List of Girlschool band members
Girlschool classic line-up: Kim McAuliffe, Enid Williams, Kelly Johnson, Denise Dufort
|Past members||Kelly Johnson (died 2007)
Ghislaine 'Gil' Weston
Girlschool are an all-female British heavy metal band, founded in 1978. The original members Kim McAuliffe, Enid Williams, Kelly Johnson and Denise Dufort come from the club cover band Painted Lady. During the early 1980s the band was one of the relevant groups of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) movement, entering the British charts with both singles and albums. Unlike many heavy metal bands, Girlschool often had more than one lead vocalist, with vocal duties in the 'classic' line-up shared amongst Williams, McAuliffe and Johnson.
In 1985, Girlschool veered towards a more commercial and American FM friendly sound, changing to a five-piece group, with Cris Bonacci replacing Johnson on lead guitar and adding Jackie Bodimead on lead vocals. This formation was short-lived, because Bodimead left in 1986 and Girlschool returned to a four-piece band. More line-up changes took place in 1987, when former Rock Goddess bass player Tracey Lamb replaced Weston, and in 1992, when Jackie Carrera had a short stint with the band.
In 1993, Kelly Johnson came back to England from the USA and found her place again in Girlschool, replacing the departing Bonacci. Johnson and Lamb remained in the band until 2000, when Jackie Chambers and the returning Enid Williams took their places in the current line-up.
(London, 13 May 1959)
- Active: 1978 – present
- Instruments: rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals
- McAuliffe is a founding member of Girlschool and acted as front-woman and spokesperson of the group. She was pivotal in most of Girlschool’s career decisions, from their first line-up, to their change of image and sound in the mid-80s, to their return to a rawer kind of music after their American debacle. She is a prolific songwriter and also known for her romantic relationships with other rock musicians (Eddie Clarke, Gary Owens, Michael Monroe, Nick Lashley, Cozy Powell). In the 1990s, McAuliffe worked with punk singer Beki Bondage and she was later one of the presenters of the Raw Power TV show on British commercial TV channel ITV. McAuliffe featured with Cris Bonacci on the NWOBHM celebrating album All Stars in 1990 and also on the album Metal Christmas in 1994, with Paul Di'Anno and Eddie Clarke. Besides her work with Girlschool, McAuliffe also played in the late 90s with the cover band Born to Be Girls, which performed at various summer biker rallies. She had been the sole lead singer in Girlschool from 1986 to 1993, a duty that she currently shares with Enid Williams.
(London, 28 April 1960)
- Active: 1978 - 1982, 2000 - present
- Instruments: bass guitar, lead and backing vocals
- Williams is another founding member of Girlschool and one of the three lead vocalists singing in the first two albums of the band. She left the band in 1982, at the time of maximum success and workload for the group. She formed the same year the short-lived band Framed. She then completed her education and worked composing and performing music for theatres and musicals, becoming later an actress and a professional astrologer. She remained always in contact with her former band mates and joined them in the early 90s for the She-Devils and Strange Girls experience. She rejoined the group in 2000 after the departure of Kelly Johnson and Tracey Lamb, taking back her lead vocalist slot and introducing lyrics about social and political matters.
(London, 18 October 1958)
- Active: 1978 - present
- Instruments: drums, backing vocals
- Dufort is the third still active founding member of Girlschool. Before joining, she had played in a few punk bands and had become a fan of Painted Lady, the cover band formed by Kim McAuliffe and Enid Williams in their school days. She is the sister of British drummer Dave Dufort, drummer in the NWOBHM band Angel Witch. Denise Dufort has always been present in every formation of the band and had a long relationship with Girlschool’s road manager Tim Warhurst. When working with Girlschool, she also played with the post-punk band Au Pairs. She manages web communications for the band.
(Leeds, 27 March 1964)
- Active: 1999 - present
- Instruments: lead guitar, backing vocals
- Chambers is a self-taught guitar player who played in some punk bands in her native Leeds and then in London, before starting to write music with Kim McAuliffe around 1995. She shared a flat for seven years with Kelly Johnson in London and both Johnson and Cris Bonacci helped her in becoming an accomplished lead guitarist, in order to take their place in the band. Chambers' debut performance with the band was at Venue 27, Luton, England, on October 5th 2000. She soon became a driving force for the band, contributing both to the band’s stage image and as a songwriter. In 2007, Chambers became a member of the reformed Blitzkrieg, a British punk band from Southport. She divided her time between London and Los Angeles, where she composed and performed her own music until March 2012, when she returned to live in Leeds. In 2015 she formed a new band alonsgide her work with Girlschool called Syteria, a female fronted pop-punk band in Yorkshire.
