Interview with Girlschool by Glenn Milligan
Glenn: How has the tour gone so far?
Enid: Not great. Some of it has been absolutely brilliant but some of it has been tired - it's been really, really up and down but our album comes out on July 25th called 'Believe'. It should have been out in time for the gigs of course but that's the way things work out. We are giving the new songs a trial run to see if people like 'em.
It's really bad though. There's been no posters up or anything so people have been ringing us afterwards and saying, "I didn't know you were playing" and we've been like, 'Yeah'.
Glenn: Have the record company been behind you much?
Jackie: They haven't been behind us on this tour but hopefully they will on the next one.
Glenn: Will you be the support slot?
Jackie: Well that is the plan but we gotta look into that very soon.
Glenn: Which would you say has been the best gig on this leg of the tour?
Jackie: Camden - The Underworld, London.
Denise: It's sold out London.
Jackie: Yeah, London's sold out. Norwich was good - Hereford was great - Manhattan's - I loved that one it was great - brilliant set.
Glenn: I heard some of the gigs got pulled unfortunately.
Jackie: Yeah, Blackburn did because they didn't have license to have us there, plus the weather was bad and they had a football match on. I think as a result it got pulled.
Glenn: Where would you like to play?
Jackie: Wembley, Milton Keynes.
Denise: Hollywood Bowl.
Jackie: Hollywood Bowl yeah (agreeing) that'd be good.
Glenn: Maybe Motorhead could take you on for a bit?
Jackie: Yeah - you never know, you never know.
Glenn: It's been the other way around on this tour hasn't it - Motorheadache (Motorhead tribute) supporting you.
Jackie: Yeah, it's quite funny isn't it - quite ironic (laughing).
Kim: Did you see us do that 'Please Don't Touch'? (Kim with Motorheadache)
Kim: That's the 1st time it's ever been done and I'm glad we did it as it was fun
Glenn: What do you think of Motorheadache?
Kim: I think they are brilliant. Absolutely lovely guys too. It's been a real pleasure having them with us - the gigs they've played with us have been strong gigs. The audiences have been great and they have had a lot of fun.
Glenn: Overall since you've all been together, what would you say have been the biggest highlights?
Jackie: Oh for me Sweden Rock - that was one of the best gigs. I love Sweden Rock in 2002 - that was one of the best gigs ever. Obviously we went back on with Motorhead - we did 'Bomber' with them. It was just party day, all day wasn't it? (she says to Enid and Denise). It was a lovely beautiful sun-shiny day. I mean, I don't think we played particularly well but the crowd was crowd was fantastic - there was over 20,000 people there.
Denise: My highlight was playing with Deep Purple in 1984. We did a 7-week tour of America - that's my highlight. I've always loved Deep Purple and that was absolutely amazing. It was a brilliant, brilliant tour. We knew Ritchie Blackmore before that because we toured with him and Rainbow - so that was amazing as well.
Glenn: How did you get on with Ritchie Blackmore? - what's he like?
Denise: Well he got on really well with us. He seemed to like us. We used to go clubbing with him and he'd sit in the corner and show us magic tricks - so that was good. He also used to talk about his haemorrhoids (they laugh) because he used to tell me what to do about it. He used to recommend medication for me and that. That was funny talking to him about that.
Jackie: Do you have any advise for the readers?
Denise: Yeah - don't use soap apparently. He told me about this lotion to get and it works because half the crew and all the band had it.
Jackie: Too much detail now (she jokes) Too much detail.
Denise: And also my other highlight was touring with Iron Maiden and The Scorpions in America and that was like a 3 ½ month tour. That was bloody brilliant that was - all over America.
Glenn: What's some of your favourite best road stories you can recollect?
Jackie: Come on Denise.
Denise: Road Stories - oh there's thousands - I just can't think of any. Kim might be able to.
Jackie: There's a lot of things we can't mention but there's been a lot of fun times.
Glenn: Do you ever hear from many ex-members such as Kelly Johnson?
Jackie: Well Kelly is my best friend.
Denise: We see Kelly all the time. We are all in touch with Chris.
Jackie: Tracey Lamb-Turner lives about two miles away.
Denise: She's also another one of our best mates.
