Rock Goddess. You could call them an all-female British heavy metal band, but doesn't really do them justice. Because while this is certainly true, they transcend gender and nationality, being one of the most significant, uncompromising and celebrated hard rock/metal bands of the past four decades.
It all started in Wandsworth, South London during 1977. Featuring Jody Turner (guitar/vocals) and her younger sister Julie (drums). At the time, they were 13 and nine years old, respectively. But guided by their father/manager John, a respected name on the London music scene, they immediately proved there was real talent, ambition and intent in their vision for a cogent band.
With a line-up completed by bassist Tracey Lamb (a school friend), the trio began to get noticed. They briefly flirted with the idea of adding a second guitarist to the line-up – both Donnica Colman and Jackie Apperley – but it was as a three-piece that Rock Goddess worked best. And after a landmark appearance at the Reading Festival in 1982 (on a bill headlined by Iron Maiden and also featuring Gary Moore and Blackfoot), they got a record deal with A&M.
A year later, the band's self-titled, debut was released, charting at number 65, and showing that they had the quality and power to compete with any of the NWOBHM bands making an impact at the time. Produced by Vic Maile (who had previously recorded a demo with the band, and had also worked with Motörhead and Gilschool), the album had influences from The Runaways, AC/DC and the aforementioned Motörhead, but it was obvious that here was a band who had their own style. Songs like the anthemic 'Heavy Metal Rock 'N' Roll' and the more compact 'My Angel' (which got to number 64 in the UK singles chart) proved there was class and grit about this lot.
Later that year, Dee O'Malley replaced Lamb. She also brought a keyboard sensibility to the band, which gave them an extra dimension (again, they had thought about adding another guitarist, with Kat Burbella taking the role for a short time). This came through on second album 'Hell Hath No Fury'. Produced by Chris Tsangarides, it was released in October '83, hitting the Top 100 in the UK, as did the single 'I Didn't Love You (Till I Saw You Rock And Roll)', which made it to number 57 in the British chart.
The band definitely retained their crucial edge, but showed they were maturing as musicians and songwriters. This also came through at the end of the year, when Rock Goddess co-headlined a hugely successful British tour with label mates Y&T. And this was followed by tours across Europe supporting both Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. There was little doubt by now that the band were not merely consistent, quality performers, but were moving forward and had the respect of peers and fans alike.
In 1986, as they prepared for an American tour, O'Malley – now pregnant – left. In her stead, with bassist Julia Longman and keyboard player Becky Axten brought in to the line-up. However, O'Malley was featured on the band's third album, 'Young And Free'. This was released in France during 1987 by JID, following Rock Goddess' departure from A&M. It was co-produced by Paul Samson and Jo Julian and recorded in '85. But later in '87, the band split up, due to various problems.
But there was never any doubt about the band's legacy. In anything, in their absence the reputation grew. And in March 2013, the classic trio of the Turner sisters and Lamb officially reunited; there had been talk about this happening four years earlier, but this didn't materialise in the end. If anybody had doubts of the sense in the band getting back together, then some barnstorming live performances totally dispelled these. The band not only appealed to those diehard fans from the '80s, but also proved they could attract a new, younger audience, In May 2017, the first new recording from this threesome in 34 years was released. This was the EP 'It's More Than Rock And Roll', which came out through Cargo. The three songs here underlined what the Goddess had to offer the modern era, being brash, thunderous and full of attitude – the band had not only lost none of their old drive, but added a 21st century sparkle.
In July 2018, Lamb left the band due to 'unforeseen personal circumstances', and after a rigorous search and audition process, Jenny Lane was confirmed as the band's new bassist in October the same year. Now it's all gearing up to the eagerly anticipated new album from Rock Goddess. 'This Time' will be put out through their own label Bite You To Death Records in conjunction with Cargo and various other licensees on February 22, 2019. Produced by Wes Maebe (Robert Plant, New Model Army, Praying Mantis), it will feature Lamb's bass parts, despite her recent departure.
Rock Goddess have already contributed so much to the history of hard rock and metal. Their place among the elite has long been assured. Now, they are ready to take it all to a new level – have no doubts, they are ready to blast a path through the contemporary music scene. On their own terms, naturally!
London, October 2018