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Department S


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Department S are a British post-punk band formed in 1980, who took their stage name from the 1960s TV series Department S. They are best known for their debut single, “Is Vic There?”.

Department S evolved from a previous punk/ska combo, Guns For Hire, fronted by Vaughn Toulouse and also featuring former Madness drummer John Hasler. Mike Herbage joined them on guitar and wrote Guns For Hire’s only single - “I’m Gonna Rough My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Up Tonight” - which emerged on the Korova record label. The group then became Department S, with the addition of Eddie Roxy (later replaced by Mark Taylor) and Stuart Mizon.

They debuted at the Rock Garden, London, on 24 September 1980. Demon Records subsequently released their debut single, “Is Vic There?”, in December 1980 (re-issued on RCA a few months later - The single then began to climb the charts and the band appeared on Top of the Pops).

Vaughn Toulouse died in 1991 from an AIDS related illness.

In February 2007, Department S recorded their first new single for twenty six years, a cover version of Alvin Stardust’s 1973 hit “My Coo-Ca-Choo”. It was released on Sartorial Records in October, and included a guest appearance by Mark Bedford of Madness on bass guitar. A re-recording of “Is Vic There?” and new tracks “Wonderful Day” “God Squad Saviour” and “Outside” were also recorded, and included contributions from Glen Matlock, Marco Pirroni, Michelle Brigandage of Brigandage, Susie Honeyman of The Mekons, with John Keeble of Spandau Ballet contributing drums to the latter two tracks. Concert dates were planned for September 2008, but were postponed until 2010.


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  • Neurotik_Barbie

    I updated the biography, feel free to add some things.

    9 Aug 2013 Reply
  • cafe_puschkin

    How sad and poignant. Now he'll never know the answer.

    11 Mar 2012 Reply
  • hookbags

    Sadly vocalist Vaughn Toulouse died of AIDS-related illness in 1991. He should have been mentioned in the bio though, I will have to rewrite it at some time, it reads more like a press release than a bio.

    1 Nov 2011 Reply
  • drownedinsound2

    No mention of Vaughn Toulouse in the biography? Utter madness!!

    6 Oct 2011 Reply
  • spizzenergi

    Together on the same bill for the first time since 1980! Two legendary artistes & producers of two iconic classics... Where's Captain Kirk? by SPIZZENERGI & Is Vic There? by DEPT. S - Now I like asking the question 'Where's Captain Kirk?" and I quite like "Is Vic There?" but which is better? There's only one way to find out... FIGHT! see for ticket info

    5 Apr 2011 Reply
  • Igor2010

    muito boa essa banda....

    9 Feb 2011 Reply
  • LostFollower

    Department S confirmed for Rebellion Festival. This is the line up how looks for the Friday Empress. Capacity 3500. Stiff Little Fingers, The Rezillos, Department S, Blood or Whiskey, Sonic Boom Six, Bombshell Rocks, Jaya the Cat, Radio Dead Ones, Badtown, Zoo Party.

    18 Mar 2010 Reply
  • Lesscities

    ..sounds a bit like "Stranglers meets Psychedelic Furs"..But nice tunes

    25 Feb 2010 Reply
  • LostFollower

    New Department S Website: Fully upgraded website with full details of band past and present.

    7 Aug 2009 Reply
  • Freelove_

    Join my group: Post-Punk.

    5 Aug 2009 Reply
  • LostFollower

    Department S have a new single released on August 10th called 'Wonderful Day'. It is an EP on vinyl style CD and is available in 5 colours. Also available from I-tunes on download. The single includes guest appearances by Glen Matlock of Sex Pistols ob bass and Marco Pirroni of Adam an the Ants on guitar.

    24 Jun 2009 Reply
  • greysky

    has anyone got sub-stance?

    10 May 2009 Reply
  • feminalia

    okay..stop writing this..or i give you some vic!!

    9 Feb 2009 Reply
  • knobbystiles

    Is Vic there?

    24 Dec 2008 Reply
  • anthonypizarro

    IS vic there! Is vic there?

    5 Oct 2007 Reply
  • russco_p

    does anyone have some i can get me hands on?

    14 May 2007 Reply
  • MikeHuntSmells

    Is Vic There?

    26 Jan 2007 Reply

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