GIRLSCHOOL- Live interview with the Queens of NWOBHM

By DJ WILL, KNAC.COM Personality
Monday, November 15, 2004 @ 11:26 AM

Girlschool- 1st West Coast Dat

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11/17 - Los Angeles: Knitting Factory
***Live In Studio at KNAC.COM - 3:00PM - PST/23:00 GMT)

11/18 - San Diego: Casbah
11/19 - San Francisco: Cafe du Nord
11/20 - Portland: Dante's
11/21 - Seattle: Graceland

Formed in the ’70s, Girlschool was undoubtedly ahead of their time. The music of Girlschool was punk tinged heavily with metal (or vice versa).

Back in 1977, Enid Williams (bass) and Kim McAuliffe (guitar) both lived on the same street in South London. Their friendship went back to their school days together, and they formed all-girl rock band called PAINTED LADY playing mostly covers with Kim playing guitar and Enid on bass. Along with Deirdre Cartwright on lead guitar and someone remembered only as Tina on drums, the foursome sporadically played some gigs on the local club scene; however, the band never seemed to gel and soon broke up. Kim and Enid decided to try it again, and somewhere during this period they met up with American Kathy Valentine (guitar). Kathy, who reportedly lacked the requisite UK work visa, had to scamper back to the US to join up with fellow Austin, Texas guitarist Carla Olson and form the Textones, before eventually playing bass with the Go-Go’s.

Kathy’s departure created an opening at lead guitar which in March of 1978 was filled by Kelly Johnson. Denise Dufort joined on as drummer. They changed their band’s name to Girlschool. Girlschool hit the road, touring smaller venues throughout the UK, as well as across the channel. In December of 1978 they released their first single, "Take It All Away," on the independent City Records label. Girlschool supported Motörhead on their tour promoting their OVERKILL album in the spring of 1979. In December, 1979, Lemmy, the front man of Motörhead and a good friend to Girlschool throughout their career, set up a rehearsal / audition for Girlschool which was attended by Gerry Bron, the president of Bronze Records.

Going into 1980 armed with a solid UK fan base and a recording contract in their pocket, Girlschool went into the recording studio with producer Vic Maile and recorded their debut album, DEMOLITION. DEMOLITION charted in the top 30 in England.

1981 was a very good year. A collaborative EP recorded with Motörhead, "St Valentines Day Massacre," (released under both the names Motorschool and Headgirl) peaked at number 5 on the singles’ chart and a highly entertaining appearance on Top of the Pops. Their follow up album to Demolition, HIT AND RUN, also produced by Vic Maile, established Girlschool as a top rock act in the UK by hitting number 5 on the album charts with the HIT AND RUN single reaching 32 in the singles chart and another Top of the Pops appearance.

In early 1982, Enid Williams left the band and was replaced by Gil Weston-Jones, who had previously played bass for Birmingham punk band The Killjoys (with Kevin Rowland who went on to form Dexys Midnight Runners). Girlschool entered the studio to record their third album, SCREAMING BLUE MURDER, with a new producer, Nigel Gray.

1983, Girlschool went back into the studio for their fourth album, PLAY DIRTY. Noddy Holder and Jim Lea of the legendary rock outfit Slade were brought in to produce. Following the release of PLAY DIRTY, lead guitarist and vocalist Kelly Johnson left Girlschool to live in LA.

The remaining Girlschool members, Kim McAuliffe (guitar/vocals), Gil Weston-Jones (bass) and Denise Dufort (drums), carried on and soon replaced Kelly with two new members, both from the band She - Australian born Cris Bonacci (lead guitar) and Jackie Bodimead (vocals & keyboards).

Girlschool signed with giant Polygram’s subsidiary Mercury Records, past home of the Runaways. Their next album, 1985’s RUNNING WILD, was produced by Nick Tauber, RUNNING WILD was meant for the American market, and in fact was released only in America, not in the UK. A live video with this line up, recorded at The Camden Palace London, was also released in the UK and the US.

In 1986, Girlschool signed to GWR Records. For their first GWR album, Girlschool reunited with producer Vic Maile for the album Nightmare at Maple Cross, minus Jackie Bodimead and now back as a four piece with Kim taking over all lead vocals.

In 1987, bassist Gil Weston called it quits, leaving Girlschool after five years in order to get married. Her replacement on bass was Tracey Lamb, formerly of Rock Goddess.

In early 1988, Girlschool began working with producer Andre Jacquemin (best known as Monty Python’s record producer) on their next album, which would be called TAKE A BITE. The album was released in Europe in November and early in 1989 in the US.

Kim, Cris, Denise and Enid teamed up with punk/pop star Toyah Willcox under the name She Devils for the Women In Music Festival in London in December 1990. In the summer of 1991, Kim McAuliffe, Enid Williams and Cris Bonacci resurrected the She Devils project with Toyah under the new name Strange Girls with Lydie Gallies replacing Denise on Drums, they played some gigs in 1991 in the UK and Europe and 2 more gigs in 1992.

In 1992, Girlschool reunited with yet another bass player, Jackie Carrera (ex of the Flatmates). The resulting album, 1992’s self-titled and self-produced GIRLSCHOOL, released on Communique records.

In 1993 Kelly Johnson and Tracey Lamb returned to Girlschool for some gigs throughout the UK, US and Europe and in March 1995 recorded the CD Girlschool: LIVE, which features the new songs "Little Green Men" and "Knife". Kelly and Tracey depart again in 2000 and Enid Williams returns along with new Lead guitarist Jackie Chambers. In 2002 Girlschool release 21st anniversary: Not That innocent on Communique records produced by Girlschool and Tim Hamill, most of the songs on this album were recorded with the Kim McAuliffe, Kelly Johnson, Denise Dufort, Tracey Lamb Turner line up but with 2 songs added with the current Band of Kim McAuliffe, Enid Williams, Denise Dufort and Jackie Chambers. In 2003 Girlschool recorded 2 new songs along with 3 tracks from the Not That Innocent album for inclusion in a CD entitled The Second Wave: 25 years of NWOBHM for Communique. It’s this same line up that released a brand new album on July 26th 2004 titled BELIEVE, again on Communique records and again produced by Tim Hamill and Girlschool.

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