Main Members

Note that although the Slits were recognised as a predominantly female band, male members also featured in the line-up.

Ari Up (nee Ariane Daniele Forster) (1962-2010), vocals. The daughter of a wealthy German newspaper proprietor and Nora Forster. The latter was also known in the music industry for dating Jimi Hendrix and Chris Spedding, and would go on to marry Sex Pistols singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten). She died after a protracted battle with cancer.
Palmolive (nee Paloma Romero) (1962- ), drums. Born in Spain, and left the Slits to join the Raincoats. Peel related that the first time he met her in the Vortex Club, she banged his head against that of another man he had just been talking to. [1] She was replaced by Budgie, who would achieve greater fame in Siouxsie & The Banshees.
Viv Albertine (nee Viviane) (1955- ), guitar. Australian-born. Replaced founding member Kate Korus (who went on to the Modettes) in 1977. Close friends of Mick Jones and Joe Strummer of the Clash.
Tessa Pollitt (1959- ), bass. Replaced original member Suzy Gutsy, who had left after only a few weeks.


The Slits contained former members of bands The Flowers Of Romance (which also included Sid Vicious and Keith Levene) and The Castrators. Since they were followers and friends of the Clash, they supported them on their 1977 White Riot tour. Their live act was notable for its energy and Ari Up's flamboyant show(wo)manship, and it was this which impressed Peel and Walters when they saw them at the above-mentioned Vortex gig on 15 August [2] Walters said:

"They were the very essence of punk: banging and shouting, unhindered by any discernible musical ability. We thought the BBC should record them for posterity."

The subsequent first session in September 1977 was seen differently by the participants. Viv Albertine said, "It was absolutely raw, more raw than any boys' band. I almost can't believe we had that much energy," whereas engineer Nick Gomm mainly remembered having to retune their guitars several times because the band had no idea how to do so. [3] Moreover, the other engineer on that date, Bill Aitken, calls it "a classic if you are into shit," says that "it probably put the cause of women in rock back a century or so," and remembers that Peel and Walters (who actually secretly attended the recording) "were pissing themselves laughing at the difficulties that Tony Wilson (producer) and I were having in getting anything coherent out of the circus act thrashing around in the studio." [1] Peel would go on to praise this session and their second, recorded in March 1978 as among his favourites: " The two sessions the Slits did during the punk era were just magical, I thought, were just terrific." [2]

It would appear that their sessions were the band's most enduring legacy, since the LP Cut was not released until 1979, the band's sound had been smoothed out, and Palmolive left due to the group's plans for the sleeve design, which featured the girls semi-naked and covered in mud.

The Slits' debut LP, produced by Dennis Bovell.

Peel was still playing this ten years later, commenting, "It all seemed so innocent back then." [3] (This album was re-released in 2009 as part of a deluxe edition containing the first two sessions.) Ari's interest in reggae led to the band increasingly experimenting with dub and releasing a collaboration with the Pop Group, 'In The Beginning There Was Rhythm': this song also featured on the third Peel session in 1981, which revealed the sound of a very different group. Shortly after this, the band split up, only to reform in 2006. tour and release a final album, Trapped Animal.

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None



All three sessions were released on The Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit, 1992).

1. Recorded: 1977-09-19. First broadcast: 27 September 1977. Repeated: 05 December 1977, 28 December 1977, 14 March 1979, 08 June 1981 or 10 June 1981 and 05 August 1986

  • Love & Romance / Vindictive / New Town / Shoplifting

2. Recorded: 1978-04-17. First broadcast: 22 May 1978. Repeated: 12 June 1978, 14 March 1979

  • So Tough / Instant Hit / FM

3. Recorded: 1981-10-12. First broadcast: 26 October 1981. Repeated: 12 November 1981, 06 January 1982

  • Difficult Fun / In The Beginning / Earthbeat/Wedding Song

Other Shows Played

SLITS Clips 1978-2007 (including Viv and Ari interviews)

SLITS Clips 1978-2007 (including Viv and Ari interviews)

At 0:20, Peel talks about his favourite sessions from The Slits

(The list below is incomplete and compiled only from the database of this site and Phil's Mighty Database. Please add more information if known.)
Other 1980s

See Also

External Links

  1. Margrave Of The Marshes, Corgi, 2006, p. 369. John added, "We are shortly to record these Slits for Radio 1. I think I will take several of my friends and lie in wait for the brazen creature outside the studio."
  2. Ken Garner, The Peel Sessions,, p. 95.
  3. Garner, p.96.
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