Updated: Feb 8
As founder, vocalist and guitarist for Girlschool Kim McAuliffe has seen it all since the band formed nearly 40 years ago. The band have just released a great album Guilt As Sin, their first original album in eigth years and are going on the road with Motorhead and Saxon. We caught up with Kim to talk about the good old days and the new album.
PHOTOGROUPIE: (PG): TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW YOU CAME TO RECORD YOUR NEW ALBUM GUILTY AS SIN.
KIM MCAULIFFE: (KM) We hadn't penned a studio album for about eight years, as far as I was concerned it was only a few years, but time goes so bloody quick! We were told it was about time we recorded another one and we were booked into the studio with Chris Tsangarides, you have to go! We had about a month to put it all together. I thought blimey what are we going to write about, we're recorded so many in the past you can't keep writing about getting drunk and falling over all the time, it gets a bit boring. (laughs) Enid (Williams) and Jackie do the writing and over the years we've all been jotting down ideas, so it was just a matter of finding the bits of paper, blowing off the dust and putting it all together.
PG: WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH CHRIS AGAIN?
KM: It was great. Of course, we'd worked with him in the 80s, so we hadn't seen him for about thirty years. I can't believe every time I say these numbers it seems so bizarre! I find that if you haven't seen somebody for ages and you got on, you just click straight back in again. It just seemed so natural even though we hadn't seen him for so long.
PG: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG FROM THE ALBUM?
KM: Oh blimey! That's a difficult one, it's quite an eclectic mix really. I really like Take It Like A Band, because that reminds me of what we are all like. But I also really like Staying Alive. That was suggested to us by our manager. In our other albums, we've always taken a cover song and tried to make it our own. We were trying to come up with something and we kept arguing and couldn't really agree on one and our manager Tommy came up with the idea of this and we thought he was nuts. Denise and Enid could hear the rhythm and the bass so we went into rehearsal and gave it a go and it really works. I like awkward position as well because that's the cheekiest song we've done. It's so embarrassing I don't think I even want my Mum to hear that one! I'm singing this and going 'I can't sing this!' and they're all going 'go on! Go on!' and they were all laughing, it was hilarious!
PG: IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAD A RIOT RECORDING IT.
KM: Yeah we do, it's the only way to go.
PG: YOU'RE GOING ON THE ROAD WITH MOTORHEAD AND SAXON SOON, IS THAT GOING TO BE A RIOT TOO?
KM: Well we've toured with Motorhead and Saxon over the years and we actually did Motorhead's first major British tour way back in 1979. Most people I speak to weren't even born then! That was amazing for us to be invited on that first tour and then be invited onto Lemmy's 40th. (Motorhead celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2015) It's a great honour. It's gonna be great to hang out with each other again. People still think we still go down the pub together and everything. We've all moved to different countries and different places, life changes. In the early days, we all used to hang out because we all lived in London, but it will be nice to hang out with them and Saxon and old Biffy boy!
PG: SO ON TOUR WHO'S GOING TO BE THE WORST BEHAVED?
KM: Well on tour now we're actually quite well behaved I hate to say for one simple reason; because of our age we don't bounce back like we used to! We don't bounce back at all! (laughs)
PG: EARLY NIGHTS AND COCO THEN?
KM: (Laughs) Something like that...until we have a day off or it's the last night.... We'll see... I'm sure they'll be some riotous events going on.
PG: HOW DO YOU THINK ATTIDTUDES TOWARDS WOMEN HAVE CHANGED IN ROCK?
KM: We get asked a lot how does it feel to be a girl band, or do you get treated differently but as far as we could tell we weren't treated any differently from any other band. Now there are a few more women playing and I think it's a lot more acceptable now, but it's only taken thirty odd years. But we're getting there. We had lots of things going and songs in the charts, so were expecting loads of girls coming up doing the same, but there wasn't! It didn't happen, it seemed to have taken all these years for that to happen for some reason.
PG: DO YOU THINK YOU'VE HAD THE SUCCESS YOU DESERVED?
KM: I think we blew it ourselves in the middle. We got a bit complacent and we didn't do as much as we could have and there was a lot of internal friction going on at the time, so we stepped back a bit from it. Things go in cycles all the time don't they, and things happen for a reason. Where we are now is just as strong as when we started. I've got no complains, not at all.
PG: WHAT GOT YOU INTO MUSIC IN THE FIRST PLACE?
KM: I had a cousin who lived next door to me that was a bit older and Enid lived in the same street as me, she had an older brother that played guitar and my cousin played guitar. We had that influence there and they taught us a few chords and stuff. Then of course my cousin would bring home the latest Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath album or whatever and subject me to it all. So that's how I got into it, because I grew up with all the glam rock stuff, Bowie and T Rex all that stuff and Suzi Qutro on Top Of The Pops, that was a big influence on us. Seeing her do Can The Can that was amazing! Then there were bands that Denise was into like Fanny and Burtha, the American band. There was a girl I went to school with, the vicar's daughter and she was the only girl I knew that liked rock. We went to see Black Sabbath and Deep Purple at Hammersmith Odeon. Little did I know that years later I would be meeting all these people.
PG: DO YOU THINK THAT THE BAND WERE SEEN AS A BIT OF A NOVALTY IN THE BEGINNING?
KM: Oh God yeah! We got away with it because we weren't as good as boys, we just threw ourselves at it. It was the time of punk so you could do anything. The more we did it the better we got and then we started getting attention and thought 'this can't be bad!' We weren't stupid, we weren't just going to get a bloke in for the sake of it. We just stuck with it!
PG: DO YOU HAVE A CAREER HIGH OR LOW?
KM: There's been loads. One that stands out was when we headlined Reading Festival in the early 80s, that was an amazing time for us. Also supporting Deep Purple when they had their reunion, Richie invited us onto that. We were playing these huge places like the Dakota Dome for 40/50 thousand people. I've never heard so many people go nuts as they did for Deep Purple. They were going NUTS! We were standing at the side of the stage and you couldn't even hear the band, it must have been like that for The Beatles. To experience that was amazing.