Amy Rigby on Ari Up

220px-Cut_(The_Slits).jpgReader bklynchris noted the passing of Ari Up, lead singer for the Slits, a punk band originally known for being wild amateurs, now remembered as much for the inspiration they gave fellow young punks (mostly women, but men too) as for their their idiosyncratic, so-slightly-off-that-they-were-perfect songs and performances. The great Amy Rigby, who I've celebrated previously on this site, has written a tremendous farewell, particularly when she writes about
the effect The Slits had -- visually and musically. I saw pictures of them for two years before hearing a note and was captivated -- their messy hair, dark eye makeup, Ari with Jubilee underpants OVER leather trousers. There was no coyness. But it wasn't androgyny, the way Patti Smith could have been a girl or a guy -- it was very female. Their album Cut came out sounding so accomplished and together but live at Tier 3 they still made enough of an ungodly racket to give us all hope.


  1. One of the most fun facts about The Slits is that their drummer, Palmolive, later did a cover of “Frequent Mutilation” which changed the lyrics to “Jesus is the Answer”.

  2. I had that album when it first came out. As a teenager I used to like looking at that cover. :D The music sort of grow on you.

  3. That’ sad to hear. I like the Slits a lot, but I guess they were an acquired taste. I remember playing that album for some friends, and they were like “WTF?!” On “Shoplifting” the singer’s voice goes all wobbly and I can still see my buddy’s eyes rolling in his head as he said “you like this shit?”. He did like the record cover, though!
    But they were adventurous musically, and very funny, too.

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