– How are you?

– Not too bad! I’ve just come in from the torrential rain, you know, that’s our British summertime.

– Yeah, well, it’s raining where I’m at right now too, so not too different.

– Where are you?

– In Bilbao, northern Spain.

– Oh wow, okay, yeah. We’ve been there many times, love it.

– Yup. So, I have a few questions. If you don’t mind, I’ll start with some of them. You’re celebrating your 45th anniversary by putting out an album, which is the first since 2015, and it’s called WTFortyfive. Is that how you feel when you think you’ve been around for 45 years now? Like, “What the fuck!”?

– Yeah, well, you said it! Yes, that’s exactly what we’re saying. And so, when we were trying to think of an album title, we were thinking about none of the actual songs. We didn’t really want to use one of the song titles because then it makes it more the focus of the album. And of course, we’re always saying exactly what you just said, “What the fuck, what’s going on, you know, 45 years!” So, of course, we suddenly thought, “Well, that’s brilliant, let’s use that as a title.” Because that’s so true.

– Well, 45 years is indeed a lot. And back when you started, there was a lot going on in England, I guess, loads of guitar-driven music, different genres coexisting actively; punk, heavy metal, you name it… How did all those live together in your music? Did they melt together somehow? Did you enjoy any or all of them?…

– Yeah, well, basically, like you said, when we first started, especially with Girlschool, that was the punk era. It just meant that anybody could get up and do anything, you know. So, a lot of girls, or even blokes, or anybody who couldn’t really play that well… It gave them a platform to actually get up and do it. So that helped a lot and, of course, we were quite influenced by punk music as well. I mean, The Damned I still love them and we were lucky enough to have toured with them a couple of times. And the Sex Pistols, of course, Never Mind the Bollocks is one of the best rock albums ever, if you ask me. So yeah, we loved all that. So yes, of course it came across in our music, I think.

– Yeah, I think so too, that’s why I wanted to ask. Continuing with this idea of time passing and the changes (or not) it can bring, back then did you find yourself patted on the head or not being taken too seriously for being women? And do you think that has changed somehow as compared to now?

– Well, obviously, yeah, in the early days, when we first formed the band, the reason that we had to be a girl band was because we couldn’t find any boys who wanted to play with us.

– Really?

– Yeah, yeah. Mind you, I don’t blame them too much because we couldn’t actually play anything. We just wanted to be in a band, you know. But obviously, the idea then was to find like-minded girls who wanted to do the same. So that’s how we became an all-girl band.

– Yeah, so it was not really a choice but the only option.

– Yes, we had no choice, it wasn’t planned at all. But then of course as we carried on and we got better and better, we started to get more publicity and stuff and we started to get noticed. We suddenly thought, “Oh, hang on a minute. This is not a bad thing.” And we were so used to being all girls together, touring, we didn’t want any bloody boys in the band. It would have ruined it. So, yeah, we realized we were onto a good thing, really. Because we were different, you know.

– Yeah, makes sense. And when you started getting noticed, as you said, did the press or the crowd see that difference in a positive light or…?

– Well, yeah, sort of. I mean, obviously, because we were so different. And of course, the thing was as well that because it was the punk era, like you said earlier, we played punk gigs and they thought we were heavy rock, and we played heavy rock gigs and they thought we were punks. And we were girls, so everybody was so confused about us. So, they didn’t quite know what to make of us at the time. But yeah, it was mostly positive.

– That’s good. And when it comes to touring life, do you see a big difference between back then and nowadays?

– Well, the funny thing is, obviously we played with a hell of a lot of well-known male bands. Of course, they were bloke bands because there weren’t many female bands around. And I always say they were really nice to us, but I don’t know what they were saying behind our backs. They might be telling us something else, but you know, on the whole, we just had some great experiences. And I mean, obviously in the early days we used to have these things like, “Show us your tits!” and all that rubbish, and we used to shout back, “Oh, yeah, go show us yours!” and all this stuff. We used to just go; we didn’t bother too much about it. And I remember one time as well… This newspaper was taking it all really seriously, and Rainbow just had this song out, “All Night Long.” You know the lyrics? We just thought it was funny and we didn’t take anything too seriously. I mean, obviously, we covered ZZ Top’s “Tush” and turned it around. So, you know, it doesn’t bother us too much.

– When you talked about touring with other bands, that made me think of Motörhead, of course. I think they also gathered a crowd from all different styles, like punk and heavier rock. How did your relationship with them start and how did you meet?

