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The Suffrajets were a British all girl four-piece rock band formed by Alex Gillings and Gemma Clarke. The last line-up was Alex Gillings (rhythm guitar), Gemma Clarke (drums), Claire Wakeman (lead guitar, vocals) and Lulu Small (bass). The band split in March 2007.
The band was formed in a school playground by childhood friends Gemma Clarke and Alex Gillings, completed by bassist Charlene Hall. The band gained popularity through their frequent touring (from the age of around 14 years old), the release of singles such as "Hold These Eyes" and "Distinction" and a Channel 4 documentary entitled We Are The Suffrajets. Their fans include Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.
The band signed their first record contract with Poolside Records via Sony when the girls were 17 years old. After signing with Sony, the band toured Los Angeles and recorded their debut album with producer Greg Hampton. For 6 months they toured the UK and the first line-up change came in October 2002 when their tour bus crashed on the M25. Hall sustained a broken collarbone and ultimately left the band. She was replaced by sisters Sam (bass/vocals) and Shelley Walker (lead guitar) who were in the band for two years. It was during this period that the band wrote and recorded their album at Great Linford Manor and UB40s Dep International studios with producer Danny Sprigg. They released their single 'Distinction' which gained the band a lot of press and amazing reviews from the likes of Kerrang! The girls also came to the attention of Bruce Dickinson, who was blown away by Shelley (Lead Guitarist) and frequently played their music on his radio show. Clarke found fame that year as a member of the original line-up of Babyshambles. The Suffrajets called a hiatus while Clarke toured with Babyshambles and played drums on several of the band's singles. After Clarke quit Babyshambles in January 2005, The Suffrajets reformed with new members Claire Wakeman (lead guitar) and Vicky Kingston (bass). They toured with punk band Towers Of London and released their first single "Sold" on the independent record label Tough Cookie. The single received coverage in Music Week and featured on the Radio 1 Show "Women in Rock." Sold reached number 8 in the official UK Rock chart.
The Suffrajets played Download Festival and Tiscali Sessions at Reading Festival in Summer 2005 appearing alongside acts such as The Futureheads, Graham Coxon and We Are Scientists. During this period work was finished on their previously unreleased album. The band toured extensively in 2005, completing 30 dates in 30 days in September, ending in a show at the Camden Underworld. Tough Cookie were bought out of their contract by Beyond Bedlam Records who released the Suffrajets' second single "Everything You Do" in October 2005, earning them coverage in The Guardian and New Woman Magazine. In June 2006, the band toured the UK supporting Presidents of the United States of America, and shortly afterwards released their next single Worthy, which was played on many UK radio stations. Shortly after this Vicky Kingston left the group, to be replaced by Lulu Small. Their album Crooked Mile went on release in September 2006, but was only available via their website.
After 11 years playing together, the band announced that they had split in March 2007. Clarke and Wakeman went on to form The Krak, Gillings immediately after splitting from The Suffrajets formed Lullaby Project & Bears (an acoustic duo), before forming her current band The Great Malarkey, an 8 piece folk punk band based in London, but touring the UK, Europe and Scandinavia regularly and Small reformed her original band Seven Embers.