Punk Globe: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. If you wouldn't mind, please tell us a bit about yourself?
Beki Bondage: I'm the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter in the UK band 'Vice Squad.' I'm a professional musician so I'm always broke, I'm a long time vegetarian and supporter of animal rights, and I'm very very noisy.
Punk Globe: How did Vice Squad come to be and who makes up the current lineup?
Beki Bondage: I saw an advert in Revolver Record store in Bristol for a singer, and went to meet Dave Bateman, the original guitarist, who, sadly, died in December, 2007. He already had a drummer, Shane Baldwin, and they told me that I had a good voice and image, and I was in. Mark Hambly then joined as bassist, and we began rehearsing in his parent's garage. I came up with the name 'Vice Squad,' which the rest of the band liked, and we began to do gigs in and around the Bristol area, mostly booked by Dave.
The current line-up consists of Paul Rooney on lead guitar and backing vocals (Paul is also my songwriting partner), Wayne Firefly on bass and backing vocals; and KevTaylor on drums.
Punk Globe: Who are your biggest influences?
Beki Bondage: Bruce Lee, Little Richard, Joe Strummer, Janis Joplin, Angus Young, to name a few.
Punk Globe: You and I both came on to the punk scene at a relatively young age (I'll be 16 this year) Did you feel any sense of ageism when you first started going to shows, or were the older bands brother/sister figures?
Beki Bondage: I was completely ignored by all the old guys of 21 because I was a schoolgirl, but when we did our first gig, they suddenly wanted to know me, so like many a singer before me I realized that being in a band somehow made you more attractive! Some of the other bands scared us, Rat Scabies from the Damned was pretty frightening but others like the UK Subs were quite friendly. But I imagine we could be rather annoying as we'd be pissed on two halves of lager. Nowadays it takes a full three pints before we become really irritating.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about the first gig you ever performed?
Beki Bondage: The first gig I ever did was at my primary school's Christmas party when I was nine, but I assume that you mean the first Vice Squad gig. It was at Bristol University, and I didn't know that we were playing until I got there. We'd had three rehearsals in Mark's parents' garage so I was extremely nervous. I got pissed on two halves of lager and managed to get through our se,t and experienced a huge adrenaline rush, and we actually got an offer to record a track for a compilation album that night.
Punk Globe: Do you feel that the late 70s-early 80s punk scene has been trivialized at all?
Beki Bondage: I don't take a lot of notice of what's written about it, so I couldn't tell you. Everyone has an opinion, but it's only an opinion. You could trivialize anything ( a lot of critics do! ). Punk has had such a huge influence on music, fashion and attitude, that it must have some merit -- the fact that young kids are getting into it all over the world speaks volumes. It's a particularly good movement to be involved in during a recession, as it's not all about wealth.
Punk Globe: You've attained this status as a punk rock sex symbol of sorts. Do you have anything to say to the staunch feminists who might argue that this promotes sexism?
Beki Bondage: I think there may be people out there who are turned on by my music but that's different to being a sex object because of what you look like. I'm a feminist and will remain so until there's no cause to be one. If it were men who were discriminated against, then I would be a masculist, because I believe that you should always stick up for the underdog. Music is sexy and there's nothing wrong with that, what's wrong is shite-singing groups of highly tarted-up men or women who have no musical talent whatsoever, and just want to be famous.
Punk Globe: You're an advocate of vegetarianism, correct? What drew you to that stance?
Beki Bondage: A love of non-human animals, a desire to eat well ( so I could drink more! ) and not to indirectly starve people in the Third World. The planet cannot sustain a meat-eating population in its billions, so even if I didn't find the killing of animals for food morally indefensible, I would still be a vegetarian because of the humanitarian issues involved. It's so easy being veggie these days and so much better for you than corpse crunching!!
Punk Globe: I've interviewed another band from the UK in the late 70s called Raped a.k.a Cuddly Toys. Have you heard of them?
Beki Bondage: Yes I've heard of them.
Punk Globe: Do you plan on touring the U.S. or releasing a new album in 2009?
Beki Bondage: Yes, we hope very much to tour the US this year, but we've heard from various reliable sources that the scene is in trouble because of the recession, so we can only hope that we can afford to come over. We finished an album in 2008 called 'Fairground for the Demented,' and while the record companies were, 'umming' and 'aahing' over whether to sign it; we wrote another album, which has turned out even better, so we're really excited about it. Most people would have given up after going through what we did to get 'Fairground' finished; but we decided to soldier on and our persistence paid off, because the songs came really easily. So we've actually got two new albums, all we need now is a good label and a tour.
Punk Globe: Are you the sole songwriter for the band?
Beki Bondage: No, I write with our lead guitarist Paul. It's quite likely that we'll write some material with Wayne (bassist) in the future as he's a songwriter, too.
Punk Globe: What bands do you most enjoy sharing the bill with?
Beki Bondage: Straight edge bands who don't nick the booze off our rider......ha ha -- only joking! Any band that's genuine and rocks and is friendly.
Punk Globe: Do you have any further goals or aspirations with Vice Squad?
Beki Bondage: I have loads, there are lots of countries I'd like to play in, and I'd love to have a good label behind us so we can get our songs out there. Our career has always been a struggle, so it would be great to have some success in return for the years of hard work and dedication. Our short term goal is to get back out to the USA.
Punk Globe: And finally, any words of wisdom for Punk Globe readers?
Beki Bondage: If I was wise, I wouldn't be in the music business !! They can take our dignity, our health and our sanity, but they'll never take our stupidity.
Punk Globe: Again, thank you so much for doing this interview. Hope to see you if you come to Baltimore any time soon.
Beki Bondage: Thank you! Last time we came to Baltimore we went down to the harbor and looked at the seals, one looked like my old drummer.
Check out Vice Squad at the following addresses..