Flying into London, Heathrow Airport from Dallas, Texas, we arrived in Prague, Czech Republic after one hour of sleep on a 16-hour journey, and we were whisked away by our new best friend Stanik Sykora. Stanik is webmaster, limo driver and surrogate father, tour guide and part time manager of four beautiful and hard rocking ladies from Prague known as THE AGONY. He became our best friend and companion in Prague and we owe him a debt of gratitude for everything he did for us.
We were kidnapped away from Prague Ruzyne Airport and taken to a secret hideaway housing THE AGONY who were in rehearsal for the Friday night gig with the infamous GIRLSCHOOL. Led by Niky Kandoussi (lead vocals and guitar), Katie Skatie (bass and backing vocals), Terka Psencikova (lead guitar and vocals) and drummer Martina Kajda Balcarova, THE AGONY were working on their set list for the gig.
A nice honor to be in their little cubby hole of time (the rehearsal room). A brief meal with the band after rehearsal and off we were to bed, around 2 a.m. Prague time. A long but very satisfying day indeed. We spent two days of sightseeing in Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in the world with Stanik, taking in a nice Czech meal and visiting downtown with hundreds of tourists witnessing the chiming of the still accurate Astronomical Clock, built in the fourteenth century and the famous Charles Bridge. We also were privileged to sit in on rehearsal with local band HEAVY PASSION that afternoon and had tea with them; we would join them on Saturday night for their gig with local bands SELF-DEFENCE and BLAMAGE. Then back to Ruzyne Airport to meet the legendary GIRLSCHOOL flying in from London. What a fantastic treat to meet these talented musicians just off the plane, whom I’ve admired for 30 years, yet never met them or been to one of their shows. They arrived in good spirits and were just as charming as one could imagine from being on the road and tired,even with some not feeling well.
The next day we toured Prague Castle which was originally built in the 9th Century and is an indescribable work of architecture. Touristas from all over the world were there to admire the incredible Castle and grounds as well as St. Vita Cathedral.
Friday night we met at the club Nova Chmelnice and sat in on sound check and hung out with GIRLSCHOOL, who gave us a little tease on some new material which will be on their thirteenth album, due out this summer titled Guilty As Sin. The band is working with famous producer Chris Tsangarides known for his work with bands JUDAS PRIEST, THIN LIZZY, HELLOWEEN, and ANVIL so it is likely to be a great production. GIRLSCHOOL’S last album was Hit and Run Revisited in 2011, a variation on Hit and Run, album #2 for released in 1981. This last LP was remade with Jackie Chambers, lead guitarist who took over for Kelly Johnson, who sadly passed away from cancer in 2007 (R.I.P.) Kelly was an inspiration for many guitar players.
THE AGONY, who are working on their first full length CD Dirty and Dangerous opened their set with a new song “Let’s Get Wasted”, which is of course about going to church and whatnot (Yeah Right), followed by “Kick Ass”, “T.W.S.” (also known as The Whore Song), new song “Be My Fire”; a set list of 13 total, new to many and ending in the fast paced “Zivel”. THE AGONY was incredibly full of energy, all sounded at the top of their game, and kicked ass for my first time seeing them. Kudos to all members, no overshadowing, and all took the spotlight when they needed to.
THE AGONY have been together only about two years, but they have something very special. Watch for these ladies from Prague. They are the new generation of heavy rock and might well be an inspiration to many. They blew away the audience and turned a country western lover (my son) into “upping the irons” at the end. Well done, THE AGONY!!
Now comes GIRLSCHOOL, one of the longest rocking bands in the world together since 1978 almost intact with original members. This is practically unheard of anymore for bands who have been in the music business for over 30 years with Kim McAullife on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Enid Williams (backing/lead vocals/bass), and Denise Dufort on drums.
With newcomer (well…16 years) Jackie Chambers on lead guitar and backing vocals, the girls blew the hats off the crowd by opening with “Demolition Boys” and playing favorites like “Race with the Devil”, “Yeah Right”, “Emergency”, “The Hunter”, and “C’mon Let’s Go”. It was a trip back through time with their earlier hits, electrifying the brain cells with their established punky rock sound and of course excellent musicianship from them all. GIRLSCHOOL did not disappoint, they played the many crowd pleasers and were very cordial, signing autographs and visiting with the crowd after the show. They love their fans and the fans love them; some came a long way.
On a humorous note, sometimes some very funny moments occur when one says “Hold my beer and watch this!”
One poor bloke, who I guarantee felt it the next day, not once, but twice climbed onto the stage while GIRLSCHOOL was playing and decided the time was right to surf the crowd. Yelling in Czech like “Kurva” or something, he flew into the crowd hoping to surf on the tops of people’s outstretched hands only to find the crowd like a school of fish parting instantly as if a larger fish was to eat them and landed unabated flat on the floor with only spilled beer to cushion his fall. Oh well, glad it was not I. The moral of the story, don’t drink and skydive.
This was such a great honor to be a part of this incredible gig. Seasoned mentors GIRLSCHOOL from London with apprentice friends THE AGONY from Prague and my first time seeing either one live, was a memorable time and what an incredible week as well. The music scene in Prague smells to be of huge proportions: many local bands, most playing because of their love of music in an incredible spot in the middle of Europe. It’s not surprising you could find 10 gigs per night in Prague alone. The first four days there we did not get in bed before 2 a.m. Hell yeah!!
GIRLSCHOOL will be touring the USA beginning mid-May 2015 through June with main support CRUCIFIED BARBARA from Stockholm, Sweden. They will begin on the west coast in California, head north into Canada and across the northern USA ending in New York after a month or so…Don’t miss it. The show will be incredible (which is an understatement for sure).
THE AGONY is working on their first full-length album Dirty and Dangerous and we can probably expect something in summer 2015 and they are hoping to make an appearance in the UK sometime in the fall. For more information on these bands see the following web pages: http://www.girlschool.co.uk/ and http://www.theagony.cz/