Well, the weird thing is that Kelly was living with my mum and dad at the time and a friend of a friend gave us the first Motörhead 10”. And we had never heard of them before, as they were just starting out. And, of course, we looked at the photo of them and we thought, “Oh, bloody hell, oh, gosh” and we put it on on the turntable and all this row came out. We went, “Wow, that sounds a bit like us!” We just didn’t think much more of it. And then literally a month or so later we got a phone call from my agent at the time saying, “Oh, Lemmy from Motörhead wants to come and meet you because they’re doing their first major British tour and they’re looking for a support band.” He’d heard our single on the John Peel show, “Take It All Away,” which was, you know, the first on an independent thing. And so, Lemmy came down to rehearsal and next thing we know we’re on a bloody tour with them! It was brilliant. And then of course we got more accepted because we found our place in rock.

-Yeah, you got to the people that really liked what you did.

– And they accepted us from then on, yes. And, of course, we were just tomboys, you know, we weren’t totting around in stilettos or anything, we were just getting on with it.

– Yeah, playing music, having a bit of fun.

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

– That’s great. That’s just the impression I got from seeing the videos, listening to the music… That’s the idea I get. It’s nice to have it confirmed…

Yeah! We can party with the best of them, don’t worry.

– Cool. So, I’m coming back to the present again. How has it been to create an album now, in 2023? Is it easier, harder…?

Well, we’re lucky enough that we can still actually be in a recording studio together, whereas a lot of other bands have to do it remotely and stuff like that, you know, with all this new technology and all the rest of it, but I wouldn’t like that at all. So we are lucky enough that we still all go together into a natural studio. And we work with a guy called Tim Hamill that we’ve worked with for a long time now. Well, about 20 years now, it must be. So, yeah, it’s just been the same as always, really. We’d pile in the studio, plug into our Marshalls and off we go. But I must admit, this time around [it was slightly different], because the record company kept saying, “Oh, you owe us an album, you know, and it’s about time you record this album.” And we kept going, “Yeah, yeah, okay, okay, of course, we’ll get around to it.” But obviously, if people don’t tell us, we have to do it like whenever we just go, “Yeah…”

– “Yeah, whatever.”

Yeah. It’s a bit like, “Yeah, whatever.” Obviously, one day the record company just said, “Look, it’s been eight years.” What? We’re going, “Oh my God, it’s been eight years.” And they said, “We’re booking you in the studio, you’re doing it now and it’s going to come out next year.” And we thought, “Oh my God, we better get on with it!” So it’s quite good because that’s what we needed. We needed a kick up the backside, basically. We work better under pressure. So that’s how it came about.

– Well, it came out, so well done.

– Yeah, and we’re really pleased with it.

– Tell me about the song and video for “Are You Ready?” and how this collaboration with Joe Stump came to be. Did the fact of having toured a lot with Alcatrazz had something to do with it?

Well, yeah, basically Alcatrazz is managed by our manager. They’re on the same record company, the same label. A bit like we were with Motörhead, actually. And there was always talk of us touring together, but that never sort of happened. And then of course, COVID came along and so that all got put away. And then, yeah, we ended up doing a tour with them in Britain. I think it was like, I’ve lost track of time… We literally don’t know what time it is. We live in this weird time bubble where it all just seems to be like, you know, time just goes weird. Anyway, I think it was a couple of years ago that we did a British tour with them. And then last year, I think, we did this massive 21 dates in 25 days tour with them. So we got to know them quite well, you know, and then there was a day off in France and they were recording their album. And Jimmy said to us all, “Do you fancy doing some backing vocals on a song?” So, of course, we had a day off and he had his set up in his room and so we all trooped in and sang on “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even.” It came out really well. So when it came that we had to get all our songs together for this album pretty quickly, I said to Joe, who’s always playing and always coming up with riffs and stuff, I said, “Oh, come on, give us a few riffs,” which he did, of course. He sent some over to us and I put pieces and then we wrote that together. And that’s how that came about. And then, of course, the video, because we were on their video. I don’t know if you’ve seen their one…

– I haven’t seen that one.

Oh, right. You have to check it out because we make an appearance as cartoon characters, which we love, we thought it was hilarious. So of course, when it turned out that the record company wanted to release “Are You Ready?” as the first single, they then said that we could use our characters from their video and put them into our video with him in there as well and the others.

– So, it’s like this other universe…

Yeah, yeah. We loved it because it’s video thingies of us, you know, not the real us.

