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 ´Painted Lady´.
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 Kim recruited Denise who she already knew from Denise's Punk
days in a band called Skin Flicks and in March 1978 they changed their
name to ´GIRLSCHOOL´ which is taken from the B side of the WINGS (Paul
McCartney) single ´Mull of Kintyre´ and they 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.
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.
The band signed to Bronze
Records, which was set up by Uriah Heep producer Gerry Bron, and
in 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 released.
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.
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
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 was released.
2010 saw the band go into the studio again to re-record
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.
Cheers you lot!