GIRLSCHOOL Performs At KELLY JOHNSON Tribute Concert
August 25, 2007
U.K.-based music journalist Dave Ling has issued the following report on the tribute to late GIRLSCHOOL guitarist Kelly Johnson which was held on August 20 at the Rock N Roll Kabaret at the Soho Revue Bar in London, England:
"[Monday] night I visited London's Soho Revue Bar for a tribute event to honour ex-GIRLSCHOOL guitarist Kelly Johnson, who passed away last month. Billed as 'Rock 'N' Roll Kabaret In Sound & Vision' it was a pretty diverse evening, guests of honour being Kelly's parents and her two brothers. Various industry peeps gathered to watch a female violinist in impossibly tight spandex strides and a revolving cast of musicians that included ex-GIRLSCHOOL/ROCK GODDESS bassist Tracey Lamb's current group, ROCK 'N' ROLL GYPSIES. Although I was avoiding alcohol, most people seemed to be drinking one of Kelly's favourite drinks, Tennessee Rush (Jack Daniel's with cranberry juice). Spend a chunk of the soiree gossiping with Dave Lights of IRON MAIDEN (now UFO) fame, also to Krusher Joule, and with various colourful characters like Max Splodge present the vibe was very pleasant... Kim McAuliffe told me that Johnson would definitely have approved. With the clock ticking towards midnight, GIRLSCHOOOL finally took to the stage, Lamb deputising for the absent Enid Williams. Despite promising to keep things short and sweet we got seven songs: 'Mad Mad Sister', 'Hit And Run', 'Screaming Blue Murder' (featuring a guest appearance from ex-guitarist Cris Bonacci),'Future Flash', 'Race With The Devil', 'Emergency' (with boozing buddy Beki Bondage from VICE SQUAD on vocals) and a rousing finale of 'Take It All Away', before an emotional McAuliffe closed proceedings with a tearful tribute to her fallen band-mate. RIP, Kelly."
Kelly Johnson passed away on July 15 after a six-year battle with cancer of the spine. Along with Johnson, the classic lineup of GIRLSCHOOL included Kim McAuliffe (guitar),Enid Williams (bass) and Denise Dufort (drums). The band was an integral and major force in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement, beginning with the release of its debut album, "Demolition" (1980),and continuing with the follow-up efforts, "Hit 'n' Run" (1981) and "Screaming Blue Murder" (1982).
Johnson originally left GIRLSCHOOL in 1984 after recording the band's fourth album, "Play Dirty", and moved to Los Angeles where she lived for the next 10 years. She rejoined GIRLSCHOOL in 1993 and moved back to the U.K. From 1993 until 2000 Kelly, Kim, Denise and Tracey Lamb toured Europe and the USA and recorded a live album in March 1995. Kelly decided to quit the music business for good in 2000 after recording her final album with GIRLSCHOOL, "Not That Innocent: 21st Anniversary" (2001).
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