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Not a Typical Girl: Ari Up 1962-2010
October 20, 2010 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Ari Up became a music legend at the tender age of 14, as a founding member of legendary punk band The Slits. Their first album, Cut, blended the nascent punk genre with reggae beats and feminist politics, but was overshadowed by the nude photo on the sleeve [NSFW: boobies]. After the trio disbanded in the early 1980s, Up collaborated with Lee "Scratch" Perry, recorded with the New Age Steppers, released solo work, and raised a family. Her former stepfather John Lydon announced that Ari Up died today following a lengthly illness.
posted by pxe2000 (69 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn.

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posted by The Hamms Bear at 6:57 PM on October 20, 2010


Fuckton, Ari deserved to be way more well known.
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by cazoo at 7:00 PM on October 20, 2010


Oh geez, that's terrible to hear. I was just chanting "silence is a rhythm too" to myself earlier today. Hearing In the Beginning There Was Rhythm was one of the defining moments of my teen music life. What a great musician.
posted by Kattullus at 7:01 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Turn your volume all the way up, please.
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 PM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]



posted by Smart Dalek at 7:03 PM on October 20, 2010


Oh no. No. No.
posted by item at 7:04 PM on October 20, 2010


This is sad. I haven't heard their music in decades, but I really liked it back in the day.
posted by Forktine at 7:06 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by glycolized at 7:08 PM on October 20, 2010


Ari's voice was such a grand instrument. One of my favorite instruments will never be played again. Damn.
posted by item at 7:13 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Deeply sad. The Slits were so important to me as a young girl.
posted by padraigin at 7:14 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by Tesseractive at 7:15 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by joe lisboa at 7:25 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by crush-onastick at 7:35 PM on October 20, 2010


Dam.

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posted by metagnathous at 7:40 PM on October 20, 2010


Fucking hell. Damn I love that band. Grapevine always sent shivers up my spine. So simple, fun and badass.

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posted by PHINC at 7:41 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh my God. Shit. Oh hell.

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posted by jokeefe at 7:46 PM on October 20, 2010


Spent Saturday night listening to Cut and singing her praises to the uninitiated.
posted by activitystory at 7:48 PM on October 20, 2010


This is.... I think it must be the first time that I feel I've lost someone of my particular generation. One of my heroes. She was (just) younger than me, for crissakes.

I was supposed to interview the band in Seattle when they toured in 2006. They showed up for the show so late, and despite their publicist's best efforts were so irritable about the whole thing, that I said fuck it and went back to the friend's house where I was staying. I suppose I should have toughed it out; I'll never get another chance now. Hell.
posted by jokeefe at 7:59 PM on October 20, 2010


The second Slits record, Return Of The Giant Slits, is criminally overlooked and completely awesome. It always spoke to me more than Cut. We will miss you, Ari.
posted by mintcake! at 7:59 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by mwhybark at 8:08 PM on October 20, 2010


Ari Up was a revolutionary voice, a prophet. The world will never see another like her.
posted by koeselitz at 8:08 PM on October 20, 2010


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Damn. There's this invisible wall that all the punks hit and go splat. I wonder when my turn is coming.

BTW, if you want the definitive Slits album, find The Peel Sessions. Almost every Peel Sessions album that I've heard is that band's best recorded performance. There are some early bootlegs floating around that are pretty amazing too. However, Return of the Giant Slits was quite properly overlooked and is completely incoherent (sorry mintcake).
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:14 PM on October 20, 2010


Who invented the typical girl?

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posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:15 PM on October 20, 2010


Well, hell. That sucks.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:19 PM on October 20, 2010


Well this fucking sucks.

I was listening to Return of the Giant Slits up until I finally dumped my turntable seven years ago. Guess I'll hang up my copy of The Poster now and sing "Improperly dressed" for a while. Shit.

Sometime in the early 80s I read an article about the Slits by Caroline Coon written when they were touring with the Clash (and Subway Sect?) in which Ari said when she was old, she still wanted to have green hair and spiky heels. She scared me (I was sufficiently younger, at an age when a few years counts, and she was so fucking bold), but she impressed me more.
posted by goofyfoot at 8:24 PM on October 20, 2010


fade away ... .. .
posted by carter at 8:41 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by not_on_display at 9:10 PM on October 20, 2010


NO

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Her former stepfather, fwiw.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:14 PM on October 20, 2010


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She had one of my favorite voices.
posted by Dismantled King at 9:26 PM on October 20, 2010


Last Friday, we'd got our newspaper ready ahead of time, so we nipped out for wine, rigged up the absent Editor's speakers and got hammered with the interns, playing a lot of Pop Group and the Slits.

I felt young again.

