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GIRLSCHOOL

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

GIRLSCHOOL take their place in British Rock history by being, without doubt, the most successful all female Hard Rock band, a fact witnessed by the group being the constant yardstick to which all other girl bands have been measured up to. GIRLSCHOOL, who doubled looks with aggression in a formula which pandered little to pop formulas, during their heyday were quite capable of selling out Hammersmith Odeon and pulling healthy audiences across Europe and North America. GIRLSCHOOL achieved early success with a couple of strong albums and a string of hit singles. Most notable of these being 'Hit And Run', 'C'mon Let's Go' and the almost legendary 'St Valentine's Day Massacre' EP with MOTÖRHEAD.

The band was originally formed as a school band titled PAINTED LADY in 1977 by teenagers Kim McAuliffe, Enid Williams, drummer Val Lloyd and guitarist Deirdre Cartwright and debuted at the Two Brewers pub in Clapham during 1977.

The change of name to GIRLSCHOOL was adopted when, after numerous line-up changes, including future GO-GOS member Kathy Valentine being in the band at one time, a stable unit was established. The recruitment of guitarist Kelly Johnson and drummer Denise Dufort, the sister of ANGEL WITCH drummer Dave Dufort, shaped the band as Cartwright left to form another all female act, TOUR DE FORCE.

After the release of a debut single, 'Take It All Away', in December 1978 on City Records, GIRLSCHOOL was offered the support slot on MOTÖRHEAD's 'Overkill' tour in the spring of 1979, thus forging a relationship with the Lemmy led crew that was to last many years. Having become label mates with MOTÖRHEAD after signing to Bronze Records, Vic Maile was taken on to produce the debut album 'Demolition' during April and May 1980. Singles lifted from the album were 'Emergency'/ 'Furniture Fire' (non-album track), 'Nothing To Lose'/ 'Baby Doll' and the GUN cover version 'Race With The Devil'/ 'Take It All Away'. The album scored a no. 28 position on the UK charts and group's presence was heightened dramatically with supprt slots to URIAH HEEP and BLACK SABBATH across Europe. On 26th January 1981 GIRLSCHOOL performed four live in the studio tracks for Radio One's Richard Skinner show.

A wise marketing ploy paired GIRLSCHOOL and MOTÖRHEAD for the February 1981 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre' EP, the cover of which featured Lemmy's crew dressed as tommy gun wielding gangsters and the girls as their molls. Credited to MOTÖRHEAD GIRLSCHOOL, the 7" and 10" vinyl set found the band playing a JOHNNY KID & THE PIRATES number, 'Please Don't Touch', together under the banner commonly known as HEADGIRL whilst each tackled a cover of one of the other band's songs; MOTÖRHEAD recording 'Emergency' and GIRLSCHOOL offering 'Bomber'. Denise Dufort performed all drum tracks as Philthy Phil Taylor had sustained a neck injury. On 19th February the two bands united to perform 'Please Don't Touch' on the UK television show 'Top Of The Pops'. It scored high on the UK charts, peaking at no. 5.

The monemtum was maintained with the quickfire release of GIRLSCHOOL's second album, 'Hit And Run' recorded at Jackson's Studios in Rickmansworth with Vic Maile again behind the desk, in March 1981. The record, which hosted a somewhat ironic cover version of ZZ TOP's 'Tush', hit no. 5 on the UK chart listings. Highly sought after limited editions came pressed in red vinyl. Up to this point GIRLSCHOOL had not achieved a USA release for any product but in 1982 Bronze Records released 'Hit And Run', actually a compilation of tracks from both the first two albums.

At the band's last Danish show in Copenhagen in 1982, with support act MERCYFUL FATE, Kim was severely electrocuted from her microphone and came close to being killed. MERCYFUL FATE frontman King Diamond endeavoured to secure promotion from this by saying he was sorry for summoning the demon that did it! Still, with Kim thankfully having recovered GIRLSCHOOL undertook their first tour of Japan in 1982 followed by a European tour opening for RAINBOW.

