Ari Up of The Slits
The Slits were another west London band with Bristol connections sharing their drummer Bruce Smith with the Pop Group who were also on this bill. Ari Up was waiting to go onstage when I saw her looking off into the distance with her stage war paint just applied. The Slits were a great live band with a raw sound held together by Viv Albertine’s jagged guitar playing and Tessa Pollitt’s spare bass rhythms. Although they came out of the punk scene supporting The Clash on their White Riot tour in 1977 they were probably as influenced by the reggae rhythms that were being played at most of the punk clubs at the time. Their first album ‘Cut’ was produced by the great Matumbi bass player Dennis Bovell which also features a powerful version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ they also gained some notoriety as the album cover showed the three girls dressed just in loin-cloths and covered in mud . The last time I bumped into Ari Up was purely by chance in 2007 in a hotel swimming pool in Kingston, Jamaica where she used to sometime live.
Sadly Ari died in 2010 after a long battle with cancer.