(London, 20 June 1958 – 15 July 2007)
- Active: 1978 - 1984, 1993 - 2000
- Instruments: lead guitar, lead and backing vocals
- Johnson was a founding member of the band and shared with Kim McAuliffe the bulk of song writing in the first four albums of Girlschool. Her taste for pop music was balanced in the songs of the first albums by the punk and heavy metal influence of the other band members, but it became more evident in the album Play Dirty. Her tall figure and blonde hair made her a strong visual focal point for the male-dominated heavy metal audience of the time, while her lead guitar playing became a term of comparison for who followed her in the ranks of the band. She was also the third lead singer in the original line-up. In most Girlschool songs, lead vocals are performed by lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist Kim McAuliffe and by lead vocalist and bass guitarist Enid Williams, but there are some notable exceptions, in which Kelly played lead vocals, such as "Hit and Run", "C'mon Let's Go", "The Hunter", "Please Don't Touch" (Performed with Motörhead as part of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre EP), "Wildlife", "Breakdown", "20th Century Boy, "Future Flash", among other songs in which Kelly also played lead vocals. She left Girlschool at the beginning of 1984 and moved to Los Angeles, USA, to live with Vicki Blue, former bassist of The Runaways. She spent ten years of her life writing and playing her own music and also working outside the music scene in LA. She came back to the United Kingdom and to her place in Girlschool in 1993 and remained until 2000, when she was diagnosed with cancer. She remained associated with the others, playing the occasional gig, instructing her substitute and gathering photos and material for a band biography. On 15 July 2007, Kelly Johnson died of spinal cancer at the age of 49.
Ghislaine 'Gil' Weston
(15 February 1958)
- Active: 1982 – 1987
- Instruments: bass, lead (only on the tracks "Hellrazor" and "Flesh and Blood" from Girlschool third album Screaming Blue Murder) and backing vocals
- On the recommendation of Lemmy, she replaced the original bass player Enid Williams, coming from the short-lived punk bands The Killjoys and Alternating. In January 1987, after five years with the group, she left as Gil Weston-Jones to spend her life with her American husband, quitting the music business. She now works for the NHS in England.
(Melbourne, 15 October 1964)
- Active: 1984 – 1992
- Instruments: lead guitar, backing vocals
- Bonacci is an Australian guitarist who moved to England to enjoy and exploit the British musical explosion of the early 1980s. In London, Bonacci joined the band She, which played in the local rock clubs and featured as members Jackie Bodimead and Tracey Lamb. She was recruited by Kim McAuliffe to replace Kelly Johnson in 1984 and she remained with the band for nine years, giving a large contribution to the sound of Girlschool with her songs and her Jeff Beck inspired guitar playing. In an interview in 1992, referring to her permanence in the band, she said that "I've decided that I'll only be in the band as long as I'm doing other things as well" In fact, she left the band soon after, to pursue a career as touring musician, artist manager and record producer. She came back to the attention of the British tabloids in 1999, for her relationship with pop singer Samantha Fox, which Bonacci managed.
- Active: 1984 - 1986
- Instruments: lead vocals, keyboards
- When Bodimead joined Girlschool, coming from the all-female hard rock band She, she was already an accomplished lead singer, having played in the hard rock and prog rock bands Strategy and Canis Major. She shared lead vocals with Kim McAuliffe on the album Running Wild and went on a world tour with Girlschool in 1985. Unsatisfied with the heavier sound the band wanted to return to, she left the band to pursue a more commercial musical direction. She joined the British AOR band If Only and later released the solo album of melodic hard rock Don't Believe in Love, produced by Lea Hart.
- Active: 1987 – 1991, 1993 – 2000
- Instruments: bass, backing vocals
- Lamb is a founding member of Rock Goddess, another all-female metal act originated in the new wave of British heavy metal. She quit Rock Goddess in 1983 and briefly substituted Gil Weston in Girlschool for a tour in Israel. The same year, Lamb formed with Jackie Bodimead, Cris Bonacci, Kat Burbella and Suzie Roll the all-female band She, which never stepped outside the English club scene and disbanded in 1985. Lamb started a new project called The Perfect Mothers but, when Weston left Girlschool for good, she was immediately recruited to replace her and remained in the band for three years. In 1993, she came back to the fold after the sudden resignation of Jackie Carrera. She remained until 2000, when she left the band together with her friend Kelly Johnson. In 2005, she started a new rock band called Rock ’n’ Roll Gypsies, which worked the British rock club scene, but remained without any recording contract. She moved to Spain to work as a gym instructor and manager and finally rejoined the reformed Rock Goddess in 2014.
- Active: 1992
- Instruments: bass, backing vocals
- Carrera (also known as Jackie Carreira) came from the indie pop bands The Flatmates and The Caretaker Race, where she had been playing since 1988. She joined the band in 1991 and contributed to Girlschool’s eponymous album in 1992. Carrera played with the band around the UK, Europe and Russia, but when the band was due to head to the USA, she declined to travel and left the group amicably. She was replaced by returning bassist Tracey Lamb. After working as a session musician for several bands including Take That until 1996, Carrera is now a writer working mostly in theatre.
The band's line-up considered as 'classic' was the one from 1978 to 1982. 'Classic' members are mentioned in bold in the following list.
as Painted Lady
as She Devils
as Strange Girls
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