Nigel Gray produced the band's third album 'Screaming Blue Murder' and it was at this juncture that longstanding bassist Williams left to pursue another band project FRAMED, featuring ex SHAM 69 guitarist Dave Parsons and erstwhile ELGIN MARBLES members guitarist Barbara Spitz and drummer Ian Whitewood. Williams' new act released two singles on Thunderbay Records before dissolving. Williams was replaced by ex KILLJOYS bassist Ghislaine 'Gil' Weston upon the recommendation of MOTÖRHEAD's Lemmy. 'Screaming Blue Murder' reached no. 27 on the UK album charts as the band headlined UK dates in May.

The group's fourth album, 'Play Dirty', produced by SLADE's Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, was clearly aimed at the American market and heralded a smoother, more chorus orientated move from earlier, raunchier material. Indeed, the original plan was for Holder and Lea to produce a single and in demand American producer Spencer Proffer, the man behind the success story of QUIET RIOT, was to produce the album in Los Angeles. The band were so struck with the single however they opted to stick with the SLADE men.

The album included a cover version of the T REX classic '20th Century Boy', which soon became a fan favourite. The band also re-recorded their rendition of 'Tush', with Kim McAuliffe on vocals, for inclusion as a single B side. However, 'Play Dirty' failed to maintain GIRLSCHOOL's momentum, only attaining a no. 66 placing on the UK charts, and after a series of shows, including a support to ZZ TOP at Wembley Arena and a string of American club shows and supports to QUIET RIOT and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, the girls were seriously rethinking their approach.

To the sadness of many fans Kelly Johnson opted to leave for an ill fated liaison with former RUNAWAYS bassist Vicki Blue in Los Angeles during 1984. She later teamed up with former PAINTED LADY band mate Kathy Valentine, of GO-GOS fame, and Sandy Stevens, garnering some success in France.

The vacuum in GIRLSCHOOL was ably filled by Australian Chris Bonacci, previously a member of SWEET JAYNE, on guitar and JACQUIE BODIMEAD, formerly with CANIS MAJOR, on vocals; the pair having been recruited from the SHE, an all girl band formed by ex-ROCK GODDESS bassist Tracey Lamb.

With a new line-up established, GIRLSCHOOL toured heavily in 1984 including dates in India and German festivals, once more alongside MOTÖRHEAD. This line-up recorded the Nick Tauber produced 'Running Wild', which included the KISS cover 'Do You Love Me', for Mercury in America which, in spite of the maturity of the record, unfortunately never saw a domestic release.

The group performed dates in America during 1985 including support slots to DEEP PURPLE before the band returned to British live work supporting BLUE ÖYSTER CULT on their 1985 tour. However, in late '85 Bodimead quit leaving McAullife back in charge of lead vocals once more.

Whilst Bodimead announced the formation of the much softer edged HARMONIC 228, comprising her brother and fellow ex CANIS MAJOR guitarist Tony Bodimead, bassist Nick Hill, keyboard player Tim James and drummer Graham Goacher, eventually GIRLSCHOOL signed to MOTÖRHEAD manager Doug Smith's label GWR to release two more albums. The band also released a single with veteran glamster GARY GLITTER, 'I'm The Leader Of The Gang', a raucous version which sadly failed to dent the charts. Indeed, whilst GIRLSCHOOL consistently toured Europe but found support in Britain flagging although they impressed many in a later link up with GARY GLITTER as The Leader's' backing band some months later, the man even graciously giving the girls their own showcase set as an intermission from the main event!

With Gil Weston having opted out in 1987, The bass position was filled by none other than the aforementioned ex SHE and ROCK GODDESS member Tracey Lamb. The 1988 album, 'Take A Bite', continued the Glam theme begun with the GARY GLITTER cover by offering a version of the SWEET classic 'Fox On The Run' but also included a track penned for the band by MOTÖRHEAD's Lemmy entitled 'Head Over Heels'.

