Monday, November 20, 2006
November 17, 2006 The Slits Visit The Box
I tried as best I could to figure out which girl was which, but I had to put in a few (?) where I wasn't sure who was speaking. There are places where more than one person is talking and I couldn't make out all the words, that's what happens when you have that many folks in a room!
Steve: You’re listening to Jonesy’s Jukebox on Indie 1031. That was The Slits, from an album, “Cut” and the was the cover version of …was it Marvin Gaye who did that originally?
Ari: Yeah, and we call it “bassline”, “Heard It Through The Bassline” cos at the time, there wasn’t any bass except reggae.
Ari: And that’s hence, why we all got together and started listening to reggae and then bringing it into our music too, that heavy bass.
Steve: You’ve always liked reggae, haven’t you?
Steve: Did you ever like punk?
Ari: I didn’t know what punk was. Though it was punk, I mean, we were called punk after we already started hitting the stage...
Ari: I mean, what was it, really? We just played and…
Steve: I think Caroline Coon come up that word.
Ari: Really? I thought it was the Americans saying, “Ugh, punk…” terminology of, you know…waster’s (?) life.
Steve: Well, there was a magazine called Punk, I think. I don’t know where it came from.
(?): (from the background) I thought it was the wives in prison or something.
Steve: The what?
Ari: Speak up there, c’mon.
Steve: Come into ze mike.
(?): I heard it was the derivative of a kind of slang term for sort of men-wives in prison. Male wives.
(?): Yeah, you’re a punk. You’re gonna be my punk…
Steve: Oh, you mean, weaker blokes became bitches in the prison.
Steve: Yeah, tossing salads and whatnot. (general laughter)
Ari: Like that cowboy shirt…
Ari: Steve wore this beautiful cowboy shirt in the Pistols days that I remember, where these two cowboys were connecting, like in that movie…(Brokeback Mountain)
Steve: Yeah, they was having a few words with each other.
Ari: Yeah, with the naked parts showing, coming out.
(?) : That wasn’t the language I saw in the pictures. (more laughter)
Steve: So how’re you enjoying being on the road? You’re roughing it, I heard.
Ari: Yeah, we’re roughing it. It seems like The Slits haven’t changed much - the things that surround The Slits, I mean – haven’t changed much since ’76, you know. Like the minute we come on the scene, we’re a threat all over again. We’re still very threatening and that’s shocking to me. In 2006, to be as threatening as we were in ’76.
Steve: Why do you think…what makes you think you’re threatening? What, people’s reactions to the way you look?
(?): …that question about why “you were so violent”…
Ari: Yeah, I mean the other day this radio guy was like, “Oh, we need to make clear, we’ve heard a lot of people saying how violent you were and what about all the violence that was coming from…”
Ari: Yeah. They feel so threatened. They still do. I don’t know what it is.
Steve: You’re not violent at all.
Ari: No we were not at all. It was other people who were violent around us.
Steve: I dunno, I’ve never heard that. Did you hear that?
Steve: The violent bit.
Tessa: That we’re violent.
Ari: No, but it’s what they were trying to…that’s what I’m saying, we’re stuck with all this stigma-type weird thing, whatever.
Steve: Yeah, well…who cares.
Ari: Well, if they want violence, they’re not going to get it onstage. But we do playfight, so you can come and see us playfight.
Steve: Yeah and you’re playing tonight at the Troubadour.
Ari: Yes, we’re going to playfight there as well.
Steve: Mud wrestling. You live in Jamaica.
Ari: Who’s “you”? Got to say “Ari”.
Steve: Ari…Ari. Do you want to, there’s a bunch of girls here who I’ve never seen before. Do you want to introduce them?
Ari: Okay, well there’s Tessa on the left which you have seen cos she’s the…
Steve: Original Tess.
Ari: Yeah, original Tess, bass player of The Slits. We’ve got Anna the drummer, new.
Steve: Well, how long’s Anna been in The Slits? Has The Slits always been together or had they broken up? Did they ever break up for a period?
Ari: We broke up for…
Tessa: We just parted company for a while…a few years. (laughs)
Steve: Okay, now you’ve been back with this lineup how long?
: Early in the year like maybe since February we’ve been playing.
Steve: Okay. And who’s that, behind you?
Ari: Okay, we’ve got Adele.
Ari: The crazy, mix of guitarist which loves Jimi Hendrix sound, mixed with like, Keith Hudson reggae, totally. She’s like totally crazy guitarist, there.
Steve: What was your name again, I’m sorry.
Ari: Yeah. And then we’ve got the other crazy guitarist with Siberian blood, going nuts with experimentation.
Steve: And your name is, madam?
Steve: Go on, what’s your name. I’m just kidding. (laughter) And we’ve got this one here…
Ari: Well, that’s, I mean that’s family, right? You might as well say.
Steve: My goddaughter.
Steve: Hollie Cook.
Steve: Paul Cook’s daughter.
Hollie: All the way from Shepherd’s Bush.
