Back in 1975, Kim
McAuliffe (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals) and
Enid Williams (Bass Guitar/Vocals) both from South
London, formed an all female ROCK covers band called
After playing the local pub scene with
numerous line-up changes including sisters Deirdre
Cartwright on lead guitar, Bernice Cartwright on bass
guitar & also Kathy Valentine (later of The Go Go's).
Kim and Enid recruited Kelly Johnson to
´Painted Lady´ and then on the 20th February Kim recruited Denise who she
already knew from Denise's Punk days in a band called
Skin Flicks with Suzy Gutsy/Webb (formerly of the Punk
bands The Slits and the Au Pairs) on bass and on the 22nd February 1978 they changed their name to
´GIRLSCHOOL´ which is taken from the B side of the WINGS
(Paul McCartney) single ´Mull of Kintyre´ and on the 8th
March they played their first gig as Girlschool at The
White Lion in Putney, London. They then hit
the road touring in the back of a red Bedford Van
playing venues around France, Ireland and the U.K. for
over a year gathering a strong fan base along the way.
On May 12th Girlschool supported Sham 69 at the Roxy
Theatre in Harlesden, London.
In December 78 they released their first
single ´Take it all away´ on the independent ´City
Records´ label which led to interest from Motorhead´s
management and a support slot on the Overkill tour in
the spring of 1979.
signed to Bronze Records, which was set up by Uriah Heep
producer Gerry Bron, andin
the spring of 1980 they released the album ´Demolition´
which was recorded at Jacksons Studios in Rickmansworth,
produced by the Legendary Vic Maile who had been
responsible for the Live at Leeds album by The Who and
the Classic Ace of Spades album by Motorhead.
Vic had worked with some of the biggest
names in the business, from Jimi Hendrix to Led
Zeppelin, Eric Clapton to The Pirates, Motorhead to The
Godfathers, The Kinks, The Small Faces, Dr
Feelgood and many more.
A support slot with Uriah Heep on their 10th
anniversary tour in February 1980 and then a tour with
Black Sabbath in May 1980 and European tours followed
and in February 1981 they teamed up with Motorhead again
as ´Headgirl´ on the classic single ´Please Don't Touch´
(St. Valentines Day Massacre EP) which went silver and
reached No.5 in the U.K.
The album ´Hit and Run´ also produced by
Vic Maile was released in April and went gold in
Canada. A sellout tour of the U.K., shows with Rush and
a Friday night headline slot at Reading Festival
After playing Japan in 1982, Enid
Williams left the band and was replaced by Gil Weston
who was in the punk band The Killjoys with vocalist
Kevin Rowland who went on to form Dexys Midnight
Runners. Gil was recommended by Lemmy.
Girlschool then recorded their third
album ´Screaming Blue Murder which was produced this
time by another legend Nigel Grey who produced such
bands as The Police and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The band then hit the road and went to
the U.S.A. to play stadiums on the Iron Maiden/Scorpions
tour, then went on the road with Deep Purple, Rainbow
and Blue Oyster Cult.
In 1983 the band went back into the
studio with Noddy Holder and Jim Lea of the legendary
band Slade for their fourth album ´Play
Dirty´, charting in the U.S.
In 1984 Kelly Johnson left the band to
pursue other musical ventures in L.A.
Kelly was replaced by Cris Bonacci on
lead guitar who was formerly with Australian band ´Sweet
Jayne´ and was brought from Australia to the UK by Mike
Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame. Singer
Jackie Bodimead on lead vocals also joined and GS became
a 5 piece for the first time. In 1985 they released the
album ´Running Wild´, recorded at the Manor in Oxford
and owned by Richard Branson. It was released on Mercury
records in America only and was produced by Nick Tauber
best known for his work with Thin Lizzy, Toyah, Stiff
Little Fingers and Marillion. A live video from the
Camden Palace, London with this line up was also
In 1986 Girlschool signed to GWR records
and reunited with original producer Vic Maile for the
´Nightmare at Maple Cross´ album minus Bodimead and now
back as a four piece with Kim on vocals.
The following year Gil called it quits
and Tracey Lamb of the band ´Rock Goddess´ took over on
bass for their next album ´Take
a Bite´ produced by André Jacquemin (who also produced
Monty Python) at Redwood Studios in London.
Kim, Cris, Denise and Enid teamed up with
punk singer/pop star Toyah
Willcox under the name ´She Devils´ for the Women in
Music festival in December 1990 and summer 91 saw Lydie
Gallais replacing Denise on drums under the new name
´Strange Girls´ U.K. Dates and festivals in Germany as
support to the Beach Boys followed. Strange Girls played
2 more gigs in 1992.
1992 saw Girlschool release the album ´Girlschool´ With
Jackie Carreira joining on bass formally of the band The
Flatmates, touring in and around the UK, Europe And
the Soviet Union.
1993 saw the return of Kelly Johnson and
Tracey Lamb resulting in extensive touring around Europe
and the U.S. with Kim and Denise and in March 95 the CD
´Girlschool Live´ was released.
In 1999 Kim and Denise recruited lead
guitarist Jackie Chambers, Jackie's first gig was
supposed to be Wacken that year but Kelly did that as
her last gig with the band and Jackie officially joined
soon after. In 2000 Kim asked original bassist/vocalist
Enid Williams (after an 18 and a half year absence from
the band) to rejoin and in 2002 they released the ´21st
Anniversary - Not
that Innocent´ album, recorded three years earlier with
the previous line-up, now with the addition of two new
tracks, ´Coming your Way´ and
´Innocent´ with Enid Williams and Jackie Chambers.
In 2004 this line-up recorded the album
'Believe' with Tim Hamill producing and the band toured
the UK and USA. In December 2004 Girlschool played a
special gig at The Garage in London which turned out to
be Kelly's last ever appearance with the band.
Since the release of the album ´Believe´
Girlschool have been playing headline European gigs,
festivals, shows with Alice Cooper in Spain, and support
to Motorhead on various tours in the U.K.
In 2007 Original Member and best friend
of Kim and Denise, Kelly Johnson died of cancer of the
spine and will be sorely missed.
2008 saw the release of their new album
LEGACY for the 30th anniversary which is dedicated to
Kelly and has the band shaking her ashes on some of the
songs which Kelly agreed to and thought would be a fun
thing to do. LEGACY also Featured some special guests
including Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), Ronnie James Dio
& Tony Iommi amongst others and in 2009 a Special
Edition CD/DVD package of Believe/Around the World DVD
2010 saw the band go into the studio
again to re-record their classic
Hit and Run album (now re-titled Hit and Run Revisited)
Produced by Tim Hamill who has produced their last 4
albums for the 30th anniversary of the release of the
original, with Jackie Chambers replacing Kelly Johnson
on Lead Guitar.
The album was released worldwide in 2011.
Girlschool released their 13th
studio album GUILTY AS SIN on the 13th November 2015
produced and recorded by Chris Tsangerides at his
Ecology Room studio in Kent and remastered by Tim Hamill
at Sonic One Studios in Llangennech, Wales.
November/December 2015 saw
Girlschool go on tour in Europe with Saxon on
Motorhead's 40th Anniversary tour. The tour was meant to
hit the UK in January 2016 with more European gigs to
follow but sadly Lemmy passed away at his home in Los
Angeles on the 28th December 2015.
Cheers you lot!
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