GIRLSCHOOL (1977–88, 1992–PRESENT). Kim McAuliffe (vocals/guitar), Kelly Johnson (guitar, replaced by Cris Bonacci, Jackie Bodimead), Enid Williams (bass, replaced by Gil Weston, Traci Lamb), Denise Dufort (drums).
Girlschool were one of the key bands of the eighties that demonstrated that women could hold their own in the metal scene, which was unquestionably a boys’ club at the time. The band started out in London in 1977 as Painted Lady, before settling on the far more suggestive Girlschool. After releasing their first single, “Take It All Away,” they came to the attention of Motorhead and were subsequently signed to Motorhead’s label and management company, and soon the band became the foremost female heavy metal band in the world. Additional hits followed, including the famous duet with Motorhead, the “Please Don’t Touch” single, which was credited to “Headgirl.” The band continued to tour and record, but the loss of key member bassist Williams signaled the end of the first gold period of Girlschool.
In the early nineties, the band essentially changed their name to the She Devils, a project with Toyah Wilcox that led to a period of inactivity for the band. They regrouped in the mid-nineties and the band toured and recorded sporadically, reinvigorated when Williams rejoined the band in 2000.
Sadly, guitarist Kelly Johnson died of cancer in 2007, but the band continues to record and perform today with a lineup consisting of McAuliffe, Williams, Dufort, and new guitarist Jackie Chambers. Fans are advised to approach Running Wild with caution, as it was the only record made with a different lead singer, Jackie Bodimead. Girlschool continue to be the premier female metal band in metal’s history.
Discography: Demolition (Bronze, 1980); Hit & Run (Stiff, 1981); Screaming Blue Murder (Bronze, 1982); Play Dirty (Bronze, 1983); Running Wild (Mercury, 1985); Nightmare at Maple Cross (GWR, 1986); Race with the Devil (Raw Power, 1986); Take a Bite (Enigma, 1988); Girlschool (Progressive, 1992); From the Vaults (Progressive, 1995); Live (Communiqué, 1995); King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents in Concert (King Biscuit, 1997); Emergency (Snapper, 1998); Race with the Devil Live (Receiver, 1998); Believe (Communiqué, 2004).