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 a different lineup of´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 the interest of Motorhead´s management and a support slot on the Overkill tour in the spring of 1979.
In the spring of 1980 they released the album ´Demolition´ which was recorded at Jacksons Studios in Rickmansworth and released on Bronze Records, 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 Chart.
The album ´Hit and Run´ also produced by Vic Maile was released in April and went gold in Canada also on Bronze Records. A sellout tour of the U.K., shows with Rush and a Friday night headline slot at Reading Festival followed.
After playing Japan in 1982, Enid Williams left the band and was replaced by Gil Weston of the punk band The Killjoys with vocalist Kevin Roland who later 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 for three and a half months, 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 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 was released.
2010 saw the band go back into the studio 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.
Cheers you lot!
If you made it all the way down the page then thanks for reading! ;0)
Beware the Demolition Girls!