Sunday Old School: Britny Fox
Can a “trashy Victorian glam” look and one big video hit lead the way to sell more than one million copies of an album? If it’s the late eighties, the name of the band is Britny Fox, and that hit is “Girlschool”, the answer is YES.
Britny Fox formed in 1985 in Philadelphia. The band was originally fronted by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist "Dizzy" Dean Davidson. The band also featured Billy Childs on bass, former Cinderella guitarist Michael Kelly Smith on lead guitar and former Cinderella drummer Tony Destra on drums. Soon after securing a major recording contract (via their Cinderella connections) Tony Destra was killed in a car accident. Facing a tour, the band recruited drummer, John Diteodoro.
The band released a demo in 1986 titled “In America”, which drummer Tony Destra played on, and a demo in 1987 titled “Rock Is Gonna Fight”, which drummer Adam West played on. The band's self-titled debut album, released in 1988, was one of the most successful premieres, selling more than one million copies. They also won Metal Edge Magazine's 1988 Reader's Choice Award for Best New Band. Much of the success was due to the track titled “Girlschool” and the all-important video that received much air time on MTV. The loyal followers of this band are quick to point out the album as a whole made Britny Fox successful, and that may be true. But there is no denying what kick started their success.
The video for “Girlschool” begins with a creepy janitor peeping into the classroom of an all-girls high school. A girl enters the classroom with an old-school walkman (the one with the orange ear phones) and sits down. The teacher, who has that hot Kathy Bates look going, hears the treble pouring from the foam ear phones, walks up to the student, and cuts the cord. BAM! Just like that the back drop becomes Britny Fox. First thoughts? Holy shit that is a lot of hair, and hey wait, is this Cinderella? As the band plays the girls get naughty, loosening buttons and hiking up their skirts. The hair also gets bigger: It’s an Eighties Glam miracle! Some have pondered (okay, just me) whether this video started the “school girl” outfit in strip clubs. After much research it turns out that no, this was trending much earlier and its very likely Mick Jagger had something to do with it. Back to the video, front man Davidson has two moves, first, the shimmy-shimmy left-to-right and repeat and then also the “guitar in one hand and raise the other hand during the chorus” move. Both effective. Eventually the hot Kathy Bates look alike gets into the video (READ: thrusting her sexy hips) and then Britny Fox has sex with all of the girls. Last part is on the uncut version, VERY hard to find.
After the release of the band's second album in 1989, ‘Boys in Heat’, Davidson departed, and was replaced by Las Vegas native Tommy Paris. For their second album, the boys from Philly slowed it down for the track “Dream On” and also released a video that was high on comedy. The first scene is serious; we know this because it is black and white. There is a dude living in a trailer in the middle of the desert. He works at what appears to be a tire factory and it’s the hottest tire factory in the world. Sweat is dripping off the ripped dude who (given the time of this video) was probably labeled as a “hunk” or “beefcake”, oh, and his boss never stops bitching. The dude has had enough and quits (BTW: dude is still ripped), goes home, and packs up his shit, using a rope to essentially tie a ton of cases, suitcases, and crap on top of his aging vehicle. There is no way that rope is holding down that shit, even if it’s a square knot. He is off and the drama builds – we know this because tumbleweeds pass by as he drives. Predictably, the car breaks down (due to too much shit!) and the ripped dude just laughs and walks away with his dog at his side. Given this is the desert; the dude is dead within 24 hours. Last part is on the uncut version, VERY hard to find.
For their third release (1991), ‘Bite Down Hard’, Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde and Poison drummer Rikki Rockett appeared on the album. Britny Fox disbanded in 1992 for various reasons (SEE: Kurt Cobain).
Britny Fox reunited in 2000 with the same line-up before their disbandment, and in 2003, released a fourth studio album, ‘Springhead Motorshark.’ The band toured the US and Europe in 2007 and 2008 (they were joined by guitarist Tommy Krash and drummer Henry Now)...and then, in 2010 "Dizzy" Dean Davidson unsuccessfully attempted to reunite the surviving members of the original line-up.
Stability and longevity was never in the cards for Britny Fox, still, they had a good run in the late eighties and have left us with the legacy of a guitar in hand, fist in the air and the lyrics “..cause my baby broke all the rules!”
Standing in the Shadows
Long Way To Love
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