By God,they were good.
posted by quarsan at 9:42 PM on October 20, 2010


I spent a lot of time in high school driving around in my friend's LeBaron listening to a copy of their Peel Sessions that she'd been given by her older sister.
posted by unmake at 9:47 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by Locobot at 10:42 PM on October 20, 2010


Cut is such an absurdly good album that it's hard to explain using mere English.

Fuck it: I'm not trying. RIP
posted by Palindromedary at 10:53 PM on October 20, 2010


Damn. Just like everywhere else, she even got Farrah'd by Guccione on MeFi.
posted by incessant at 11:07 PM on October 20, 2010


WHAT?!?

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posted by mykescipark at 11:28 PM on October 20, 2010


Aw, damn. :(

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posted by susanbeeswax at 11:35 PM on October 20, 2010


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posted by El Brendano at 12:47 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by lapolla at 2:15 AM on October 21, 2010


Well, FUCK. I did not expect that post to be turning into an obit. I said FUCK.

Stuff like this makes me remember how old I am.
posted by Decani at 2:48 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by wemayfreeze at 2:58 AM on October 21, 2010


Hell, I was just reading about the Slits a few days ago.
posted by cropshy at 3:15 AM on October 21, 2010


Man, ANOTHER icon passing away at an early age. RIP, Ari...
posted by lotusstp at 4:29 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by peterkins at 4:49 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by OmieWise at 4:51 AM on October 21, 2010


Return Of The Giant Slits, is criminally overlooked and completely awesome.

I agree, and not just overlooked; I've even heard it trashed. Perhaps folks just wanted a repeat of Cut, which it in no way is. Such a great, sprawling, dynamic album.

The New Age Steppers releases are also amazing.
posted by activitystory at 5:03 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:11 AM on October 21, 2010


Dug up The Slits w Ari and Tessa interview on Steve Jones old radio show from 2006. LINK
posted by stuartmm at 5:28 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by lester at 5:51 AM on October 21, 2010


Gutted, I really didn't see this one coming - I saw her with the reformed Slits in May this year, and she was on mighty fine form then (if a little disgruntled with the venue). Those New Age Steppers albums are jaw-droppingly good too.
posted by anagrama at 6:04 AM on October 21, 2010


Damn.

Yeah, her stuff with the New Age Steppers was really good. Here's my favorite song.
posted by neroli at 7:10 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


the guardian seems to be saying cancer was the cause...

I don't have much to add, saw them just a few years ago and did not expect this post to be an obit either.
Amazing too how grandma with green hair and docs would hardly be that surprising now...

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posted by mdn at 7:19 AM on October 21, 2010


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Been meaning to buy Girls to the Front, a history of The Riot Grrrl by Sara Marcus. This is not the reminder I was looking for.
posted by stagewhisper at 7:39 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by omnidrew at 8:04 AM on October 21, 2010


Ari was delightful, original, funny and full of life. She'd been battling cancer for a while, and was worried about her three children, who had already lost their father to street violence. It's awful. Few people with a colourful stage persona are actually more intense in real life, but Ari was.

BTW, Ari really detested the riot grrrl thing and wonderfully articulated her reasons, which seem solid to me. I'd elaborate, but I'm just too sad right now.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 8:10 AM on October 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


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posted by tallus at 8:48 AM on October 21, 2010


suck.

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posted by toodleydoodley at 9:00 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by .kobayashi. at 9:38 AM on October 21, 2010


I'm very sorry to hear that. I should dig out my copy of Cut, if it's survived the last few moves and the cellar flood.

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posted by languagehat at 10:04 AM on October 21, 2010


:(

This is sad for me but nearly slayed my girlfriend (a dj/musician who'd written her masters thesis on women in rock music and recently picked up an obscure vinyl press of Cut). Maybe now that she's gone, her music will receive the attention it's always deserved...
posted by jtron at 10:11 AM on October 21, 2010


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posted by eustatic at 2:09 PM on October 21, 2010


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posted by brevator at 2:35 PM on October 21, 2010


Shit. "I knew you were sitting in a room all alone..."

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posted by Football Bat at 3:46 PM on October 21, 2010


For those who want to contemplate her legacy further, there's this post on the LA Times' blog and a rememberance from Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:02 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by Tiresias at 8:54 PM on October 21, 2010


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posted by Jess the Mess at 3:04 PM on October 22, 2010


Dammit. I just heard about this through the grapevine. Cut is one of my all-time favorite albums.

(My copy of which, sadly, has gone the way of all things. Can somebody help an old man out? I seem to remember a cartoonish drawing on the back (liner?) of one of the girls (Ari?) with a giant lobster on her back. Another girl is saying something like, "I shouldn't worry about it if I were you." Did I make that up? TIA)

RIP and thanks, Ari.
posted by trip and a half at 4:06 PM on October 22, 2010


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posted by klausness at 3:46 AM on October 23, 2010


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posted by scody at 5:49 PM on October 23, 2010


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