W. Freedreamer Tinkanesh
on Dec. 4, 2013 :
SURVIVING MY FRIENDS: THE KELLY JOHNSON STORY
By Dee Clark
An authorised memoir started by Kelly Johnson - original lead guitarist of Heavy Rock girl band Girlschool - and completed by her friends and family.
"I wasn't a vegetarian yet -- I was young and my conscience still under construction." Kelly Johnson
This is not a work of literature; it is not meant to be such. It is a memoir. It is a tribute to a guitar hero, a human being. Her name was Kelly Johnson, and in her own way, she was extraordinary.
This book was mostly written by Kelly Johnson – and she had a way with words – before her death in July 2007, and also integrates some of her friends' memories, including Denise Dufort, Cris Bonacci, and Jackie Chambers.
Kelly Johnson was the original lead guitar of the band Girlschool. From 1978 until her departure to Los Angeles in 1984, where she tried to start a new career by herself and playing in a new band with Kathy Valentine (from the GoGo's). However, while she enjoyed her life and the company of her friends, she gained no recording contract. In 1993 she returned to the UK and resumed playing lead guitar with Girlschool. Their connection had the strength of a lifetime.
She left Girlschool again after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and taught all the leads to her successor Jackie Chambers.
When I read 'Surviving My Friends', I was struck by some of Kelly's wonderful qualities, besides her love of life and her intelligence: she was an environmentalist, an activist for animal rights and a vegetarian. I was struck by the great quality of the many friendships she cultivated throughout her life. I thought she was lucky to have so many wonderful friends, and I thought her friends were very lucky to have known her.
The last line Kelly wrote for her memoir only expresses part of it: "I can't believe I got away with it all – and right now I feel as lucky as a lottery winner."
R.I.P. Kelly Johnson (20/06/1958 – 15/07/2007). You will always be remembered.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)
on Aug. 20, 2012 :
I Was just 15 yrs old when Girlschool came into my world.. they have been with me in both the good times and bad and I have never waived in my support of the band.
To loose someone as talented and inspirational as Kelly Johnson has created a deep sadness for many people including myself, my one wish in this world would have been to have met her in person.
So to have her memoirs to read I feel gives us a greater understanding to the person that she is/was and her legacy of music lives on everyday.
It broke my heart to read of the depth of her disease and I felt for the strength of her good friends around her which has given me a higher respect for these woman.. Its a fab book to read, I could not put it down. I only wish it was longer@!!! So cheers to Kelly, thank you for sharing your life with me in music and now book form. You are greatly missed and greatly loved... fan for ever..Pauline xx
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
on Aug. 6, 2012 :
As a fan of Girlschool since the very early 80's I am glad that Kelly's story has been printed.It is very funny in parts and incredibly sad in others but the love for and from Her many friends shines all the way through.Glamour is not always there being in a Rock and Roll band but She did what She loved.A short book but Kelly's writing reaches out and touches your heart with personal pictures and stories from Her friends .A lot was packed in to such a short life.As long as Girlschool exists then Kelly will always be there.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)