VICE SQUAD: The Riot City Years: CD

Matt Wingrove’s truck, summer 1988. That’s what this CD conjures up. My friend Matt was a total Angophile when it came to punk and a sucker for a band with a girl rockin’ the mic, so it was almost a gimme that Vice Squad would be one of his favorite bands (well, them, the Superheroines, Pandoras, and L7, the latter of the three he liked so much he roadied for them during that period), and he played them CONSTANTLY. Normally, some would find such repeated listenings of the same band day in and day out intolerable, but Vice Squad were such a good goddamn band—grade-A ‘80s British punk fronted by the legendary Beki Bondage—that you really didn’t notice that the same tape was being played over and over again. At one point, he bought a copy of every Vice Squad single he could find and, voila, a whole new slew of tunes for our listening enjoyment. A good hunk of the tunes that comprised that second Vice Squad tape are here (as well as three songs from a demo by their side band the Sex Aids), essentially the tracks from the pre-Stand Strong, Stand Proud singles, all of it crucial listening. Haven’t seen Matt since 1991 and last I heard, he was living in San Berdoo. Listening to this, though, with the stereo cranked to its full, wall-shaking maximum, I find myself back in that battered mini-truck of his, complete with “Yogi is a sex dwarf” and “The Rejected” (the name of the band he and Yogi had at the time) graffiti in the bed and exhaust streaming in from the hole in the cab floor, cruising the hills of City Terrace, looking for a gig to go to, some trouble to get into, or some combination thereof.

 –jimmy (Step-1 Music)