are an influential three-piece Hard
rock, Boogie rock and Heavy metal band from Wakefield, West
Yorkshire, who enjoyed hits between 1978 and 1986.
formed a prominent part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal
scene, then prevalent in the United Kingdom. They consisted of
frontman Steve Zodiac on guitar and lead vocals, Alan Selway on
bass guitar and Gary Pearson on drums. Alan Selway was later
replaced by Terry Horbury (previously of Dirty Tricks) on bass
The band were originally formed under the name 'Quo
Vardis' (Latin for 'whither goest thou?') because they did not
know which direction they were going. This was later abbreviated
to Vardis. Their first recordings were made at Holyground
Studios in Cass Yard, Kirgate, Wakefied. The first ever track
laid down on vinyl was titled 'Jiving All Night Long' with the B
side titled 'Stay With Me', both penned by Zodiac. This was
followed up with a second record, both cover versions, those
being 'Roll Over Beethoven' (Chuck Berry) and 'Don't Waste My
Time' (Status Quo).
Vardis quickly gained notoriety for high
energy live performances, the unique approach of incorporating
elements of 70's glam rock and heavy metal music and frontman
Steve Zodiac's searing Fender Telecaster sound. Zodiac was
reputable for playing Vardis concerts barefoot and bare chested,
his look completed by long, naturally ice-blonde hair.
took the unorthodox approach of comprising their debut album,
'100MPH' (1980), of entirely live recordings. This is largely
considered to be their finest hour and gained the band a large
following early on in their career. They were invited to play
the Heavy Metal Holocaust music festival in August 1981
alongside Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Triumph. Around 30,000
heavy metal fans were estimated to have attended with the PA
reportedly reaching new heights of amplification at over 100,000
Their second album, released in April 1981 and called
'The World's Insane', featured a cover version of Hawkwind's
"Silver Machine", and featured bagpipes played by Judd Lander,
making it one of the few heavy metal albums to ever feature
bagpipes. The album also featured a guest appearances from
Status Quo's Andy Bown on keyboards. In 1982, Steve Zodiac was
voted in the top 15 rock guitarists by Sounds Magazine readers.
Vardis dissolved in the mid 1980s amid lengthy legal disputes
with former management.
Two compilation albums, 'The Best of
Vardis' (1997) and 'The World's Gone Mad: Best of Vardis' (2002)
have been released since their premature split, but no new
material. Original Vardis records are rare and are valued in
most record collector's books and guides. An original copy of
"100mph" including the enclosed tour guide and poster has an
estimated value of approximately £500 ($940).
with the Zodiac/Horbury/Pearson lineup in March 2014, and
performed at festivals in the U.K. and Germany until Gary
Pearson's resignation at the end of the year. New drummer Joe
Clancy was unveiled in January 2015, as Vardis announced plans
to write and record new material.record new material.
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