The Slits

The Slits were an English post-punk trio from London that released the album Cut on Island/Antilles in 1979, followed by Return of the Giant Slits on CBS in 1981.

Members: Ari Up [Arianna Forster, aka Ari-Upp] (vocals), Suzi Gutsy (bass, 1976-77), Kate Korus (guitar, 1976-77), Palmolive (drums, vocals, 1976-79), Viv Albertine (guitar, vocals), Tessa Pollitt (bass, vocals) Budgie (drums, 1978-79), Bruce Smith (drums, 1979-81)


Background

The Slits were formed in October 1976 by some of the earliest female clubgoers on the London punk scene. During a Patti Smith concert that month at the Hammersmith Odeon, aspiring drummer Paloma Romero (b. 1954) spotted 14-year-old fan Ariane Forster (b. 1962) making waves in the crowd. Amused by the girl’s energy, Romera proposed they form a band.

Forster, who went by the name Ari Up, was the daughter of affluent German newspaper heir Nora Forster — who would later marry Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon — and the goddaughter of Yes frontman Jon Anderson.

Romero, a Spanish expat, started frequenting the clubs two years earlier when her then-boyfriend, Joe Strummer, fronted a band called the 101ers. It was through this association that she witnessed the formative stages of The Clash in May/June 1976. Their bassist, Paul Simonon, mispronounced her name as “Palmolive,” hence her nickname.

Another party to these early Clash rehearsals was budding Australian-born guitarist Viv Albertine (b. 1954), an attendee of the 100 Club Punk Special in September 1976. A fellow attendee, Pistols-fan and momentary Banshee John Ritchie (aka Sid Vicious), invited Viv and Palmolive to join him in a band with guitarist Keith Levine, who’d briefly played in the embryonic Clash. Sid’s band, the Flowers of Romance, rehearsed for a few weeks but quickly collapsed after the two women spurned his advances.

Immediately after the Flowers debacle, Palmolive and Ari formed The Slits with bassist Suzi Gutsy and American-born guitarist Kate Korus.


Cut

The Slits released their debut album, Cut, on September 7, 1979, on Island.

1. “Instant Hit” (2:43)
2. “So Tough” (2:41)
3. “Spend, Spend, Spend” (3:18)
4. “Shoplifting” (1:39)
5. “FM” (3:35)

6. “Newtown” (3:48)
7. “Ping Pong Affair” (4:16) stylized as “ƃuoԀ ƃuᴉԀ Affair”
8. “Love und Romance” (2:27)
9. “Typical Girls” (3:57)
10. “Adventures Close to Home” (3:28)

Studio Ridge Farm Studio, Rusper, England
Producer Dennis Bovell

Ari Up – vocals
Viv Albertine – guitar
Tessa Pollitt – bass guitar

Budgie – drums
Bruce Smith – uncredited voice on “Love und Romance”
Dennis Bovell – sound effects
Max “Maxi” Edwards – drums on “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
Neneh Cherry – uncredited backing vocals

Mike Dunne – engineer
Pennie Smith – photography
Brian Gaylor, Viv Albertine – inner sleeve cartoons
Rema, Stuart Henderson, the Slits – production on “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

14 Sep 1979
A: Typical Girls
B. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” ()


Non-Album Singles

14 Mar 1980
A: In The Beginning There Was Rhythm
The Pop Group
B: Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

4 Jun 1980
A: Man Next Door
B: Man Next Door (Version)

5 Dec 1980
A: Animal Space
B: Animal Spacier


Return of the Giant Slits

The Slits released their second album, Return of the Giant Slits, in October 1981 on CBS.

1. “Earthbeat” (5:00)
2. “Or What It Is?” (4:24)
3. “Face Place” (4:23)
4. “Walk About” (4:43)
5. “Difficult Fun” (4:06)
6. “Animal Space/Spacier” (6:42)
7. “Improperly Dressed” (4:28)
8. “Life on Earth” (6:33)

Ari Up – vocals, keyboards, percussion
Viv Albertine – guitar, backing vocals
Tessa Pollitt – bass guitar
Bruce Smith – drums, percussion

Dave Lewis – other instruments (“for helping play”)
Steve Beresford – other instruments (“plays a lot on this record”)
Neneh Cherry – backing vocals

Producer – Dennis Bovell, Dick O’Dell, the Slits, Nick Launay
Nick Launay – engineer
Neville Brody – sleeve
Anton Corbijn – photography

A: Earthbeat
B: “Begin Again, Rhythm” ()


Discography:

  • Cut (1979)
  • Return of the Giant Slits (1981)
  • In the Beginning: A Live Anthology 1977-81 (1997)

Sources:

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