×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Punk pioneer Ari Up dies

She formed the all-girl band Slits

Ari Up, the dreadlocked lead singer of the Slits, the first all-girl U.K. punk band, died Oct. 20 in England. She was 48.

A posting on the website of Sex Pistols vocalist John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), who is married to Up’s mother, Nora Forster, said the vocalist passed away after a serious illness.

Born Arianna Forster in Munich, Up founded the four-piece Slits, probably in the early days of London’s punk ferment in 1976. Its original line-up included drummer Palmolive (Paloma Romero, then the girlfriend of the Clash’s Joe Strummer and later a member of the Raincoats), guitarist Viv Albertine (girlfriend of the Clash’s Mick Jones, and subject of the band’s “Train in Vain”), and bassist Tessa Pollitt.

Heavily influenced by reggae, the band made its 1979 debut album “Cut” with Jamaican producer Dennis Bovell; future Siouxsie and the Banshees’ drummer Budgie was enlisted to drum on the set after Palmolive’s exit. Released by Island’s Antilles subsidiary, the LP was notorious for its cover, which depicted the bare-breasted female band mates covered in mud.

After a second album, “Return of the Giant Slits” (1981), the group disbanded. Up went on to perform with producer Adrian Sherwood’s dub-oriented New Age Steppers and solo under such handles as Baby Ari and Madussa.

Up reconvened the Slits with Pollitt in 2005; the group released the EP “Revenge of the Killer Slits” in 2006 and the album “Trapped Animal” in 2009.

Survivors include her mother, Forster, stepfather Lydon; plus three sons.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson waits

    Marianne Williamson Attends Project Angel Food Gala Honoring Jamie Lee Curtis

    Author, activist and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has a personal connection to Project Angel Food — and not just because she founded the charity 30 years ago. At Saturday night’s anniversary gala at the organization’s Hollywood headquarters, she explained the link between the nonprofit and her daughter, India Emma: “I always know how old [...]

  • 71st Emmys Governors Ball

    Why the Television Academy Plans to Donate Furnishings From the 71st Emmys Governors Ball

    The Emmys’ official after party is set to impress — and to leave a permanent impression. At the annual press preview of the 71st Emmys Governors Ball, the Television Academy announced a partnership with Living Spaces, Habitat for Humanity and the Hollywood Community Housing Project that will provide more than 80 custom sofas, chairs and [...]

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Albert Cheng, Alexandra Billings,

    'Transparent' Team Reflects on Series Finale Without Jeffrey Tambor

    Friday night’s premiere of the series finale of “Transparent” at L.A. Live’s Regal theater felt like a family reunion for the Pfefferman clan. Matriarch Judith Light embraced each one of her TV children (Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) and guest stars from previous seasons (Cherry Jones, Melora Hardin, Bradley Whitford) who also turned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content