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VARDIS was a raucous Hard Rock act created in Wakefield, West Yorkshire by guitarist Steve Zodiac, a name adopted from the lead character in Gerry Anderson's early 60s 'Fireball XL5' Sci-Fi puppet series, as QUO VARDIS after the movie of the same name. The band was active as early as 1973 but the QUO suffix was soon dropped from the band name in 1977 to avoid confusion or comparison with STATUS QUO. Zodiac was joined on his mission by bassist Tony Boulton, of MENDES PREY, and drummer Phil Medley.

VARDIS carved out their distinction on the NWoBHM scene as a boogiefied Power Metal band heavily reliant on the talents of Zodiac, well known for playing gigs barefoot. VARDIS' first EP '100 M.P.H.', released in 1979 on Redball Records, sold out of the initial 2000 copies quickly enough for the band to release another single, 'If I Were King', on Castle Records.

Shortly after the second record emerged the trio, completed by bassist Alan Selway and drummer Gary Pearson, were signed by Logo Records. Logo wasted little time in issuing debut product from VARDIS and, in October 1980, '100 M.P.H.' emerged. The album was recorded totally live, displaying VARDIS' talents to the maximum. The preceding 'Let's Go' single achieved a top 60 placing in the UK singles chart as the band hit their stride. The following year VARDIS issued a cover version of HAWKWIND's 'Silver Machine', complete with bagpipes, as a single.

The band's next album, the studio recorded 'The World's Insane', kept up the momentum (although a legendary review in the weekly music paper 'Sounds' described the record as being: 'as flat as a witch's tit'!) Despite this rebuttal, VARDIS were invited to open the monumentous Port Vale 'Heavy Metal Holocaust' event, which saw them followed onstage by FRANK MARINO, RIOT, TRIUMPH, OZZY OSBOURNE and MOTȪRHEAD.

However, with third album 'Quo Vardis', released during 1982, the band chose to herald a new era of experimentation, utilizing both saxophone and piano. VARDIS fans did not appreciate the change in direction and began to drift away. A limited edition free live EP that came with the album featured a rendition of T-REX's 'Jeepster'. Another cover version came that same year with a rendition of the GARY GLITTER anthem 'Gary Glitter Part One'. Despite putting in a UK support tour to SLADE and even playing second on the bill to HAWKWIND at the Wolverhampton Monmore Rock Festival, sales slumped and the act were promptly dropped by Logo Records.

VARDIS made a comeback effort in late 1983 with ex-DIRTY TRICKS and OZZY OSBOURNE bassist Terry Horbury. To coincide, Razor Records put out the archive set of rarities 'The Lion's Share' and a 12" single 'Standing In The Road', a cover of the BLACKFOOT SUE hit. Another stab was made in 1986 with the 'Vigilante' album through Rawpower Records, but VARDIS were effectively a spent force.

Essential Records issued the compilation 'The World's Gone Mad' in 2000.

Garry Sharpe-Young

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