Cris Bonacci

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Cris Bonacci
Birth name Cristina Bonacci
Born (1964-10-15) 15 October 1964 (age 52)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock, pop, dance
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Guitar, keyboards, vocals
Years active 1977–present
Labels Renaissance
Associated acts
Website crisbonacci.com
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul Custom

Cristina "Cris" Bonacci (born 15 October 1964) is an Australian-born producer, songwriter, and musician. She was the lead guitarist in the British heavy metal band Girlschool (1984 to 1992, 2004) and has also provided session guitar work for other artists.

Career[edit]

Cris Bonacci grew up in Melbourne, to where the family had moved when she was 11 or 12 years old. Her guitar style derives from some formal musical studies taken in Australia, but mainly from listening to classic rock albums and practising on them. In 1985, she declared that her main influences came from rock guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck, along with early Black Sabbath's albums.[1] Bonacci played in numerous bands in native Australia, but never staying with one unit for more than a couple of years. She joined a rock group, Vixen, on lead guitar alongside Wendy Hemmings on drums (ex-Screeming Heep), Glenda Hunt on bass guitar and Robyn Youlten on lead vocals and lead guitar (Screeming Heep).[2]

Bonacci and Youlten formed a heavy rock band, Sweet Jayne, in early 1977 in Melbourne with Robyn Clark on drums and Sally Zylstra on bass guitar.[2] Prior to playing their first gig, Youlten left and was replaced on lead vocals and flute by Chris Scheri.[2] This band developed a sizeable local following in Melbourne and recorded several demoes and an extended play between 1977 and 1983.[3]

Their self-titled EP was issued in January 1980 and had five tracks, "Ambiguous Girl", "Omniscience", "Some People", "State of Mind" and "Crushed and Crazy".[2] Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, opined that it "highlighted Bonacci's crunching guitar riffs offset by Scheri's melodic vocals and lilting flute lines."[2] Soon after Brendan O'Shea replaced Zylstra on bass guitar and John Zaffarese replaced Clark on drums.[2] In October 1981 this line-up issued a single, "Icarus", with Fab Versace replacing Zaffarese on drums before being replaced in turn by Billy George in 1982.[2] The group disbanded in January 1983.[2]

After her stint in Sweet Jayne, Bonacci went to the United Kingdom to work as session and recording musician after initially being invited to the UK by Mike Oldfield.[2] In London, Bonacci joined the all-female hard rock outfit She as lead guitarist. She included lead vocalist Jackie "Jacqui" Bodimead and former Rock Goddess bassist Tracey Lamb, whom Bonacci would later team up with in Girlschool. In fact, the all-female heavy metal outfit Girlschool was short of a lead guitarist after Kelly Johnson's departure and, on hearing Bonacci, they invited both her and keyboard player Bodimead to join the band. Both agreed and, during her time with Girlschool (1984 to 1992), Bonacci recorded the albums Running Wild, Nightmare at Maple Cross, Take a Bite and Girlschool, touring extensively all over the world.

In a period of inactivity of Girlschool in 1990, she joined up with British rock singer Toyah Willcox, performing on GMTV to promote Willcox' album Ophelia's Shadow. In the years 1991 and 1992, Bonacci and Willcox and Bonacci's band mates in Girlschool Enid Williams and Kim McAuliffe formed the short-lived band She Devils, which made two short tours around Europe. After the She Devils project, Bonacci finally left Girlschool and joined Marc Almond's touring band. In December 2004, however, Bonacci re-joined Girlschool for a one-off gig at the London Garage alongside original guitarist Kelly Johnson and current guitarist Jackie Chambers. She also played at the tribute gig for Kelly Johnson on 20 August 2007 in London. After leaving Girlschool, she worked also as a session guitarist and became a member of Jonathan Ross' house band for the British TV show Saturday Zoo, where she backed international artists such as Suzanne Vega, k.d. lang, etc.[citation needed]

Bonacci wrote lyrics, music and produced for a variety of artists. She wrote mostly for the bands she was a member of, but she has also written for and produced other artists, such as All Saints and Samantha Fox. In 2003, Bonacci wrote and produced the song "Look Up" which was released on the dance compilation CD Fashion Lounge: Id Models, published in the USA by Water Music Records.[4] She also co-produced and engineered Dawne Adams' album Assume Nothing in 2004.[5] She is currently affiliated with Electracult, a band she formed with Michelle Mullen in January 2005.[6] Electracult released their first full-length release Electracult Me on 15 April 2008, on Renaissance Records. Since 2000, much of her focus has been on software training.

Equipment[edit]

Her equipment in the 80s consisted of Gibson Les Paul guitars exclusively and Marshall 100 amps.[1]

Discography[edit]

With Sweet Jayne
  • Some People (7" self-produced EP; 1979)
  • State of Mind (7" self-produced EP; 1979)
  • Crushed and Crazy (7" self-produced EP; 1979)
  • "Icarus" (7" single; 1981)
With Girlschool
With Mark Shreeve
  • Legion (1985)
With Marc Almond
  • Twelve Years of Tears (1993)
  • "What Makes a Man a Man" (1993)
With Samantha Fox
With All Saints
With Electracult
  • Electracult EP (2005)
  • Electracult Me (2008)

As producer[edit]

  • 21st Century Fox (1998)
  • Fashion Lounge: Id Models (2003)
  • Assume Nothing (2004)
  • Electracult Me (2008)

DVD releases[edit]

  • Play Dirty Live (1984)
  • Twelve Years of Tears – Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1992 (2007)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cris Bonacci interview". Metal Attack no. 23. S.A.R.L. de Presse DB2. 22 July 1985. p. 51. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Sweet Jayne'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 26 August 2004. 
  3. ^ "Sweet Jayne". Aus Metal Guide. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Various – ID Models – Fashion Lounge". Discogs. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Assume Nothing". 
  6. ^ "Quick Electracult bio".