Steve: All the way from Cooke’s Pie And Mash Shoppe. (general laughter) And you are my, I’m your goddaughter, right? (more laughter) I mean…
Hollie: I’m your goddaughter.
Steve: You’re my goddamndaughter.
Hollie: Yes, that’s the one. (more laughter)
Ari: And you’d been my stepfather for a while. Ari-up’s stepfather…slightly.
Steve: I’m the stepfather…I just help everybody. (laughter)
Hollie: Fairy godfather.
Steve: Fairy godmum.
Ari: But we enjoyed so much on the tour listening to your radio show. We just thought, “Oh, if we could only hear that the whole tour through.”
Hollie (?): All around America.
Ari: All around America.
Hollie: Put Jonesy’s Jukebox all around America!
(?): National, go national.
Steve: Say it louder in there.
Hollie: (closer to the mic) Put Jonesy’s Jukebox national. We love it.
Steve: I hear you. I’m with you there.
Ari: The Slits love Steve’s show.
Steve: Excellent. Um, do you know what time you guys go on tonight?
Ari: Oh, quite early tonight. So please be there before ten…you definitely won’t miss us, by ten-thirty we should be on, latest.
Steve: And how long do you play for, hour, two hours?
Hollie (?): About an hour and a half, give or take.
Steve: Nice one. Should I come down?
The Slits: yeah!
Steve: There’s not going to be any violence, is there? (general laughter and wisecracks) What are we doing, Shovel? Should we play a song? Did I give you a song?
Mr. Shovel: No.
Steve: Nyum nyum nyum…let’s play…num num num – I know…
Ari: And don’t forget to play our new Slits EP as well, before I forget it.
Steve: I’ll tell you what, I’m going to play that right now…now, is there an album?
Tessa: “Number One Enemy”.
Ari: Yeah Tessa, say something about “Number One Enemy” there.
Tessa: Play “Number One Enemy, which has got Paul Cook playing drums, Marco Pirroni playing guitar and Chris – I don’t know his surname – from Adam and The Ants, playing bass.
Ari: Are you pl…? Oh, no you didn’t play…(hard to hear, three people talking at once)
Tessa: No, I’m not playing on it.
Steve: Track two, is that track two? There’s no profanity on this, is there?
Ari: Yeah, there is a F-word, I think.
Steve: Oh, we can’t play that.
Ari: Can’t you beep it out?
Steve: We don’t know where it is.
Ari: Oh, what a shame and Hollie’s singing on it…
Steve: Play track one. Track one’s good.
Hollie: No I’m singing on track one.
Ari: …oh, no she’s singing on “Tradition”.
Ari: Oh god, I’m getting…(couldn’t decipher, Steve talks over her)
Steve: Maybe we can, while we’re…later on we can take out the F-word.
Ari: Yeah, yeah. Maybe play track one, then. That’s Hollie on it.
Steve: “Slits Tradition”. I like this song. This is my favorite one, actually.
Ari: Talk about that, Hollie.
Hollie: Yeah, that was slightly crazy, wasn’t it? All of a sudden I was having an exam at school and I got a phone call from my mum saying, “Ari – she’s around the corner. She wants you to sing on a record. Go, now, now!” So I was wandering around Old Street, walking up and down the road, trying to find this like, ridiculous little studio up in some flat somewhere. I hadn’t seen Ari for about…ten, fifteen years or something?
Ari: Let’s not get into age now…
Hollie: It had been a long time. And she was like, (hurriedly) “Right, okay! It goes like this! Go!” (all laugh) and that was it and it was done in about ten minutes.
Ari: And then she was in The Slits in about twenty minutes.
Hollie: And then I was in The Slits.
Steve: And here you are now…in Hollywood.
Hollie: Here I am, in Hollywood.
Steve: Amongst the wolves.
Ari: And you know what? Oh, we love Hollywood. I think that that’ll be great for The Slits. I think Slits should go Hollywood, bigtime.
Steve: Move out here, you mean?
Ari: No. I think that America would be the ones to break The Slits big. Put them back on the map. I think it’s going to happen.
Steve: That’s what I think.
Ari: Yeah, you do?
Steve: Let’s do it now. Let’s play a track. Take it away, Shovel.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Steve: You’re listening to Jonesy’s Jukebox on Indie 1031. There’s a skip in the disk. That was. “Queen Majesty” by The Techniques.
Ari: We all listened to that when we were going against the monarchy, going against the Queen in England.
Steve: Yeah. Absolutely.
Ari: We still are against the Queen.
Steve: Do you go to England much?
Ari: Who is that to, me? Ari?
Ari: Not really. Only if I have to you know, only if I have to.
Steve: Yeah. I’m not big on it.
Ari: I’m big more on Brooklyn – Brooklyn girl! I’ve been living in Brooklyn and Kinsgton, Jamaica most of my life.
Steve: How is that, Kingston Jamaica? Is it fun there?
Ari: That’s a different planet to describe. I think we won’t have the time on your show.
Steve: Yeah. Is it heavy, in places?
