Mark Byrne. They released three excellent singles and an album, Shot Away, as such. Bondage re-formed Vice Squad in 1998 with her ex-Bombshells partner Paul Rooney (guitar), with Michael Gianquinto (bass) and Tony Piper (drums) completing the line-up on comeback album Get A Life. With Kev Taylor replacing Piper on drums, Vice Squad has continued to tour and record on a regular basis.

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