Ari Up, one of punk’s singularly outrageous figures, died Wednesday. Born Ariane Forester, she formed the all-female band The Slits as a teenager. Often performing topless or caked with mud as on the cover of their 1979 studio debut, “The Cut,” the band’s bad-ass attitude would be hard to duplicate today. Their sound was often built on reggae rhythms and a carefree sense of individualism. The song “Typical Girls” probably sums them up best.
After releasing the edgier “Return of the Giant Slits” in 1981, they disbanded and Up globetrotted, living in Belize and New York. As a solo artist she performed with the New Age Steppers, and later dropped a few albums, notably 2009’s “Trapped Animal.” Her label Narnack Records released this previously un-seen clip of “Lazy Slam” with Chloe Sevigny and Lizzi from Gang Gang Dance and some acrobatic dancers having a sexy good time. Watch.
A statement from Shahin Ewalt of Narnack Records reads:
“We had the privilege over the last couple of years getting to know Ari both professionally and as a friend. Ari was a rare and beautiful person. She had so much energy, and was full of life. There is no one like her and I’m afraid there will never be another Ari Up. She was fearless, pushing the boundaries of music in unprecedented ways. You can hear her direct influence in punk, indie and reggae over the course of the past three decades.
She made life fun and was so passionate about music. Ariane very much wanted her music to live on. She was smiling and making things happen through the good and the bad. We will truly miss her. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family.”
In a statement, manager Jeff Jacquin said:
“In my 20 years as a manager I have never seen or felt such inspiration and unyielding passion for music and life as I had with my dear friend and client Ari Up. She was truly one of a kind, and there will never be another like her. 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. She ate life up and spit it out, she lived it on her own terms and never gave an inch! The Slits will live on forever and continue to change the way people feel about music and themselves and that’s just the way Ari would want it! We will all miss you so much!”