The Slits are probably the single most important all-girl punk band in the history of music. A bold statement, we know, but certainly not a controversial one. As a 14 year old, Ari Up served as the band's flamboyant front woman and helped develop The Slits' pioneering punky reggae sound. She grew up in England surrounded by punk royalty. Her mother, who is married to John Lydon of the Sex Pistols, ran a sort of punk house, where it wasn't uncommon to have people like The Clash and Jimi Hendrix roll through.
After the demise of The Slits, Ari went on to form the New Age Steppers with Nenah Cherry and Mark Stewart of The Pop Group. She moved to Brooklyn in the eighties and later to Belize, where she lived naked in the jungles to escape the yuppie culture that the decade embraced. Recently, Ari recreated The Slits to pick up the band's unfinished mission to fight for musical expression, women, and cultural freedom. She splits her time between Flatbush, Brooklyn and Jamaica and can be visited at Ari Up.com.
ARI'S RELATED PROJECTS
Madussa - “Madussa is my project primarily in Jamaica. It’s mostly Dancehall, some modern Reggae and Concha. People in Flatbush and Jamaica know me as Madussa, but mostly everywhere else like New York and London they know me as Ari Up.”
The Slits - “The Slits is my punk band. We started our mission in London as teenagers and the mission was to always be anti-establishment but not really in a political sense, more in a way of culture, free expression and for woman to be more just the heart and the soul.”
Women in Rock - A documentary that focused on The Slits, Siouxie and The Banshees, Mania D (members of Malaria!), Lilliput and others. The film explored women in the punk scene.
The Story of Punk - An ITV4 documentary starring Ari Up, John Lydon, Tommy Ramone and Richard Hell that focused on the early punk movement of the US and UK.
Lil Wayne – “My boys love Lil Wayne. Forget Obama. He should president.”
Steel Pulse - "Steel Pulse were one of the bands along with The Slits, The Clash and Public Image Limited that helped pioneer the punky reggae sound. They helped start the revolution by bringing the rasta kids and the kids from the punk scene together."
Brighton Beach - “When I first moved to New York I moved to Brighton Beach, which is a Russian neighborhood by the ocean in Brooklyn. The people there are not that friendly but the food is good.”
Coney Island - “I love Coney Island. When my boys were growing up we’d go there all the time. Now it’s going to be yuppyized with condos and the vibe will be destroyed. It will be ruined forever.”
Flatbush – “I live in Flatbush right near Brooklyn College. It’s my favorite neighborhood in the city. It has a Caribbean vibe that hasn’t been yuppied out yet. It’s certainly not Williamsburg. It’s still real Brooklyn.”
Bushwick – “I used to hang in Bushwick during the 80’s. It was where the culture was, by that I mean Reggae. There were tons of musicians to hang with. It had its own thing going. It may still be going.”
BCAT TV Network – “BCAT is the Brooklyn Public Access Channel. It’s really happening. You can
see some of what’s going on in Brooklyn and observe the culture and philosophy.”
Children’s Museum – “The Children’s Museum is probably the best place you can go with kids. My family loved it when they were children. It’s definitely a fun place to spend the day in.”
Prospect Park – “I love Prospect Park. It’s one of my favorite places in Brooklyn. There is so much to do there and it’s just a nice way to spend the day. “
King of Kung Fu Video - "I've been a kung fu collector since The Slits days. I'm not talking about Bruce Lee. I'm talking about the real chinatown matinee shit. Of course, Wu Tang Clan made it trendy in the 90's by getting the word out to the Hip Hop nation, but back then people used to laugh at us. If you're looking for some obscure films that are ahead of their time visit the King of Kung Fu."
Golden Krust- "Golden Krust is a chain, but they make good Jamaican Patties, especially their vegetarian and shrimp ones. If you're a guy they make these fruit drinks that we'll help your poom poom. Girls will like that."
Hugo's Restaurant - "This is my local and it's the best place in all of Brooklyn. They do specials every Sunday and they have really great fish and juices."