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Vardis: Steve Zodiac

Steve Zodiac founded the band Vardis in his hometown, Wakefield England in 1977 together with Alan Selway on bass and Gary Pearson on drums. Zodiac's love of mid 70's bands The Faces, Alice Cooper and T. Rex fused with the energy of Punk Rock, sites Zodiac as one of the true innovators of the Heavy Metal genre. In 1979 Vardis released their debut EP "100 MPH" on the Redball label and the initial pressing of 2,000 copies sold out almost immediately (in Record Collector's Rare Record Price Guide the single is listed with a current value of £120). In November of the same year they put out another excellent single "If I Were King", released through Castle Records, followed by their much acclaimed debut album "100 MPH on the London based Logo Records.

Vardis had always been a very physical and powerful live band and were invited to open the legendary "Heavy Metal Holocaust" festival in August '8l, held at Port Vale Football Ground with bands like Frank Marino, Riot, Triumph, Ozzy Osbourne and Motorhead. In 1982 NWOBHM was in full swing and Zodiac was voted one of the top 20 rock guitarists in the Sounds readers poll of that year. Steve is thought to have taken his name from Gerry Anderson's astronaut in 60’s TV show Fireball XL5.


Albums
1980 LP 100 M.P.H. (Logo/RCA) MOGO 4012
1981 LP The Worlds Insane (Logo) 1026
1982 LP Quo Vardis Logo (Logo) 1034
1983 LP The Lions Share (Razor) RAZ3
1986 LP Vigilante LP (Raw Power) RAWLP 022
1997 CD The Best of Vardis (British Steel) METAL 12
2001 CD The Worlds Gone Mad (Sanctuary) ESACD935

7" Singles / EP's
1979 100 M.P.H. EP (Redball) RR 017
1980 IF I WERE KING / out of the way (Castle) CQUEL 2/100
1980 LETS GO / situation negative (Logo) VAR1
1980 TOO MANY PEOPLE / lions share (Logo) VAR2
1980 SILVER MACHINE / come on (Logo) VAR3
1981 ALL YOU'LL EVER NEED (Logo) VAR4
1982 TO BE WITH YOU (Logo) GO408
1985 STANDING IN THE ROAD (Big Beat/Chiswick) NS103
12" EP's
1980 POLICE PATROL (Logo) VAR E.P
1985 STANDING IN THE ROAD (Big Beat/Chiswick) NST103

Compilations (various artists)
1980 LP NEW ELECTRIC WARRIORS (Logo)
1981 LP METAL POWER LP (Logo) 3541
1990 CD NWOBHM (Phonogram)
1997 CD NEW ELECTRIC WARRIORS (British Steel) CD Metal13
2000 CD NWOBHM Rarities (British Steel) CD METAL3
2001 CD METAL (Sanctuary) PBXCD341
2002 CD ROCK OF AGES (Sanctuary) CMYBX448


2004 M. Machado "Mario J. Machado" (Steele, MO United States)
This is a great band from the NWOBHM era. I was there during this era (in the UK) and it was great. This is one of the better bands (there was really about 30 great bands from among about 100 - and they played everywhere - from small pubs to big arenas). This band sounds like a cross of Chuck Berry, Led Zep, and Ted (right-winger) Nugent. If you like hard rock or heavy metal, you will love this !!! Listen to, "Where there's Mods there's Rockers". That is one part of the times that I thought I would never hear about again. The Rockers (Heavy Metal and somewhat hippie youth) were always into it with the Mod's (the Who-type and rockabilly-listening youth). However, the Rocker's were mostly into it (fights, etc) with the Punkers and Skinheads. Yeah, back then, youth was divided off on musical-lines and taste, in the UK and some of Europe. America was not as extreme. I guess that is why I am still into Heavy Metal music that is all you need to listen to.

1982 review of the Monmore Festival -Dave Dickson:
Festivals are peculiar to the Heavy Metal temperamen. The faithful show considerable resilience and an almost perverse willingness to put up with the disgusting way they're treated on these occasions, so it's always pleasing to see groups like Limelight establishing an instant rapport and delivering an enjoyable set in its wake. Confession time: at this point my brain was beginning to seize up and my notes became unintelligible. I retired to the sanctuary of the bar where I could watch Vardis from under shelter.  The thing that struck me first was their incredible energy: leaping and bounding about the stage, Zodiac and Selway looked like a couple of reindeer on heat.  Vardis are a basic boogie outfit and just what the doctor ordered as the evening air hovered between 'chill' and 'petrified'.  And then I noticed Zodiac's feet: bare appendages between flared jeans. I was still trying to grapple with this horrific concept when BOOM!  FLASH!  It was all over. Steve Zodiac's style reminds me of Ted Nugent's. Like Nugent, Zodiac was highly influenced by 50s and 60s bands like Chuck Berry. Both men took that kind of music one step further in heaviness. This guy Steve Zodiac, he's just as good as anybody at guitar.


Lets Go!
Words & Music © 1977 Steve Zodiac

You, you are my life
You, you hold a knife
You, posses my soul
For you, are rock ‘n’ roll
I know
Yes I know
Lets go!
Now, the time is right
For us, to hold the light
And give, you what we can
To you, our greatest fan
I know
Yes I know
Lets go!
You, you are my life
You, you hold the knife
You, posses my soul
For you, are rock ‘n’ roll
Cos I know
Yes I know
Lets go!


Bad Company
Words & Music © 1984 Steve Zodiac

I used to keep bad company
I got a contract to prove it
I used to keep bad company
I didn't know how to lose it
Oh it’s a lonely lonely life
It’s a lonely lonely life
When your living in the shadows
and your right
I used to put all my trust in you
I thought I’d never lose it
Now I wish I’d never ever heard of you
But I’m strong enough to cruise it
It’s a lonely lonely life
It’s a lonely lonely life
When your living in the shadows
and your right
I used to keep bad company
I got a contract to prove it
I used to live with my brain asleep
But now I've learned to use it
It’s a lonely lonely life
It’s a lonely lonely life
When your living in the shadows
and your right


Steve Zodiac's Fender Telecaster

 


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