Ari Up of The Slits Died at Age 48

Posted by Amoebite, October 21, 2010 12:12pm | Post a Comment
On Wednesday, October 20, 2010, Ari Up, the charismatic and energetic frontwoman of influential punk band The Slits, died at age 48.

John Lydon posted this message on his website:

Ari Up
Arianna RIP

John and Nora have asked us to let everyone know that Nora's daughter Arianna (aka Ari-Up) died today (Wednesday, October 20th) after a serious illness. She will be sadly missed.

Everyone at and PiLofficial.Com would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to John, Nora and family.

Rest in Peace.

The Slits are one of the most influential bands to emerge from the initial British punk rock explosion, and are known for combining punk with reggae, world music, and experimental sounds. Although their lineup has changed over the years and has included men (Bruce Smith and Budgie), they are primarily identified as a female band and had a significant impact on the Riot-Grrl movement of young female-fronted bands in the 1990s.
The Slits formed in England in 1976 when a 14-year old Ari Up and her friend Palmolive decided to start an all-girl band together. Palmolive had already been the drummer in a short-lived band, Flowers Of Romance, which included other early punk luminaries Sid Vicious, Keith Levine, and Viv Albertine. They were soon joined by guitarist Kate Korris and bassist Suzy Gutsy. Gutsy left to form the band The Flicks, and was replaced by Castrators' bassist,Tessa Pollitt. Palmolive originally asked her old bandmate Viv Albertine to join them on second guitar, but by the time Albertine joined, original Slits guitarist Korris had left to forSlits- Cutm her own band, Mo-Dettes.

The Slits gained wider attention when the four-piece line-up of Ari Up, Palmolive, Albertine, and Pollitt opened for The Clash on their 1977 White Riot tour, along with The Buzzcocks and Subway Sect. Palmolive left the band and was replaced by drummer Budgie. They teamed up with renowned reggae producer Dennis Bovell and released their first album, Cut, on Island Records in 1979. The cover art for Cut also became somewhat notorious because it featured the three female members of the band wearing only loincloths and a thick layer of mud. In 2004, Cut was voted number 58 in the Observer's 100 Greatest British Albums list.

The Slits moved away from the early fury of their punk roots, further exploring African and Jamaican music as well as experimental and avant-garde music. Budgie left the band to join Siouxsie and The Banshees and was replaced by drummer Bruce Smith. The group spent time refining their sound, and eventually signed to CBS Records and released their second album, Return of the Giant Slits, in 1981. However, the band broke up in 1982 and Ari Up went on to sing with the New Age Steppers.
Slits - Trapped Animal
In 2005, Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt reformed the band with Hollie Cook (daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook), Anna Schulte, and Adele Wilson. They released the Revenge of the Killer Slits EP (Melt) in 2006. Michelle Hill later replaced Adele Wilson. In October 2009, The Slits released Trapped Animal (Narnack), their first full-length album in 28 years. A book about the band, Typical Girls: The Story of The Slits written by Zoe Street Howe, was published in September 2009.

We had the pleasure of interviewing The Slits for a What's In My Bag? feature earlier this year. Ari was a powerful, funny, entertaining woman and it was our distinct honor to meet her and the rest of the band.

We send our thoughts and condolences to her family and her bandmates.

Relevant Tags

The Slits (5), Ari Up (1), Punk (68)