Sad news in the music world today: Ari Up of the seminal British punk girl group, The Slits, passed away on Wednesday (October 20) after a "serious illness." Her stepfather John Lydon, who has been married to Up’s mother Nora Forster for three decades, announced the news via his official website.
Born Arianna Forster in Munich, Germany in 1962, Up founded The Slits in 1976 when she was 14. The punk-reggae act, which also included a few male members over the years, made a splash in 1979 when issuing their debut album, Cut. Its famous cover features Up, guitarist Viv Albertine, and bassist Tessa Pollitt mostly naked and covered in mud.
"She influenced generations of women and created some of the most memorable music of our time, but Ari's true magic was how she affected people on the street, face to face, every day," he said. "She ate life up and spit it out."
The Slits issued a second studio effort, 1981's Return of the Giant Slits, prior to going on hiatus. But in 2005, Up and Pollitt revived the band with new members and released the Revenge of the Killer Slits EP a year later. They spent the next four years touring the globe, and their first set of new material in nearly 30 years arrived in 2009 with Trapped Animal.
A host of other musicians and artists have taken to Twitter in remembrance of Ari Up today:
Johnny Marr: Respect to Ari Up. The Slits played with The Cribs last year and she was great.
Kate Nash: Cannot believe news about Ari Up, The Slits were an inspiration & revolutionary. Did a lot of important things. Wild, passionate Woman R.I.P.
Ted Leo: Newer Slits was amazing, too – "World of Grownups" never leaves rotation for me! #AriUp
Tracey Thorn (of Everything But the Girl): Sad to hear of death of Ari Up. The Slits were inspiration for the Marine Girls. They were like much cooler and wilder big sisters.
Boy George: Ari from The Slits has died, f***ing sad. R.I.P. baby!
William Orbit: RIP Ari Up. She was an inspiration, an incredible individual. It's a sad loss.
Brix Smith-Start (Formerly of The Fall): RIP Ari Up #slits, #theslits So sorry to hear about Ari's passing. I am very, very sad. she blazed a trail for woman like me.
The Slits – "I Heard It Through the Grapevine":
The Slits – "Typical Girls":