Walking around neighbourhoods like Brixton and hearing the reggae on the streets, mingled with punk coming out of the squats. Recently I read Meaty, beaty, big and bouncy! But at the same time, who can deny the enjoyment gained from reading a purely opinionated piece of music journalism? One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was the fact it gave the opportunity to find out what other musicians thought of the Slits music.
About this product Product Information Wild, defiant and startlingly inventive, The Slits were ahead of their time. Although they created some unique hybrids - dub reggae and pop-punk, African rhythms, funk and free jazz - they were dismissed as being unable to play. This work shows how The Slits phenomenon came about.
Typical Girls Musical Genres The Story of The Slits Music
Additional Product Features Author s. She also presents and co-produces the alternative music radio show Paranoimia, which broadcasts across Europe. Zoe lives in London, with her husband, jazz drummer Dylan Howe. Show more Show less. No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. Best-selling in Non-Fiction See all.
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Amazing Food. All Plants. Save on Non-Fiction Trending price is based on prices over last 90 days. Yet the first ladies of punk were destined to be marginalised and disregarded.
Too long seen as a note in the margin of the history of rock, The Slits at last get a fair hearing. There was no money, it was dreary, bleak — and then there was this circusy, glitzy glam rock stuff, you know, give the peasants something to shut them up. It is , and England is bristling with discontent. The nation is crippled by strikes and blackouts, and the air reeks as decaying rubbish piles up on street corners.
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Prejudice, chauvinism and boredom rule, dole queues snake round the block. And the soundtrack, up to now, has been pop, folk, metal, glam, soft rock and prog — out of reach and out of touch, as far as your average disaffected youth is concerned. On the first day I saw Mick, he was wearing high heels and skinny red trousers with long hair, recalls Viv. Viv and Mick bonded over a mutual passion for music and a shared dissatisfaction with the mess it was in.
To them, the only interesting figures, apart from David Bowie, seemed to be American — Patti Smith, The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, MC5 and The Ramones — and Mick wanted to change that, so in a quest to find like-minded people to create something similar closer to home, he set about organising jam sessions with different musicians wherever and whenever he could. There was one new band who, with the help of rogue entrepreneur Malcolm McLaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, would show the way. Boasting a frontman who had already snubbed the mainstream and taken his influences from sources as diverse as Can, Ian Dury and Captain Beefheart, this group was about to explode a bomb under the British music scene.
And that was it — it was like a light going on. It was the attitude more than the sound but it was like, my God, coming home at last. That was it… it changed everything. It was merely images pertaining to something mystical, devoid of reality. How were we supposed to relate to that music when we lived in council flats?
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The Pistols projected that anger. The same thing happened in Manchester too. The point was that it was motivating. The all-encompassing nature of punk, this assumption that anyone and everyone could form a band and get on up stage to perform, appealed just as much to girls as it did to boys.
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Christine Robertson, who would become the manager of The Slits, lived in Luton. It was a cultural void, she says. For women like Christine, the energy that drove punk turned dissatisfaction into action. And maybe give it a shake too while they were at it.
I lived my life in a punk ethic way, says Christine. Not that anybody had told me what that was, but I had decided that anything was possible, and I was definitely not going to do what my mother did — definitely. My mum had five children, and every day I came back from school she was standing over an ironing board. She was a wonderful woman with so much talent, but she was tied to that. It was a symbol. This first wave of punk nihilism was having a primitive, far-reaching effect, stoking thought and prodding people awake, not to mention leaving a trail of ferocious new bands in its wake, joining the revolution, annihilating everything that had gone before with just three chords.
It was Year One. Suddenly there was this little crack, this door opened for this very short period and you could just shoot through it. Viv was fortunate to have two gifted guitar teachers on hand: Mick Jones, her boyfriend at this point, and long-time best mate Keith Levene, a precociously talented musician and fan of Yes guitarist Steve Howe, despite the perceived mindset that punk was hell-bent on destroying progressive rock bands. Levene has since been hailed as one of the brightest lights to emerge from the post-punk scene, and his playing would be widely imitated, influencing U2 guitarist The Edge among others.
Levene has always been gracious about other musicians copying his style, humorously insisting that it simply points to their excellent taste. Keith was a particular mentor to Viv, and her style, while very personal, bears his jagged, broken-glass hallmarks. Viv, on the other hand, was instrumental in bringing Keith into the first wave of punk as it crackled into life in the rough, multi-cultural neighbourhoods around Ladbroke Grove in West London: Viv was the one who made me aware of the Pistols when they were more a myth than an actual band, recalls Keith.
We were all living in West London and the punk scene was emerging, and as it emerged The Slits just happened. If anything, I taught Viv what not to play like.
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Viv: Keith was the most beautiful guitarist. I was so lucky, he saw me through dark times when I could barely play.
They were always bloody fighting, remembers filmmaker and DJ Don Letts. They have a very particular type of personality, Viv and Mick. Between the aggro, Keith was quietly helping Viv expand her thinking and playing during the initial struggles between euphoria and frustration — and blistered fingertips — when anyone picks up the guitar for the first time.
I taught her about plateauing, and how she could apply it to her life, not just the guitar.