Last night, the news of Slits frontwoman Ari Up’s untimely death crushed us. At only 48 years old, she was a veteran of ’70s British punk, co-founding the band at 14 and releasing their classic debut, Cut, at 16. An incredible woman, a punk and feminist icon, and a true original, Up was an artist who surely had more to contribute — and to say. Although most obituaries have been full of kind quotes from her friends and collaborators, we think it’s most fitting to remember Up in her own electrifying quotes on punk, women, and living a revolutionary life.
The Slits in the ’70s
“We were actually very conscious and alert, and felt like we were partaking in a revolution. We had revolutionary ideas about changing the culture.” – Spin, 2oo7
“You can’t decide who to be when you’re born into a revolution; it’s like a big explosive instinct. There’s no hindsight about it.” – Black Book, 2009
“I’m a gypsy in a way. It’s in my blood, growing up as a gypsy, moving around. I’m very free-spirited; I’m really the true essence of an untamed spirit. It’s a fight, every day, every fucking day, especially as a woman. I don’t think women have come that far, because when you are being a free woman, it’s very hard.” – Verbicide, 2006
“When we started in ’76, why did we say: ‘Anarchy for the UK’? Why did we take part in that whole revolution, all of us? Because there was that total oppression. The system is fucked, it’s totally fucked.” – The Quietus, 2009
“Women created the men that are the ones we love. But mothers are sometimes to blame for how their sons act in a relationship. I’ve never been about segregation.” – The Aquarian, 2009
“Find out who you really are, then accept who you are. Fight for your life every day to be who you are.” – Spinner, 2009
The Slits in 2009
UPDATE: The Slits have released their final video, for the song “Lazy Slam” from last year’s Trapped Animal. Ari Up requested that the clip, directed by Jess Holzworth, be made public after her death. We’re grateful she left us with these last, joyful images of her.