Beki Bondage

“Every day kids pick up guitars because of punk, and most importantly they question the world around them,”

Somewhere between a page three pin-up, and an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, animal rights and under-dog rights everywhere, there’s Beki Bondage.
As the singer in Vice Squad, she led from the front during the second wave of UK Punk from the late 70s into the 80s.
Beki Last RockersAged just 15, Beki was still at school when Vice Squad played their first show in 1979,
“It was at Bristol University and I didn’t know that we were playing until I got there to see the other bands and saw a little home made poster stuck to the glass at the entrance. I was very, very nervous, we’d had 2 or 3 rehearsals in our bassist’s Mum’s garage so we weren’t really ready. I got quite pissed on about 2 halves of lager and black, and was the big hero at school the next day. Plus all the ‘Old’ Punk guys in their twenties stopped ignoring me”.
Beki soon became one of the main players in early eighties punk rockery, and on Vice Squad’s website, she recalls that first mad rush of Punk and how its influence is still felt even now, “Punk changed things for many people, it gave us a voice and a sense of belonging but also it enabled us to be individual and question conformity and society in general. It’s now a world wide movement and it’s cultural impact is huge. Punk’s influence can be seen everywhere, in music, fashion and art. In the 80s I made my own clothes or bought them from the few boutiques selling punk clothing. Now you can buy Punk-influenced clothing from dedicated online shops and every chain store sells Punk- influenced clothing”.

The band released their first single “Last Rockers” on their own Riot City Records in 1981, it sold over 20,000 copies and spent nearly 40 weeks on the UK Indie Chart.

“We had to borrow the money to finance our first single but it was no great hardship as we all lived with our parents. Once I left home and moved to London it became a lot harder to survive, and it gets harder to earn a living from music every day. I think it’s fair to say that the economics of keeping a band together are a nightmare, which is why most musicians give up or have to compromise and get a normal job to finance their music careers. I haven’t done that yet, but sometimes wish that I had!”

Vice Squad toured with the UK Subs, recorded two sessions for John Peel, and in 1981 were snapped up by EMI (on their Zonophone subsidiary). Dubbed “The new First Lady of Punk” by Punk Lives magazine, Beki hogged the front cover not once, but twice in the first 8 issues. The first three issues of the magazine led with Sid, then Beki, and after that Joe Strummer as cover stars.

Punk Lives x3
“The only thing I found intimidating back then was the gobbing, which was revolting. No singer or musician has truly paid their dues till they’ve been covered in other people’s mucous”.
Beki, recognised for both her good looks, fearless use of Crazy Colour, and her staunch views on everything from vivisection and animal rights to politics in general, was soon a familiar face in the pages  of papers, from Smash Hits to Sounds, and she would often use the band’s column inches to put the world to rights,

bekinme

“I write lyrics to express my feelings and the treatment of non – human animals has always been a subject close to my heart. Animal Rights are closely linked to Human Rights so even if you have no natural affinity with other animals you can’t pretend that our treatment of animals has no effect on the human population. Over the years we’ve converted a few people to vegetarianism and veganism through our songs so music can help open people’s eyes to what’s going on”.

After returning from a US tour in 1983, Beki left the band, formed Ligotage and then Beki and the Bombshells, and didn’t return to Vice Squad until 1997 when, for a one off “Holidays in the Sun” festival event, she resurrected the band and, still together, they have since released an unbelievable 9 studio albums. It seems Vice Squad might be here to stay.

“I used to have a crush on Sid Vicious when I was a kid but now I see him as a victim of the machinations of the music industry. Punk Rock meant the world to me and it still does”.

Much more Beki at the Vice Squad website HERE

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