The story of GIRLSCHOOL began during 1977 in South London, where school chums Kim McAuliffe (vocals/guitar) and Enid Williams (bass) started an all-female band by the name of PAINTED LADY. They played at school parties mainly for fun, but very soon things started to become more serious. In March 1978 PAINTED LADY was metamorphosed into GIRLSCHOOL, when guitarist Kelly Johnson and drummer Denise Dufort joined the band. Within just a month of being together, the girls hit the road, sending hot rock gravel in all directions as they played a vast number of small venues in the UK and also on the continent. In January '79 their first single "Take It All Away" was a fact (released on the independent label City Records), which gained the attention of MOTORHEAD's manager Doug Smith. He signed the band up on a management/publishing deal and put them out as a support to Lemmy's legion on the "Overkill" tour during March/April of '79, which the girls handled exceptionally well. This excursion was followed by further gigging with 'name acts' like BUDGIE and WILD HORSES, before in December a record deal was struck with Bronze and their debut release "Demolition" exploded onto the scene. The well-known single "Race With The Devil" hit the charts in England. The girls also colloborate with MOTORHEAD on the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" EP, which saw them gain a real foothold within the rock hierachy. In 1981 the album "Hit And Run" saw the light and the band toured as a support for RAINBOW in Europe. Then in '82 bassist Enid Williams left the band and her replacement, Gil Weston-Jones, was first to be heard on the "Screaming Blue Murder" album. In November '83 after the release of "Play Dirty" guitarist Kelly Johnson chucked GIRLSCHOOL and left the band in an insecure position for many years. But in 1992 the band reassembled for a surprisingly gritty album "Girlschool" and announced in 1993 that they would be touring with original guitarist Kelly Johnson and they kept their promise!
In April '95 the girls were in Holland for a few gigs and played one support show with SAXON in Zwolle (IJsselhal). METAL MAIDENS took the opportunity to speak to the four girlies in their dressing room and investigated what's going on nowadays in the school camp......
Everybody is very curious to know, what made you decide to return to GIRLSCHOOL after your departure in 1984?
Kelly: "We've been talking about it for a couple of years actually. Finally I said yeah, what the hell, 'cos I really missed them. We were on the phone all the time anyway, so. I missed my friends, I missed doing what we used to do".
Did you do anything in between?
Kelly: "Yeah, I was living in Los Angeles for ten years. After I quit the band, I moved to LA and I was in a band for a short while, for two years with Kathy Valentine of the GO-GO's. I was also doing completely other things before and after that project. About two years ago we agreed let's do it again and get the old line-up back together and reformed".
Did you accomplish what you hoped for when you started the band?
Denise: "When we first started the band, I don't think we realized how successful we're gonna be. The main thing we wanted to do, when we first got together, was actually make a record. After we made our first single, it was like OK now we want to make an album and we made our first album. Then it went gold and got into all the charts".
Kim: "I don't think any band is that satisfied. You could ask any band. They'll all probably say no! They're always thinking about the future, always want more or wanna be bigger".
Maybe it's harder, because you are girls?
Kim: "I think it's harder in the long run to be accepted, but we don't have any problems with that. We rock as hard (or harder) as any male band!"
You've been playing with many famous names throughout the years (RAINBOW, MOTORHEAD, SAXON, RUSH, etc). From which band did you learn most as supporting act?
Denise: "We learned how to have a good time and to get drunk, but you don't want to know that!" (laughing)
Kim: "I think probably we would say MOTORHEAD, 'cos they were the first ones. We've never been onto a big tour before them, so it was already a great experience for us. We were very young at that point and it was like our first taste of playing before a big audience. It was all very new to us at that time. I guess, you could call it a learning experience!"
And now you're back for the second time on tour with SAXON.
Denise: "Well, we've only ever played once with SAXON and that was in Leeds, Leeds Castle. That was the only gig we did with them, actually. We've never really toured with them".
Kim: "We bumped into them in America, when we were on the IRON MAIDEN tour. We also know them through the MOTORHEAD gang, 'cos they were MOTORHEAD's second supporting band next to us. So we go on way back. Actually, we're playing a gig with them in London in May (May 31 at the London Marquee Club) as their special guests".
Why did we have to wait so long before hearing from you again?
Kim: "Basically we've been touring everywhere. This tour just came up. We haven't even got an album out or anything. We were offered to support SAXON at this gig and then we got more little club dates around it. We thought it's only fun. Just for five days, five gigs, come over and tour around".
Denise: "I like Holland and I haven't been playing over here for years! Last time was 1982 or something (with RAINBOW)".
Kim: "Besides, we've only been reformed just recently and seriously for the past eight years, so we haven't really been looking to tour. Further we've been waiting to record our first 'live" album. It's been recorded at Wokingham, Phoenix Plaza on March 22, 1995, but it got put off. When this finally gets released, which should be August or Autumn at the best, we'll probably tour on that. We're gonna do an European tour and some things". Also in Holland again, if they want us".
Do you already have plans for a regular, studio CD?
Kim: "No, not at the moment, but maybe later on this year. We did write a few new songs, u.w. "Little Green Men" (heard in the set in Zwolle) and a track, called "Give Some Love, Give Some Knife".
Any other future plans?
Kim: "We might be going to Brazil and Malta in June. We've never played there before. We might do a few more shows in America as well".
Which female bands do you reckon are important at the moment?
Kelly: "Well, there's ELASTICA (three women and a male drummer), who came right into the British charts at number one. They're a new wave-ish band from Britain. Also the GO-GO's have recently reformed. We got to see them in London a few weeks ago".
Kim: "It really shouldn't matter, whether you're a boy or a girl. As long as you have good songs and can play".
Interview by: Rita van Poorten/courtesy of Metal Maidens '95.
*Demolition (Bronze '80)
*Hit And Run (Bronze '81)
*Screaming Blue Murder (Bronze '82)
*Play Dirty (Bronze '83)
*Running Wild (Mercury '85)
*Nightmare At Maple Cross (Roadrunner '86)
*Take A Bite (Roadrunner '88)
*Girlschool (Communique '92)
*Girlschool Live (Communique '95)
*King Biscuit Flower Hour presents Girlschool (BMG '97)
*Race With The Devil (Raw Power '86)
*Cheers You Lot (Razor '89)
*The Collection (Castle '91)
*C'mon Let's Go (Marble Arch '94)
*The Best Of Girlschool (Dojo '94)
*From The Vaults (Sequel '94)