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Zounds are an English anarcho punk/post-punk band from Reading formed in 1977. Originally, they were part of the cassette culture movement, releasing material on the Fuck Off Records label, and were also involved in the squatting and free festival scene. The name of the band is derived from the old English minced oath "zounds", a contraction of "Gods wounds", referring to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, formerly used as a mildly blasphemous oath. The band were formed around the nucleus of Steve Lake from Reading, Berkshire and evolved from a number of jamming sessions with other musicians and friends in Oxford, taking in influences from the Velvet Underground to the Sex Pistols. The band 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. Soon, Burch left the group and was replaced by Lawrence Wood. After this the band slowly became more politicized owing to troubles with police and unfolding events of the cold war, and became more and more involved with free festivals, alongside The Mob, with whom they developed a close association. The band met up with fellow anarchists Crass when, legend has it, their van broke down on the road. They made their way to nearby Dial House, where Crass were based, who helped them with repairs. The two bands became friends, and although musically very divergent, they shared many common political views. 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. The EP featured possibly their most well-known track "Subvert", a call to arms against the grind of daily life. The release of this EP and association with Crass led to an increase in the bands profile in the embryonic Anarcho-punk scene, touring with both Crass and the Poison Girls, as well as performing several squat gigs in West Berlin.

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