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The Slits

The Slits were a mostly all-women band. The punk rock trio was formed in 1977 by members of the bands The Flowers of Romance and The Castrators. The members were Ari Upp (Ariana Foster), with Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollit replacing founding members Palmolive (Paloma Romera) (who left to join The Raincoats), Kate Korus and Suzi Gutsy. They were also augmented by male drummer Budgie (aka Pete Clarke, formerly of The Spitfire Boys and later to join Siouxsie and the Banshees, and indeed marry Siouxsie herself). At their outset, the Slits played a brand of brash, fun, snotty, catchy punk rock. However, their originally extremely raw and raucous live sound, captured on a legendary Peel Session, was cleaned up and considerably polished by the time of their reggae influenced, dub heavy, Dennis Bovell produced 1979 debut album Cut (Island Records). As well as the exceptional music this album contained, it was also notable for its cover art, a photo depicting the band naked save for mud and loin-cloths.

Their sound and attitude became increasingly experimental and avant garde during the early 1980's, when they formed an alliance with Bristol post punk mavericks The Pop Group, sharing a drummer (Bruce Smith) and releasing a joint single, "In The Beginning There was Rhythm/Where There's A Will" (Rough Trade records). However, by the time of their second 'official' LP release Return Of The Giant Slits(a 'semi-official' bootleg of poorly recorded early material having been released in the interim by Rough Trade), many felt that their initial energy, exuberance and innovativeness had deserted them. Various Slits became involved with On U dub-jamming project New Age Steppers along with free improvisers such as Steve Beresford.