Painted Lady was formed at a south London high school in 1977 by Di Williams and Kim McAuliffe and changed names upon induction of Johnson and Dufort. Enid Williams and Kim McAuliffe actually lived on the same street in their teenage years.
The band's first release was Take It All Away on Phil Scott’s City Records. They toured in support of Motörhead for the Overkill tour (Girlschool was now managed by Motörhead's manager Doug Smith) and used the friendship and connection to sign to Bronze Records. The group’s debut, entitled Demolition, was produced by Vic Maile who had worked with Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac in the past. The band's first breakthrough came when they recorded the St. Valentines Day Massacre EP with Motörhead.
In 1982, at a show opened by Mercyful Fate, Kim McAuliffe was electrocuted on stage. King Diamond was quick to claim responsibility for summoning the appropriate spirits! Enid Williams left the band in 1982 and went on to study opera and perform on stage in theatres.
Johnson left in 1984. Australian girl Bonnacci (who would later perform live with Samantha Fox!) and Jackie Bodimead replaced her. For the third album, Weston replaced Williams. Bodimead left in 1985 and McAuliffe became the singer for the second time in the band's career. Further Motörhead connections occurred when the band signed with GWR the house-label of Motörhead's manager. Weston left in 1988 and was replaced by Lamb. Girlschool toured everywhere and sold out most venues in England. The band broke up in 1988 but returned two years later again with Lamb. The band appeared at the Wacken Festival in 1999. However, 2000 brought with it a name from the past as 'Enid' rejoined the group after an absence of eighteen years. Jackie Chambers was also introduced to the group. Unfortunately, Kelly Johnson left Girlschool nearly at the same time. A new studio album was planned for early 2001. Not That Innocent was issued in 2002. Communique Records issued a split CD with Oliver/Dawson Saxon and Tygers Of Pan Tang in 2003 called Second Wave. Original guitarist Kelly Johnson died due to the cancer of the spine on July 15th, 2007. The group was forced to cancel its US tour in autumn of 2007 after failing to get a visa for that country. Because of the members’ passports being holed up at the US Embassy the group missed the opportunity to tour Germany as well. The collegiates picked Legacy as the title for the 30th-anniversary album, which was out in October 2008 through Wacken Records (formerly Armageddon)/SPV. The album featured guest appearances by Lemmy, Dio and Tony Iommi. The band played Spain’s Martohell Oktoberfest 08. Girlschool joined the likes of W.A.S.P., Queensrÿche, Lauren Harris (daughter of Steve Harris of Iron Maiden), Rock Goddess and New York Dolls for 2009’s Hard Rock Hell festival, announced for December 4-5th at Pontins in Prestatyn Sands in Wales. Girlschool was again in the studio re-recording its 1981 album Hit And Run. The new version of the album was to be released in 2011 to commemorate the album's 30th anniversary. Girlschool pulled out of a previously announced North American tour with Diamond Head and Holy Rage (the band of early Judas Priest singer Al Atkins) in 2011. The tour was scheduled for August. The band reported that the promoter did not wish the band to tour without a new album. Raven and Girlschool would tour Europe together using the British Classic monicker in November and December of 2013. In 2015, Girlschool unearthed two vintage recordings for release. London 1980 and Glasgow 1982 were being released before the group’s new album Guilty As Sin, which would be released later that summer through UDR Music. An EP, called Propaganda!, was also out.
Dufort is the sister of Angelwitch's Dave Dufort. Girlschool has played as far afield as India and has constantly sought success playing other bands' music as cover versions.
GIRLSCHOOL - LEGACY - SPV
Legacy is both a new album from the English Girlschool and a commemoration of the band’s thirtieth anniversary. Many bands fade way long before that kind of an anniversary, many bands sell out and change styles, while others... well, who cares?
Legacy is a rush. This album holds the type of urgency younger bands never had in the first place and is certainly a musical milestone for the English girls who even in their own heady younger days could not or did not muster such hard rock or heavy metal. The album has urgency, power and rocks hard. The songs are good.
The album has many guest appearances, including ones from Ronnie James Dio, Neil Murray, Phil Campbell and of course Lemmy, but begins with Everything’s The Same featuring a 'ghost appearance' by dead Girlschool former member Kelly Johnson. Match that, death metal bands! The freaky appearance aside the song is really good. What a pleasant surprise seeing Kim, Denise, Enid and Jackie go for the throat like this. From The Other Side is again loud, hard and yet catchy and has a great full-blown sound. I Spy (Girlschool Mix - will be explained shortly) is freakier and has a serious vocal delivery. The backing chants help these unbridled vocals. The group has a pertinent and topical message that reminds one of Judas Priest’s Electric Eye with social ramifications. The first guest appearance proper comes on Spend Spend Spend and is by J.J. French. What the connection is one may never know, but the song is popper despite the cool solo. This one sports screeching guitars and a tight rhythm section. It is not difficult to hear who might have influenced The Donnas. Whole New World features Neil Murray and Phil Campbell and has a bottom-heavy tone. Kim McAuliffe raps on the song, but don’t stop reading. It is nowhere near as bad as it sounds. The song is angrier than the other cuts and certainly different. Vocals are both sung and rapped. Did somebody already say that? Just Another Day has more guest musicians, but is nothing special; while Legend is again pop-oriented. It is the story of a girl whom everyone misses, but cannot be about Princess Diana because the lyrics mention sex, drugs and rock and roll. Then again, maybe it is about Princess Di and her boyfriends! Still Waters mixes things up and is more diverse. There is some experimentation on this song with the tones and tempos, but the album is still an above average outing for the band nonetheless as a whole. Metropolis, featuring Fast Eddie Clarke, is of course a cover version of the songs Motörhead made famous. Do Motörhead and Girlschool still share managers? The song is really well done. Then again listen for the heavy metal riffing on Zeitgeist before deciding which song is the more impressive. Don’t Talk To Me features yet another Motörhead guest appearance, this time courtesy of Lemmy himself who manages to multi-task with his vocals, bass and... triangle. What a joke.
Legacy’s track line-up proper comes to an end here, but there are several bonus songs left to go yet, even though one can argue all these guest and special appearances, covers and good music have themselves borne some kind of a 'bonus' characteristic thus far. I Spy is back first this time as the 'Dio/Iommi Mix.' Ronnie puts in yet another great performance. Emergency is, of course, punkier and the album ends with a solid and wild run through London. Great singing and tight drumming on this track conclude the disc.
Legacy is a welcome surprise. Not only is it a rare great choice for hard rock and heavy metal fans, but it also puts anything the quartet has previously done to shame - my liking of the band’s early '80s output included. - Ali “The Metallian”