Interview with Girlschool Bassist Tracey Lamb (Rock Goddess)
By Mick Michaels
COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Tracey! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
Tracey Lamb: Hello Cosmick View! Thank you for the invitation to do this interview.
CV: How would you describe the typical Girlschool fan? What makes them unique in your opinion?
TL: The typical GIRLSCHOOL fan is very loyal, enthusiastic and always supportive.
CV: Over time, does the band define the fans or do the fans begin to define the band?
TL: I don't think that Girlschool define the fans or vice versa. We just do what we do best and the fans have always loved us for who we are.
CV: In sales, it is often considered that the customer is always right. Considering music and songwriting, are the fans always right when it comes to the musical direction and style a band should be on or even take for that matter?
TL: We don't really view the fans as customers, they are our supporters. We do appreciate their opinions on direction and style…but at the end of the day, the musical direction is down to us.
CV: Can a band afford to go against the grain of what its fan would expect without the fear of losing its audience?
TL: I think if Girlschool changed their musical direction drastically then a lot of fans would be disappointed. Both fans and band are happy with the sound and direction at the moment.
CV: Why is musical experimentation frowned upon in many cases…isn’t a natural progress for artists to growth and explore? Why does it often seem fans resist change?
TL: Yes I agree fans do not like change. I think it’s because they love the band for their original sound. But as an artist, you can still progress, explore and develop without changing the music too much.
CV: Though there has been many legendary bass players: Paul McCartney, Pete Way, Steve Harris and Lemmy from Motorhead, bass guitar is often viewed as a last choice for many would-be musicians...like picking team players in grade school gym class, a role reluctantly to be filled. Did you have a similar experience as a bass player or was bass guitar something you felt drawn to do right from the beginning?
TL: I started playing bass at 13 in Rock Goddess. I actually didn't choose to play the bass, the bass was the only vacant instrument left to play. Then in my 20's I learned to play guitar. But I much prefer the bass…it’s part of me now.
CV: Does the music keep you ticking...could you see yourself doing something else as a career?
TL: Yes, music is my life and it will always be my first choice.
I have had another career in fitness but music will always be my first love.
CV: By your entry into the band in 1987, Girlschool had already shed their short lived 1984 image change. MTV was still the go to haven for all that was Metal at the time. How was Girlschool embraced by MTV? Was it similar like so many other bands of the era, especially since female artists such as Vixen, Lita Ford and Femme Fatale were receiving a lot of video rotation in the late 80s?
TL: The image change in ‘84 was a record company influence so the band would be more accepted in the USA market and the girls have told me they lost quite a few British fans. But when I joined in ‘87 I was pleased to hear that the girls wanted to go back to their roots with the image and music.
CV: Looking back now, was conforming, on some level, to the growing music trends in the 80s a necessary evil for a band to stay marketable or even acceptable to the primarily dominate MTV audience?
TL: Girlschool didn't really conform to growing music trends except for the short lived change in ‘84.
CV: Tracey, do music videos carry any weight with a band's overall sales performance as they once did or are they more of a costly dinosaur reminiscent of a time long gone? Are videos still necessary or even relevant for a band these days?
TL: I feel it’s still absolutely necessary to have a video to coincide with a single release. All fans, old and new, want to see what the band looks like and how they play and who's doing what.
CV: From your perspective, is the music world really in a state of despair as many have led us to believe or is it all nonsense based on your experience?
TL: I don't think it's in a state of despair but the free downloads are robbing the musicians. But thankfully the true fans will buy a physical copy as they want the band’s collection. Bands usually make up this downfall from touring and merchandise.
CV: With Girlschool about to head out on tour, what else can fans expect to see in 2020?
TL: In 2020 we are recording a new album. We have lots of festivals and tours in UK, Europe and further afield. We are very excited and are all looking forward to the future.
CV: Thank you again Tracey for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was a pleasure. I wish you all the best and continued success.
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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word. Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.
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