– Yeah.

– And, of course, Alcatrazz make an appearance in our video when Joe goes missing and then it’s up to us to go and rescue him from this devil woman, you know, which I think he thought was hilarious.

– Sounds fun, yeah. On the album there is also a cover of “Born to Raise Hell” with Phil Campbell, Biff Byford and Duff McKagan. How did you fit all these people into one song?

Well, we just had an idea that we wanted to do a Motörhead song to finish the album because we were thinking this might possibly be the last album we record, you know, you never know. And I mean, if it takes us another eight years to do the next album, then that’s… But no, it won’t. I mean, the record company always wants more, they already want another one for next year. We’re going, “Well, my God, we’ve only just done this one!” Anyway…

– That’s what they do. They keep asking.

Yeah, I know. So, we chose “Born to Raise Hell.” And then we thought, “Oh, it’d be great just to finish it off with a couple of mates.” And then of course, Phil, who we’ve known, obviously, forever, he jumped at the chance because it’s a track that he actually played in Motörhead, as opposed to playing Eddie’s bits, you know. And then I suddenly thought, “Oh, it’d be great to actually sing it like a duet with somebody,” because I’ve never done that before. So yeah, a bit like a Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers type of thing. So, all we could think of was Biff because we’ve known him for as long as Lemmy, if not longer now, obviously, and we’ve done so much with them. He said yes, of course, for a bit of fun. So, he did it and then a mate of mine said, “Oh, I know Duff from Guns N’ Roses and he said he was a massive fan of Lemmy and friends, you know? And he really likes Motörhead and Girlschool. I’ll ask him.” And we went, “Oh, yeah. Right. As if…,” you know, because we never met him. Anyway, he sent him an e-mail the next day and Duff came back. He went, “Whatever they need.”

– That’s nice!

– Yeah, really nice of him. And then he sent another e-mail and he said ─he sounded lovely─, “Oh, do you mind if I do it in a couple of weeks or so? Because I’m on tour in Australia and New Zealand.” [Laughs] As if we could go, “No! You have to do it now!”

– Today or nothing!

[Laughs] Yeah, so lovely of him. I’m looking forward to meeting him one day.

– So, what are your plans for touring? You mentioned this intensive touring, like doing 21 shows in 25 days. How do you do that? I mean, it’s…

– Well, we didn’t think when we saw the dates. We didn’t think we were gonna get to the end. We really didn’t and we were all a bit mad by the end. We were gonna get crazy.

– Of course, it sounds impossible.

– Yeah, but we managed it. But there’s gonna be more of that next year and of course it’s gonna be 46 years then [laughs].

-Yes! Do you prepare somehow, mentally, before going on tour or something? It’s quite a change and then you have to get back…

– Well, it’s funny. When you go on tour, at first you think, “Oh my God, how do you get through that,” but then you get in the rhythm of it. You know, it becomes a way of life so you sort of get into it, yeah.

– Yeah. Well, and you have a lot of practice. A lot of experience.

– Well, exactly. I think after all this time we know what we do.

– Yeah. OK. Last question. I wanted to ask about the topics you sing about and the lyrics you write. Have they changed throughout the years? What inspires you to keep writing?

– Yeah, well, you know what I actually said to myself when we heard that we had to do this album? I thought, “Hang on a minute. I think I’ve run out of things to write about after all these albums.” [Laughs] But there’s always stuff to write about, especially these days. It’s like… It’s a mess. It’s obviously about the world, you know, and the mess it’s in. But then we mostly like to write songs about partying. So, there you go [laughs].

– Yeah, it’s a nice mix though.

– Yeah, we like to at least have a couple that mean something in there, you know.

– Yes. I think it’s a good mix because you have some stuff for thinking, some serious thing, but then it’s also music and it has to be fun. So yeah, that’s good.

– Exactly.

– So, this is all from my part, I think. Feel free to add anything you want to say.

Yeah, that’s OK. I just wanna give a shout-out to a band. Have you heard of a band called Thundermother?

– Yes, we have.

– Yes, of course, because Filippa co-wrote a song on our album as well. So, I just want to give them a shout-out.

-That’s done! Well, that’s it then, short but on point, so thank you!

Thank you too and hopefully we’ll meet you in the Basque region at some point up there somewhere.

– Yeah, I hope so.

– That’d be lovely. Alright. Well, big kisses, yeah. Thanks so much for your support!

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