Zounds was the brainchild of Steve Lake from Reading, Berkshire and evolved from a number of jamming sessions with friends in Oxford, taking in influences from the Velvet Underground to the Sex Pistols. They began performing gigs in 1977/78 with a line-up of Steve Lake (Vocals/Bass), Steve Burch (Guitar) and Jimmy Lacey (Drums), adding Nick Godwin (guitar) at their second gig – adopting the name ‘Zounds’, chosen from a dictionary by Burch.
Burch, however, soon left the group to be replaced by Lawrence Wood. Troubles with the police and the unfolding events of the cold war led to the band becoming more politicised, and they became involved with free festivals alongside The Mob, with whom they developed a close association.
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 1980.
Their first album – The Curse of Zounds – in 1981, was recorded and mixed in just five days. 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 with original Zounds member Nick Godwin, whilst drummer Josef Porter joined The Mob and later Blyth Power. Lake continued work as a solo artist recording two albums with Nick Godwin and Brian Pugsley. 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).
In 2007 Zounds reformed playing sporadic gigs over the next two years including “The Feeding of the 5000” at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London and the Carling Academy, Birmingham (both with guitarist Dominic Dominion).
In 2010 they began playing more extensively across the UK and Europe, completing two short European tours, and the next year they completed a new album, The Redemption of Zounds.