slits 0bcca

“Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits” Remembers The Iconic, All-Female Punk Band

by Michael Levine

The Slits were the first all-female rock band originating from the mid-1970s punk scene in London. They combined punk thrash with reggae rhythms, forming a new post-punk sound. Their debut album, Cut, had cover art featuring band members Ari Up, Tessa Pollitt, and Viv Albertine topless and covered in mud. They were provocative, outrageous, and having fun—they were not manufactured by some male record executive. A new documentary directed by Wiliam E. Bagley, Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits, tells their story.

cut d87ae

In the documentary, interviews with longterm band members Tessa Pollitt, Viv Albertine, and Palmolive, as well as original guitarist Kate Morris, bass player Suzy Gutsy, and vocalist Neneh Cherry, show each band member’s personal journey. Former male drummers Budgie (Siouxsie & The Banshees) and Bruce Smith (The Pop Group/PIL), and DJ/filmaker Don Letts, whose archival footage is well-placed throughout, are also interviewed.

The band split up 1982, but in 2004, Ari and Tessa reunited and recruited new members. The result was a final album, Trapped Animal, released in 2009. Ari Up’s loosing battle with cancer started to become apparent during the band’s final tour in 2010, and she passed away later that year at the age of 48. In the documentary, journalist Viv Golden comments, “Did they win? At the time it seemed like they were stomped from history. The herstory was erased.” Now, The Slits’ story is properly documented for the future generations to come.

Check for screenings. Top photo via Alamo Drafthouse

More from BUST

The Slits’ Viv Albertine Defaces All-Male Punk Exhibit Because Women Are Part Of Punk History Too

Ari Up Of The Slits, RIP

Love The Slits? You’ll Definitely Want To See This Documentary

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.