Jackie: We see them all a lot- we all hang out together, we all go out drinking together.
Denise: They are all friends that we hang out with.
Jackie: Our little Girlschool bubble. In London for instance there's like Chris, Tracey and Kelly - ex-members which can be quite funny.
Glenn: Do you have plans to have like a big reunion thing, whereby everyone plays?
Jackie: Well we've had Kelly and Tracey on with on an encore where Kelly and Tracey got up and jammed with us.
Denise: I'm sure if we asked Chris then she would get up with us. Before Enid rejoined, she got up and did 'Tush' with us.
(at Motorhead's Aftershow party, The Embassy, London - Nov '03)
Glenn: With regards to tonights gig, I think it's gone really, really well.
Enid: Yeah - we've had so many tickets so before - pre-sales.
Glenn: What songs are your favourites from the new album?
Denise: 'Crazy' is my favourite.
Jackie: Or 'We all have to choose' - I love that or 'Come on up' - that's a good one too. 'Never say never'. All the album really - although 'Crazy' is my favourite song. Me and Enid wrote most of the songs and some me and Kim wrote.
Glenn: You did 'Please Don't Touch' tonight with Rob as Lemmy - do you have plans to do anymore duets in the future with anyone?
Jackie: I think about but it's hard to know who to do one with really. If the opportunity arose, I think we'd jump at it yeah.
Glenn: How long did it take to put the album together?
Jackie: We recorded it in two weeks. Maybe a couple of months writing.
Denise: Well we've been writing since January I think.
Jackie: Yeah - one we wrote in January and then we started really serious in February trying to get to get it together - so February and March.
Denise: Actually to record the whole thing it only took two weeks. I did all the drum tracks in 4 days.
Jackie: We have an amazing engineer called 'Tim Howell' and he's brilliant - absolutely brilliant.
Glenn: How did you get in touch with him?
Jackie: He sent one of his own albums to Tom at our record company 'Plastichead' and he (Tom) really liked the production on it - the guitars. He sort of hollowed him down and has used him to do a few bands that he knows - we love him.
Denise: It's the second album he's done with us - we did 'Not that Innocent' with him as well. We loved his sound so much - I mean the actual studio is a bit of a shack but the gear that he's got in there is state-of-the-art. He always has the studio kit ready and he gets the most brilliant drum sounds. We love him.
Jackie: Yeah - he's great ..
Denise: ..and he's welsh and he's also a guitarist in a band.
Glenn: A bit like 'Phil Campbell' (from Motorhead)
Glenn: Another nice Welsh guy.
Jackie: What's the name of his band? (she asks Denise)
Denise: Tortoise Corpse - he use to be in a band called 'Tortoise Corpse'.
Glenn: I gotta ask this and I bet you've been asked this so many times - 'Why did you decide to call the band, 'Girlschool'?
Denise: It was Kim and Enid. (thinking on) Well I think it was actually we had a manager at that time (when the band started) called 'Dave Anthony Inver' - I think it was his suggestion.
Jackie: That's right.
Denise: And then when I joined, that's when they called it 'Girlschool' - the day I joined and it's a b-side by Paul McCartney - the b-side of 'Mull of Kintyre' but I can't remember how it went.
Glenn: You'll have to cover it sometime if you can get the rights off Paul McCartney.
Jackie: Yeah that's true - but 'Girl School' was spelt with two separate words wasn't it? The b-side.
Glenn: Yeah. Then there was Britney Fox who did a song called 'Girlschool'.
Denise: Yeah, I know, yeah. I've seen it loads on Napster.
Glenn: Do you ever see your old stuff on 'Napster' very much?
Denise: Yeah - I've looked up some of our stuff - they've got everything on there. All our old stuff - loads and loads of sh*t from the 1st two albums and that.
Jackie: We are doing a video for this album so we expect it on Kerrang channel maybe or some other channel.
Glenn: I noticed the scene is getting healthier again in the UK. What bands are you into at the moment?
Jackie: Well the last two things I bought well I love The Foo Fighters, I love Rammstien and my all-time favourite is Alice Cooper - I've always been into Alice Cooper and there's a new album (The Eyes of Alice Cooper) which I think is amazing - which is his best for a long time - it's fantastic. I absolutely love that new album.
