Gil Weston – Dealing with a difficult man

Gil Weston has been admired and well-known throughout the world for her work 1982-1987 with Girlschool – she played bass and sang lead vocals on some tracks. Since then, we hear that she’s been out of music for a while and is possibly working in the NHS.

What we’re interested in is Gil’s (full name Ghislaine) experience in punk band The Killjoys, working with another punk who went on to have further fame; Kevin Rowland. It seems like anyone who has dealt with Kevin Rowland portrays him as ‘difficult’. Like our previous blogs about working with Mark E.Smith and David Byrne, we get that there may be such a thing as an ‘artistic temperament’ but you don’t need to treat people badly.

Here’s a sample of the kind of thing members of the band used to say about working with KR:

“Kevin was the leader. He said so. If we had a contrary opinion, we were in danger of being ousted from the band. Kevin and Mark used to fight a lot at rehearsals….physically fight,…blood and all….`cause Kevin was a tyrant. ” Keith Rimmell

Before The Killjoys, Gil, Kevin and Mark Phillips formed ‘Lucy and the Lovers’ in 1976; it was a band influenced by Roxy music with two girl singers and a distinctive style, but once punk had taken off, the new band The Killjoys was faster, harder and shoutier.  Gil says that Gaye Advert had been a particular inspiration, along with the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Wire, The Slits and The Buzzcocks. Their first single sold 18,000 copies and The Killjoys did two sessions for John Peel.

 

Although inspired by the early punk fashion and ethos, Kevin Rowland came from a working-mens-club band hard graft mentality. He made sure that The Killjoys were rehearsed and tight. Gil was previously a ballet dancer and so was willing to rehearse the whole set 10 times in a row – allegedly Kevin Rowland forced them to rehearse for 8 hours a day resulting in bleeding fingers to achieve the perfection he craved. 

As 1977 progressed, Kevin Rowland decided that he didn’t like punk any more and so auditioned for a new bass player along with drummer and guitarist, without telling Gil that her time in The Killjoys was over. 
In all the interviews at the time and since, Gil doesn’t accuse Kevin Rowland of being unreasonable – although most of the other male members of the band do constantly. Like Tina Weymouth, she had her boyfriend Mark alongside her in the band, and that provided strength for both of them until the band eventually crumbled under the tension. Gil then worked with a number of other acts before being lined up for the Girlschool job by Lemmy of Motorhead. 
Gil Weston, we’ve got a project going now. We’d like to hear your reflections of that time and how the punk philosophy has affected your life. We salute you and hope to hear from you soon!

2 thoughts on “Gil Weston – Dealing with a difficult man

  1. Is this the time and place to invoke Roland Rat?

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Commander Cookie Wolf and commented:
    Very interesting!

    Like

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