Oddly, the band did very little until 1990 when they toured Spain and the following year saw the band with new bassist Jackie Carrera and gigging hard in Europe again where GIRLSCHOOL still had strong support. Later that same year McAuliffe, Bonacci and Dufort united with former Punktress TOYAH and original bassist Enid Williams to form a one live outfit titled SHE DEVILS. This band, introducing Lydie Gallais on drums, morphed into STRANGE GIRLS to perform a solitary 1991 gig at London's Marquee.

During this period former band member Kelly Johnson had reforged a union with another ex GIRLSCHOOL member, Kathy Valentine, operating WORLD'S CUTEST KILLERS.

In 1993 GIRLSCHOOL signed to Communiqué to release an eponymously titled album, although they were hit when Carrera left on the eve of an American tour although her position was taken by a re-enlisted Tracey Lamb. This revised GIRLSCHOOL line-up debuted with a batch of dates in Israel.

Plans to record a live album in 1994 at Wokingham were dashed when, tragically, a member of the band's personnel died just prior to the gig inevitably resulting in it's postponement. Later in the year Kim McAulliffe contributed vocals to the TRUE BRITS project assembled by LEA HART and the 1994 'Metal Christmas' album and, bizarrely, Bonacci turned up playing guitar for Lemmy's old pal SAMANTHA FOX's bid for the 1995 Eurovision song contest.

Having supported SAXON in Britain in early 1995 the long awaited 'Girlschool Live' album emerged in 1996 and the group were still believed to be a going concern in 1997, although keeping a rather low profile. Kim McAuliffe kept herself busy on the live festival circuit with the BORN TO BE GIRLS cover band also featuring Lisa Davies and ex-STRANGE GIRLS drummer Lydie Gallies.

GIRLSCHOOL re-assembled during late 1998 and surprisingly turned up at the 2000 Wacken festival in Germany. The band set about recording new material for a projected three way split album in 2003 entitled 'Second Wave', sharing CD space with fellow NWoBHMers TYGERS OF PAN TANG and OLIVER / DAWSON SAXON on the Communiqué label. This trio also plotted a joint tour of the UK to promote the record. However, an original set of dates was scrapped and pushed back to September due to delays in recording. October shows in Europe would be scheduled in alliance with PAUL DIANNO and TYGERS OF PAN TANG.

GIRLSCHOOL, promoting new album 'Believe', announced US West Coast dates for November. The band entered the DVD age by filming their show at The Garage in London on 8th December. The band partnered with VIXEN and DANTE FOX for co-headline UK dates in June of 2005. Summer concerts included festival performances at the ''Raise Your Fist' and 'Borst Rock' events in Holland plus the South Wales 'Live & Kicking' festival. The band also guested for MOTÖRHEAD's 30th Anniversary show, held on 16th June at the traditional stamping ground of the Hammersmith Apollo in London. This alliance also toured the UK throughout October and December. GIRLSCHOOL released an internet download only single in mid November featuring 2005 re-recordings of 'Emergency' and 'London'. Proceeds went to the London Air Ambulance fund. GIRLSCHOOL was back on tour in Europe during November 2006.

The band's 2008 album 'Legacy', released via Wacken Records in October, proved unique in so many ways. In what was probably a world first, the lead in track 'Everything's The Same' saw the late Kelly Johnson putting in an appearance from beyond the grave - her ashes being used as a percussion instrument. Other guests of the living variety include BLACK SABBATH's Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi on 'I Spy', Lemmy from MOTÖRHEAD on 'Don't Talk To Me', TWISTED SISTER's J.J. French on 'Spend, Spend, Spend', Neil Murray of WHITESNAKE and Phil Campbell of MOTÖRHEAD on 'Whole New World', ex-MOTÖRHEAD man Fast Eddie Clarke on 'Metropolis' and TWISTED SISTER's Eddie Ojeda on 'Don't Mess Around'.

The band, alongside TIGERTAILZ, SONATA ARCTICA, THE QUIREBOYS, W.A.S.P., TERRORVISION, ROCK GODDESS, QUEENSRŸCHE and NEW YORK DOLLS, played the 'Hard Rock Hell' festival in December 2009 at Pontins holiday resort in Prestatyn Sands, North Wales.

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