Glenn: Have ever toured with him?
Jackie: No that would be fantastic. It would make my day.
Denise: She's a huge fan.
Glenn: What keeps you going?
Denise: Alcohol. (laughs)
Jackie: Well it's about all we do isn't it - drinking. No, we just love playing music. As long as we enjoy it we'll keep on doing it.
Glenn: Yeah - nice one.
Jackie: As soon as we stop enjoying it - we'll stop.
Glenn: Is 'Girlschool' a full-time thing?
Jackie: Yeah it's full time - it always has been.
Denise: It's funny because a lot of people think we split up but never did. We never split up.
Jackie: We never ever split up.
Denise: We just didn't play in England. We played in Europe quite a bit - Germany and that but so many people came up to us and said, "It's great to see you back together", but we never split up, you know?
Jackie: We've spent a few quiet years where really there was not much going on in England anyway and Girlschool did the odd festival abroad - whatever - I mean this was five years ago with Enid again.
Denise: You know, I can't believe you've been with us five years (she says to Jackie).
Jackie: yeah, it's mad innit - mad. But it feels like it as well. Ha ha. Yeah - look at the grey hair - the wrinkles - I never had any of these before I joined this lot.
Glenn: You're actually 25 aren't you.
Jackie: I am atually 25 (she jokes in agreement).
Glenn: How was it on-stage?
Jackie: It was awful sound but I still enjoyed it.
Denise: I was in pitch darkness up there.
Jackie: We were leaning backwards to see - it's as if we were walking backwards.
Kim and Enid walk in again.
Denise: He wants to know some road stories (to Kim)
Kim: Can't you bl**dy remember?
Denise: Tell him the one about the Pyrenees Mountains.
Kim: When we were up in the ski lifts, years ago in France in the Pyrenees.
Well we were stuck in Lourdes of all places with Kelly. Kelly had a cold sore on her mouth and we went to the shrine at Lourdes and she thought (that) if she put some of this blessed water on her mouth, it'd make it better - it spread all over her !! ha ha ha!! All over her face !!ha ha.
We had a week off in this bloody little place in Lourdes and it was totally quiet. And then they decide to work on the hotel so every mornin' the builders would be drilling and all we had to do was drive a pinball machine in the bar, didn't we?
Kim: Well OK we did do the excursion to Lourdes but after that we'd get really drunk basically because we didn't have any money but obviously wine's cheap over there isn't it. So if we put all our francs together we would go to the shop and buy the cheapest bottle of wine we could afford and come back and get completely rat-arsed and have fights with each other. Punch ups!! I threw a table at her (referring to Denise). And then she'd block up the sink with her puke - it looked like a bit, a bit like you know - carrots and that. And she threw up in this sink and it's mine and Kelly's sink this was. It was like you went to wash your face and it's got these like bits of blocked up puke (in the sink).
And then of course the next day we were really hung over and we thought, 'What shall we do today?' because we still had a couple of days to wait for our next gig. 'I know let's go up on the Pyrenees mountains' because we could see the mountains.
Enid: So we go up in a ski lift.
Kim: Yeah we go up in a ski lift but this is the point right - it was really nice and hot when we went up so we thought 'it looks like it goes from there to there (the ski lift) but me and Enid were't speaking of course because we had this terrible argument. So we come to the ski lift in our t-shirts and leather jackets and everybody else is all in this ski gear. We were such twits. Then guess what - me and her (Enid) get stuck in this ski lift together.
Enid: And we weren't talking.
Kim: We weren't talking and then blizzard starts. So we are sat in the ski lift going up and up and up. When we thought it would stop it didn't stop. It went up and up and up and it went up and up and up. There wasn't much air with no windows. It went up for miles and we had hot chocolate but there was no heating, no windows. We are dangling in the blizzard with our little t-shirts and leather jackets on swinging in our ski lift and still going up. And I thought it would stop at this bit but it didn't - it went up and up and up and we eventually got to some of the mountains
Enid: And it was just white.
Kim: We were snowblind, walking round in our leather jackets and t-shirts.
Enid: And it was like 30 below.
