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Sister George was an influential queercore band from London that was formed in 1994. The group's name was inspired by the 1968 UK movie The Killing of Sister George, which was an adaptation of a play of the same name.
Although queercore bands had existed in the UK in the 1980s, such as The Apostles/Academy 23, and No Brain Cells and in the early 1990s, such as Tongue Man, Sister George brought queercore into the spotlight there. The members were Lisa Cook on bass, Daryl Stanislaw on drums, Lyndon Holmes on guitar and vocals, and Ellyott on lead vocals and guitar; Ellyott was the main singer and song writer of Israeli band Pollyanna Frank, one of Israel's most important alternative bands; she was also drummer of The Darlings, a band which included Lesley Woods, formerly of the post punk band Au Pairs, and Debbie Smith, later in Curve and Echobelly.
Their album, Drag King, came out on Catcall Records, which was run by Liz Naylor. The band found themselves heralded in the pages of British music magazines such as the NME. They toured with acts like Huggy Bear and Hissyfit at first, but soon they were joined by other queer bands such as Mouthfull and Children's Hour, and it was these groups that pioneered queercore in the UK. Their album was rereleased in the U.S. by Outpunk Records, and a music video for the song "Handle Bar" was made. This song also appeared on the Outpunk Records compilation, Outpunk Dance Party. Also featured on Drag King was a hardcore style cover of the Tom Robinson song "Glad to Be Gay". The Sister George version featured the voice of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, and the band chanting, "We kill in self defense". In a gig in London's club v, the alternative queer club, in the mid '90s, Robinson introduced his song by saying, "I'm now going to sing a Sister George cover".
Label owner Naylor said of the band's relation to mainstream gay culture, "To me, the gay lifestyle is getting to be like just another alternative lifestyle. You go down Old Compton Street in Soho and see them sitting there in nice coffee bars with their pink pounds - and these (Sister George) are 20-year-old kids who are angry and on the dole."
The band broke up in the midst of recording their second album. Afterwards, Ellyott went on to form Nightnurse which featured then 16-year-old Charlotte Hatherley on guitar, who would later have success with the band Ash. Daryl drummed for The Element Of Crime with Chris and Jo from Huggy Bear, Layla from Skinned Teen, Dale from Blood Sausage and Andy from Linus, releasing the single "The things we do for love...". Lisa Cook died of cancer in 2009.
Sister George performed in and are interviewed in the film, She's Real, Worse Than Queer by Lucy Thane. Ellyott was interviewed for the book Never Mind the Bollocks: Women Rewrite Rock by Amy Raphael (Virago Press, 1995).
- Ellyott (vocals/guitar)
- Lisa Cook (bass)
- Lyndon Holmes (guitar/vocals)
- Daryl Stanislaw (drums)
- Sullivan, Caroline (1992-12-17), "Queer to the core - The pop establishment has always had a handful of gay stars colourful, eccentric, lovable. But now there's 'queercore', a radical gay music movement with attitude.", Guardian, p. 9 - Gale Document Number: CJ170793462