Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Vice Squad -- "Last Rockers" (1981)

I'm too young to die
Too late to live
As politicians do the thing
No god can forgive

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Paul Rooney, Vice Squad's guitarist, wrote to 2 or 3 lines shortly after this post appeared.  Click here to read what he had to say about it.]

Today, the home state of 2 or 3 lines -- the People's Republic of Maryland -- is holding primary elections (as are Wisconsin and the District of Columbia).  So 2 or 3 lines thought the time was right to kick off a series of posts featuring songs that relate in some way to politics in general and the November 6 general election in particular.  

Punk-rock lyrics usually shed more heat than light on political questions, and the words to "Last Rockers" are no exception to that rule.

The singer of this song is "stumbling through the rubble" created by a "war no one can win" -- a nuclear war, in other words.  She is one of a group of "last rockers" -- dead men walking who rule the world for the time being, but who know that life on earth essentially "perished in atomic heat" when "they dropped their bomb."  There's "no chance of a rebirth for the last rockers on earth."  

Politicians have done many unforgivable things over the years, but so far they've  managed not to initiate a thermonuclear holocaust.  Books, movies, and songs whose theme is nuclear war seem a little quaint now, but we had plenty of reason to worry about that back in 1981, when "Last Rockers" was released by Vice Squad, a punk band that hailed from Bristol, England.

Vice Squad was fronted by songwriter/lead singer Beki Bondage (who was born Rebecca Bond).  

Ms. Bondage was quite the little minx back in the day.  She was sometimes called the first punk pin-up because she graced the covers of a number of music tabloids.

Beki Bondage (circa 1980)
Beki Bondage left Vice Squad shortly after the band completed a tour of the United States and Canada in support of its second album.  The remaining members of the group recruited a new lead singer, but very modest record sales led to them breaking up in 1985.

But Beki formed a new Vice Squad in 1997.  The new group has released several albums of "old school"-style punk music, and continues to tour.

To tell the truth, I'm not sure I approve.  It's bad enough that mainstream geezer-rockers such as the Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, et al. refuse to hang up their guitars.  (Take a good look in the mirror, guys -- you are OLD!)

But it doesn't seem quite right that punk rockers should still be performing when they are looking at age 40 in the rear-view mirror.  The classic fate of a punk rocker is to live fast and die young, whether from a heroin overdose (like Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols) or from asphyxiating on someone else's vomit (like Eric Childs of Spinal Tap).

Regardless of that, you can't deny that Ms. Bondage is as fetching as ever:    

Beki Bondage (circa 2010)
Here's "Last Rockers":

Here's a live version of the song:

Here's a link you can use to buy the song from Amazon:

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