Friday, July 13, 2007

Godspeed Lead Guitarist

Posted online by Girlschool:

Original member Kelly Johnson has been fighting an ongoing battle with cancer of the spine.

For any fans of Kelly's who would like to send their best wishes or a personal message to her then please leave one on the forum at the official website

or at

Please feel free to leave a message on the blog section of our myspace page and we'll make sure she gets it.

1980 Tour Program
(From the Umlaut Archives)

Terrible news.... Fucking terrible. For Umlaut, Kelly Johnson was a teenage Rock Star Crush AND she was a fucking great guitarist. For the newbies: Girlschool were ahead of their time; a legitimately good Metal band in a male-dominated genre. They were taken under wing by Lemmy and Motörhead in 1980-81 and gained a following amongst Metal fans back in The Day.

(From the Umlaut Archives)

I saw Girlschool 4 or 5 times during The Old Metal Days, and they were great every time. Their debut show in San Francisco at The Old Waldorf on April 23, 1982 is legendary.. AND they were on the bill of the best pre-Metallica / Slayer Old Metal show on September 4, 1982 at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. LEGEND!! (Thanks to Mark D. for the concert ad)

At their show in April 1982 I bought the band's "Lock Up Your Sons - Tour '82" shirt and proudly wore it to school the next day. In hindsight, I'm surprised The Jocks didn't beat me up for being a fag. METAL!!

In the annals of Umlaut's Music Geek life, Girlschool are one of those bands who I still have a soft spot for eventhough I haven't followed them in years. When I think back it's interesting that my teenage Metal Bruthas and I thought of Girlschool as a BAND first and "girls" second. They were the antithesis of the crap "all girl" Metal bands who came later like Vixen; Girlschool were legitimately Metal and a band who could hold their own against anybody.

Kelly Johnson eventually left Girlschool, reportedly due to her frustration over not being taken seriously as a musician. Yes, Girlschool are still together minus Kelly, but my interest in the band ended in 1984-85 when I moved on to "heavier" bands like Slayer and Metallica.

Now, Umlaut isn't one to pray... but if that's what it takes to get Kelly Johnson through this then I'll do it. Godspeed, Lead Guitarist... God fucking speed.

"999 Emergency... Emergency..."

Kelly - Keystone Palo Alto, CA - 1983
(Pic by Umlaut)

Submitted by Steven C.:

Wow sad news. I still love those early albums.

I remember sneaking into a soundcheck at The Stone in S.F. around 1983, then running into Kim, Kelly and Gil Weston afterwards. God, I was a groupie! Actually, a dork. I think I told Kim: "Wow you guys were great on Midnight Special!" "On WOT??"...I had them sign the back of a flyer ("Kelly was 'ere!") -- I later ceremoniously taped the autographed parts to my copy of Hit And Run (DORK!!), which I still cherish.

They were really sweet. Ah, METAL.

Posted on the Girlschool site:

KELLY JOHNSON...20-6-58...15-7-07... R.I.P

It is with extreme sadness to tell you that Kelly Johnson, original member of Girlschool and our best friend has passed away on Sunday the 15th of July after fighting a 6 year battle with cancer of the spine.

Umlaut says: R.I.P. Lead Guitarist. Cheers you lot.

San Francisco - 1982
San Francisco - 1982

"Say goodbye to the bad times, now I'm free on my own.. Hit and Run!"