Kim: Tumbling around weren't we (laughing). That's when we made up. We were drinking hot hot chocolate in a little shack we found up there in 6 foot snow drifts - it was awful. Then we realised we had to come all our way back down again.
There was all these skiers laughing at us in their bomber jackets. They thought, 'What the hell are you doing here?' Anyway on the way down it wasn't so bad as the blizzard was behind us. But bl**dy h*ll, what a sight though. Then because it don't stop and the bloke didn't even help me. You had to jump off when they were still moving - you had to jump on it. We all jumped off at the bottom and Enid, Enid couldn't get off and started going back up again. Brilliant. And we had to shout, 'Stop the lift'.
Enid: It went on and on, so high up this bl**dy mountain - that was such an experience that was.
Glenn: It's put a whole new meaning to the Black Sabbath song 'Snowblind'.
Kim: Yeah. I'd never do that again - it was the funniest thing - I'll never forget it.
Denise: Can you tell him any others?
Kim: Well I've got loads but..
Glenn: You can't tell 'em for fear of being sued buy famous rocks stars and that.
Kim: Yeah., but you know what, I've never met anyone in the business that's been awful. Not that we've been actually been friendly or gone out with. I can't really think of anyone that's been like that. Anyone I've met in the business, any bands whatever, they've usually been really nice people.
Jackie: Yeah - we've been lucky.
Glenn: (to Kim) Denise has just been telling me about hanging out with Ritchie Blackmore.
Kim: Oh he was brilliant. Oh and he did that trick - he put a coin in his hand and he made it burn. That was so weird. I don't know how he did it, I really don't. But he hed it in his hand like that (shows me) - he just put it in his hand and he goes, 'It's getting hotter, it's getting hotter' and goes 'Shit' and it's burnt his band and I don't know how. He did loads of other little bits of tricks. He's really amazing - how did he do that I don't know.
I must say that Richie Blackmore is one of my heros as well and to actually go drinking with him and get stoned it was fantastic but the other ones like Black Sabbath - anybody you know. Motorhead - everybody - fantastic. I've met people that we've never dreamed of actually meeting who've been in bands. Not one of them has let me down - not one of them.
Glenn: Is it because you're female?
Kim: Yeah I think that's probably why. We're not the sort that women kinda latch onto.
Glenn: There's none of that sort of ego.
Kim: That's right - they're musicians, we're musicians. That's why it's been fantastic - a fantastic career. I recommend it to everybody.
Glenn: Yeah? How long do you think you will be going for? Years?
Kim: Well they want to but I don't know about me. I'm a country girl and I'm quite happy in the country but I think Girlschool could probably go on for like forever and ever. I think Girlschool can carry on.
Jackie: I think as long as long as people wanna hear us, that's the main thing.
Kim: Yeah. You don't wanna just do it if nobody else wants to know. You just do it if people want to know, you know.
Glenn: Do you think that there are any girl bands out there today that are decent.
Kim: Nowhere. Nowhere near it. No. This is the only thing thing I'm gonna say as well - When we first started to be successful in the 80's, we thought there'd be loads of other female bands come out after. We thought there'd be loads but there weren't and there still hasn't. I don't know why - I don't understand it but there aren't. Weird innit?
Glenn: Yeah. I remember Phantom Blue.
Kim: Oh yeah - they were nothing like us. But you'd expect to see more wouldn't you really. You'd expect there to be but there aren't any. I don't know where they are. I don't know.
Glenn: Which part of your career are you most proud of?
Kim: All of it, all of it - being here now. The fact that we're still after 25 years. I mean this must be a record. Any band let alone us lot. I'm proud of all it.
Glenn: How do you keep your voice in good condition?
Kim: My what? I didn't think it was, I just go 'Waaa' - you're joking. I don't think of myself. We can't even hear ourselves on-stage anyway. (laughing) How do I keep my voice in good condition? (to Jackie)
Jackie: Bad health. Bad diet.
Enid: Lots of food. Lots and lots and lots of food.
Kim: Actually that's not true because when I'm at home I eat very healthily and drink loads of water.
Jackie: And if you believe that!!
Kim: It's true.
Jackie: When you're at home it's pizza, pizza, pizza and drinking beer.
