Sunday, May 31, 2015

C'mon, Let's Go: Girlschool rips through tour, set to unleash 'Guilty As Sin'

Girlschool's Kim McAuliffe. (All Cat Rose photos)

Andy, text; Cat Rose, photos

Getting down and dirty, and cranking out a plethora of raw, back-to-basics anthems.

That's what Kim McAuliffe and her hard rockin' Girlschool bandmates have on their agenda, some 37 years after starting up in London. The quartet's latest album, "Guilty As Sin," is No. 13 for the band and will be unleashed this summer on UDR Records.

The record features corkers like "Come, The Revolution" and "Take It Like a Band," which were part of the band's setlist when it rolled through Seattle to play Studio Seven last Thursday night. Other career-spanning songs that blasted through Girlschool's amps -- and no doubt left them smoking a bit -- were "C'mon Let's Go," "Hit and Run," "Never Say Never," "Screaming Blue Murder," "Watch Your Step," "Race with the Devil," "Emergency" and more.

Yes, McAuliffe (vocals, rhythm guitar), Denise Dufort (drums), Enid Williams (bass, vocals) and Jackie "Jax" Chambers (lead guitar) were hot as a torch on stop six of their North American tour with Sweden's Crucified Barbara.

"We're really happy about it, obviously. We weren't sure whether we were gonna be doing another studio album at all," McAuliffe said following the Seattle gig. "Before we knew it, there we were in recording with Chris Tsangarides, who we'd already recorded with in the '80s, so we knew him and everything. And there we were doing it all over again."

McAuliffe -- one of the band's original members along with Dufort and Williams -- chuckles when she thinks about lyrics for the new album.

"We go, 'What the hell are we gonna write about now?' You think you've written about everything really you think of, but there's always something to write about," she said as a fan asked her to sign a drum head (neither of them had a pen, but hopefully that was sorted later).

She continued: "'Revolution' is written about how people aren't satisfied in the world anymore with things. And, of course, when I wrote 'Take It Like a Band,' it's all about being on the road."

For the members of Girlschool, rock and roll is their lives, although McAuliffe is looking forward to getting in some gardening and playing with her four rescue rabbits on her half-acre abode this summer when she returns from tour.

"You don't really think about it, you just do it," McAuliffe said about rocking with Girlschool. "It's fun -- and what else would we do?"

Back to that garden ... "Funny enough, when I was having to write for the new album, yeah, I'd be sitting out in the garden going through stuff. We didn't get anything (inspiration) from the trees or anything. I'm not that hippy-ish."

About an hour before taking the stage in Seattle, McAuliffe stood to the side, arms folded, grinning and nodding her head as Crucified Barbara leveled the crowd.

"I must admit, obviously we started 37 years ago, we were expecting a lot more females to come up. It only seems to be now, 37 years later, that there's more. It's taken it's time, isn't it?" McAuliffe said.

On Crucified Barbara, she added: "I'm proud of them. I think they're brilliant. So they're all girls, they're just a bloody good band. It's a bit like people still thinking, cause it's such a novelty, you can't possibly have two girl bands playing... you know, there'd be a rivalry. But of course it's not. It's like saying Deep Purple/Black Sabbath on the same bill -- they're just different bands. They're all blokes, but they're just different bands ...we're all girls, we're different bands."

Original Girlschool lead guitarist/vocalist Kelly Johnson would have surely been standing by McAuliffe's side, digging the rock in Seattle.

Johnson died of cancer nearly eight years ago and her spirit remains with Girlschool.

"We still talk about her all the time and laugh about everything. We laugh about things we've done in the past. She's still very much with us," McAuliffe said with a smile.

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