Kim McAuliffe on the riotous story of Girlschool: “I got electrocuted onstage, nearly died, and the rest of them went back and had a massive party!”

Girlschool's Kim McAuliffe performs on stage at the Relentless Garage on March 10, 2012 in London
(Image credit: Hayley Madden/Redferns/Getty Images)

Too metal for the punks, too punk for the metalheads, Girlschool became a rock ’n’ roll institution unto themselves. Their sound was engineered through simple arithmetic: Gibson guitars plus Marshall guitar amps times volume and energy – lots of energy.

Formed in London in 1978 after a few years playing under the name Painted Lady, Girlschool were free radicals that came out of Britain’s chaotic punk scene, cohabiting with the likes of the U.K. Subs, but they had a sound and an image that endeared them to the nascent NWOBHM (New wave of British heavy metal) scene. 

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.