Jackie: Other night watching football.
Kim: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah but
Denise: She has fry ups.
Kim: No I don't - no. This lot will get you going. I drink loads of water.
Glenn: Do you work out in order to do gigs?
Kim: Yeah Denise does!!
Jackie: I do. I do kick boxing. I work out how to get here.
Glenn: Are you the driver then?
Jackie: No - he is - points to driver?
Glenn: What's it like driving these four (I ask driver)
Driver: Mayhem. It's all swearing on the bus.
Glenn: What was the best think about the Tour with Iron Maiden and The Scorpions? (I ask Denise)
Kim: Everything - we all had tour buses. The Scorpions and Iron Maiden used to get upset and moan because we had the best tour bus. We had a really comfy one and they didn't like there's. So they used to come on ours and party with us. The whole of that tour was brilliant - we all had a great time. It was brilliant yeah.
Glenn: Where did the idea come from for the t-shirt that you've been wearing? (I ask Jackie)
Jackie: I got this bought for me for Christmas actually but I wanted it for ages and it was like, 'Oh yeah, I've got you it' and obviously I put different things on it every night but with this gig I used to put 'Read my tits, make some noise' something different because all of them obviously is always going on with, 'Oh she's got her tits hanging out'.
Glenn: Have you ever had any like Janet Jackson moments?
Jackie: Touch wood - no. Not yet , ha, ha, ha - but it's likely to happen isn't - let's face it.
Glenn: When you're not together as Girlschool - what do you get up to?
Jackie: I've got a song-writing publishing deal with an agent with two or three people in America so I do a lot of song-writing. I've got a little studio. At night I do kick-boxing. What do you do Kim?
Kim: I play with my frog in my pond. I'm a gardener and I go shopping and I do sort of retiring things.
Denise: She sits there eating pizza!!
Kim: No I bl**dy don't.
Glenn: What do you do in your spare time Denise?
Denise: I'm on the computer all day. I watch soaps and I play computer games. I go round to hers and Kelly's and get pissed out my head. We hang out together all the time us lot anyway.
Glenn: So none of you are married then.
Jackie: I was.
Denise: She was. I was with Tim Moorehirst. He was our sound engineer and tour manager. He was my boyfriend for 11 years but he was working with 'Take That' and he had an accident and died. In '94 that was. That was the worst. That was terrible.
Jackie: We're not the sort to settle down and have kids.
Glenn: What would you say are your favourite songs that you've done or albums that you've done?
Denise: 'Play Dirty' - 'Play Dirty' was a brilliant album we thought. We never mention 'Running Wild' - that album although there were some good songs on that one. Not that innocent from our '21st Anniversary' and the new album.
Glenn: Yeah. You were meant to be playing that tour last year weren't you and it all fell through?
Jackie: It was all on and then it cancelled due to Oliver/Dawson's Saxon commitments recording. We put off a lot of gigs to do that and it just never happened. So we thought - this year - let's do it on our own. It's not worked out totally this particular time because of the album not coming out but rather than not do it - we thought we can't cancel another tour - let's just do it anyway even though it's not publicised well.
Glenn: What did you reckon to tonight audience-wise?
Jackie: I enjoyed it still. It was hard because the sound's awful. There isn't any room to move anywhere at all and it was proved to be hard but at the same time - as long as the audience enjoys it - who cares. It's what it's all about isn't it. We enjoy it - they enjoy it. Who cares what it sounds like (laughs). There was nothing we could do about it. They kept telling us to turn our amps down everytime. We weren't even turned on and for once just - well - there's nothing you can do really - well she (Denise) hits 'em too hard.
Glenn: What are you up to after the tour?
Jackie: We're gonna meet a couple a couple of guys that can get us a manager - we are in the market to get a manager. We've been doing ourselves and we really wanna take a step forward and really push this year. So we are gonna get a manager, a new agent and try and do some more gigs, promote the album - so that's what we're gonna do.
Glenn: Nice One. Good luck with it all.
Jackie: So hopefully we'll see you again soon.
Glenn: Oh you will.
Thanks again to Kim, Enid, Jackie and Denise.
thanks go to Mark Hobson & all the staff at Corporation