Women Music March 2021 – Day 22 – The Slits


The Slits, 2006

The Slits were a British punk and post-punk band formed in London in 1976 by members of the groups the Flowers of Romance and the Castrators. The group’s early line-up consisted of Ari Up (Ariane Forster) and Palmolive (a.k.a. Paloma Romero), with Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt replacing founding members Kate Korus and Suzy Gutsy. Their 1979 debut album, Cut, has been called one of the defining releases of the post-punk era.

There were a lot of band member changes over time, so I’m including a list.

Ari Up – vocals (1976–1982, 2005–2010; died 2010 from breast cancer)
Palmolive – drums (1976–1978)
Suzy Gutsy – bass guitar (1976)
Kate Korus – guitar (1976-1977)
Tessa Pollitt – bass guitar (1976–1982, 2005–2010)
Viv Albertine – guitar (1977–1982)
Budgie – drums (1978–1980)
Bruce Smith – drums (1980–1982)
Neneh Cherry – backing vocals (1981)
Hollie Cook – backing vocals (2005–2010)
Michelle Hill – guitar (2005–2010)
NO – guitar, backing vocals (2005–2010)
Anna Schulte – drums (2005–2010)
Adele Wilson – guitar (2005–2010)
Little Anna – melodica (2007–2009)

studio albums: 3 from 1979 – 2009
compilation albums: 4 from 1980 – 1978
singles and EPs: 8 from 1979 – 2006

Things to share:
Ari Up was born in Munich, West Germany. Both her parents were involved in the music industry: Her father, Frank Forster, was a German schlager singer who had some success in the 50s and 60s while her mother Nora was a friend of Jimi Hendrix and dated Chris Spedding for three years. Nora Forster later married the Sex Pistols’ lead singer, John Lydon, in 1979. Their home was known to be something of a punk domain, where Nora Forster would take in poor musicians. The constant presence of punk music led to Ari Up experimenting with it herself, learning to play the guitar from The Clash’s Joe Strummer.

Palmolive was born in Melilla, Spain, into a family of nine children, and grew up in Málaga with her four sisters. A teenager who chafed against the political repression and conservatism of Francoist Spain, Palmolive left for London at 17 to “learn about life”. She returned to Madrid three months later to attend university, where she participated in anti-fascist activism, sometimes getting in trouble with the police. Before long, she returned to London and lived at a hippie squat at 101 Walterton Road where she met John Graham Mellor, who went by the name of Woody. The couple was together for several years. Woody, who played in pub-rock band the 101’ers just before punk emerged in the city, changed his name to Joe Strummer before he joined the Clash. Punk’s “explosive energy” and sense of radical freedom inspired McLardy. Like many others on the scene, she acquired a punk name, Palmolive, inspired by Paul Simonon’s playful mis-pronunciation of “Paloma.”

Viviane Katrina Louise Albertine (born 1 December 1954) is an Australian-born British musician, singer, songwriter and writer. She is best known as the guitarist for the punk band the Slits from 1977 until 1982, and with whom she recorded two studio albums. Prior to joining the Slits, Albertine was a member of the Flowers of Romance. Following the Slits’ break-up in 1982, Albertine studied filmmaking and subsequently worked as a freelance director for the BBC and British Film Institute. After a lengthy break from performing and recording music, Albertine released her sole solo studio album, The Vermilion Border, in 2012. Albertine’s first autobiography, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys, was released in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim. A follow-up focusing on her family, To Throw Away Unopened, was released in 2018.

Teresa Mary Clare Pollitt (born 1 January 1959) is an English musician who, at 16 years old, replaced The Slits’s original bassist, Suzi Gutsy. In the mid-2000s, Pollitt and Ari Up reformed the band with new members, including singer Hollie Cook, guitarist Dr. No and drummer Anna Schulte. In 2006, the record label S.A.F. Records released an EP titled Revenge of the Killer Slits. The EP line-up included Paul Cook, formerly of the Sex Pistols, and Marco Pirroni, formerly of Adam and the Ants.

Source: wikipedia

12 Comments Add yours

  1. K.Hartless says:

    I hadn’t heard of this punk band. Thanks for all the great info, and a new band to check out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, K. Glad to introduce them to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That debut album is a real milestone record. Real rock and roll history

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Would you like to say more about why it’s a milestone and rock and roll history? (I always appreciate your knowledge and context of music.) Or write a post on them? (if you haven’t already)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I didn’t cover the Slits already I’ll just say their playing is so unique because they all taught themselves how to play and don’t use conventional chords or structures. Their feel is superb. And they really own their sound. First punk record that wasn’t all screaming rockabilly sped up

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Ah! Sounds like a ringing endorsement 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Just read it and commented. You are the reason The Slits are featured today!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    Great write up Lisa… I have listened to them back in the day. They had their own sound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Max!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had never heard of The Slits before. Their music is definitely outside my core wheelhouse. Based on sampling a few tracks from their first album, they did have an unusual sound. Also, all-female rock bands remain pretty rare.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Sounds like hold a unique place in musical history. It’s too bad one of the founders died so young.

      Liked by 1 person

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