Boston Gets A Grip


Seasons of Wither

Written by Steven Tyler.

Released in 1974 - "Get your Wings" album.

Recorded @ Euphoria Sound Studio, Revere, MA
Produced & engineered by Sean McGough

The Bristols;
Kelly Knapp: lead vocals, guitar, sitar
Kim Ernst: bass guitar, vocals
Michele Haber: lead guitar
Johnny Grady: drums

The Bristols

The Bristols' place in Boston music history is real. As one of only a few all-girl bands in the mid 80's, they somehow got through two decades without releasing a note of music-not even a demo track on some out-of-print vinyl compilation. Learning from and mentored by local luminaries such as Elliot Easton, Jonathan Paley & Billy Borgioli, (to name a few) the Bristols were way ahead of at least two trends; '60s pop revival and alt-country. For me, they settled the tired old "Can women rock?" question by rocking first and asking questions later. The group got close to a record deal more than once, and along the way, they threw out more good songs than most bands ever write. This gem of an Aerosmith cover is just a taste...

I got crushed on the Bristols pretty early-a lot of people did-and it was their rock'n'roll hearts that did it. Originally they looked and sounded like a mid-60's dream come to life: Kim had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965 (yes, the Smithereens' song was written about her); and the harmonies were straight from Shangri-La. And although Kelly's sultry voice was tinged with twang, there was an underlying toughness there as well, most notably when Michele reached for her volume pedal.

Along with some of their local running partners-the Titanics and the Neats especially- they really found their voice after turning it up. Those are the Bristols I remember most fondly-the hazy, high-volume nights at the Rat or Bunratty's, where they'd come on between the 'Hoods, the Nervous Eaters, or the Real Kids, match them for volume but hit you with something lonesome and heartfelt between the lines. And their annual Patriot's Day afternoon shows at the Rat were legendary and something to look forward to until '97, when our beloved scene began to change forever.

Over the years the face behind the drum-kit changed and by their third drummer in the early 90's, they were no longer strictly a "girl group". In 1994, Johnny Grady was recruited from renowned Boston band The 360's. Johnny added a long sought after heaviness to the band's sound and would remain the Bristols' final drummer.

They are all still doing fine, even though they haven't played in over 8 years. Kelly sings & plays in her country band The Darlings, and the three women are more inseparable than most active bands. Maybe you can't put your arm around a memory, but a little Bristols would sure sound good right now.

~Brett Milano


Contact: Kim Ernst

Johnny Bristol
Press Play to Sample