Zounds were an English anarchist band formed in 1977 from loose jamming sessions around the Reading area. Originally they were part of the cassette culture movement, releasing material on the Fuck Off Records tape 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 coined by William Shakespeare: "zounds", which is a contraction of "God's wounds" - i.e. the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ - formerly used as a mildly blasphemous oath.
The band were formed around the nucleus of Steve Lake in Reading, Berkshire and evolved from a number of jamming sessions with other musicians and friends, 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) adopting the name 'Zounds', chosen from a dictionary by Burch. Soon Burch left the group and was replaced by Joseph Lawrence. After this the band slowly became more politicized due to troubles with police and unfolding events of the cold war, and became more and more involved with free festivals, alongside The Mob who they developed a close association with.