Ari: It’s very heavy. It’s very heavy. It’s very extreme. You see, it’s hard to explain unless you watch a spaghetti movie, try to picture movie western without the horses and…just that extreme thing of like, really, when it’s good, it’s really amazing. Partying and talent, sunny, action…beautiful, everything. And on the other hand it’s really bad. It’s evil. It’s dangerous, it’s depressing, it’s poor, it’s totally messed up.
Steve: Like, if I went down there with a ten-gallon hat on and a big camera and a shiny gold watch and said, “Excuse me, can you tell me where Lyshester Square is?” do you think I’d get rolled?
Ari: I think…I mean, Kingston is not used to tourists anyway. So you’re better off if you would come to visit me in Kingston. Nobody would mess with you cos you’d be like, friends coming to see friends, you know. But um, I think it doesn’t really work, that type of approach where they used a lot of tourists. It’s worse, even.
Steve: I never been there. I remember the Clash guys went there once and they didn’t leave the hotel room. (the group bursts into laughter) They were scared, they were scared.
Ari: Yeah, well that gets picked up, you know. People thought, “Oh, these big rock and rollers (?) them, whatever back then and then they raided them in the studio, I think. They went and robbed them.
Steve: Something like that yeah, yeah.
Ari: But that would never happen with me cos I’m a Kingstonian over here, you know. It’s like…
Steve: You’ve been there years, right?
Steve: How long you been there, twenty years?
Ari: Since, since ’81, I started gradually migrating, since The Slits.
Steve: You like the weather there? I love that kind of tropical weather.
Ari: Yeah, I love that tropical thing. I love that tropical thing.
Steve: You’ve got a good tan.
Ari: Oh, this is, that’s not even a tan…it’s the normal thing.
Steve: No, I know but, I know…I’m the same. I’m a sun worshipper. I get tan without even being in it.
Ari: Yeah, we tan (?) Vitamin D.
Steve: I don’t know what it is, I’m always tan now and I don’t even lie in it.
Ari: That’s because of the Vitamin D input. You needed it. That’s why you were so depressed in England…
Steve: No, I know that.
Ari: …and created a revolution and went against the monarchy and destroyed the Queen forever. They’re never the same again.
Ari: Never recovered.
Steve: Oh, well.
Ari: All because of you, man. Cos you needed your Vitamin D.
Steve: What can I do? I had to do it. What can you…I mean, people don’t realize how depressed they get if they’re in miserable weather.
Steve: Most people in England, they don’t know why they’re depressed.
Ari: No, no. It’s a chemical reaction I have over there. No matter how England is, I get so…(to Tessa) what?
Tessa: It’s the lack of light, cos it’s so gray…
Ari: That’s Tessa speaking there, the expert on England.
Tessa: They call it SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Ari: It’s so bad. Well, L.A. can’t relate to that. It’s so nice and sunny here…they can’t relate to that when we’re moaning about England.
Steve: Oh, who cares about…who? Where, here?
Ari: Yeah. They’re like, “What are they talking about?”
Steve: It’s really strange.
Ari: They wear only slippers, my twins. By the way, they live here, my twins. They’re here, they’re coming to the gig tonight. I want a big-up – Pablo and Pedro and their girlfriend and all their friends they’re coming tonight and they’re going to wear sandals because that’s all they ever wear.
Steve: I’ve got sandals on now, look! (the girls laugh)
(?): Adele (?) lost her sandals.
Ari: That’s L.A. for you. You know they can’t, like…you talk about England, it’s like, “What?”. They can’t imagine. It’s just shorts and sandals.
Steve: But when you’re young, you don’t know any different. You know what I mean? You don’t know any different when you’re young. You have to get out and experience the world to realize what you like and what you don’t like.
Ari: What do you like about “Slits Tradition” then. You just played your “favorite” song on “Revenge Of The Killer Slits”.
Steve: I dunno why I like it, I just like it. Technically, I can’t explain. It’s just a feeling, innit?
Ari: The feeling of it.
Steve: That’s what I’m always like, though. It’s always a feeling. It’s not…
Ari: That’s great, that’s how you were with guitar on The Pistols as well.
Steve: I’m Great. (laughter all around)
Ari: …and I just heard Steve play reggae you know when you guys aren’t listening out there in radio world and…he’s just, he needs a reggae band. So right now, please apply to get Steve into a reggae band as well as The Pistols because he is just natural born.
Steve: Natural. It’s a God-given gift, that only a few have. I’m one of ‘em. We’re going to visit The Duke, we’re here with The Slits, they’re playing tonight at The Troubadour, we’ll be right back after these lovely messages. Thanks for listening.
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Steve: You’re listening to Jonesy’s Jukebox on Indie 1031 with my guests, The Slits in the studio.
Ari: And I want to big-up Wayne Jobson, that’s my big, big family friend.
Steve: (Jamaican accent) Wayne, man, come now.
Wayne: Maximum respect, Steve. Jonesy and The Slits and (they were?) a nuisance from way back, England, early days and they kind of started a revolution along with Dennis Brown. So now I’m going to give you some Dennis Brown, classics, along with Jonesy.
Steve: This is uh, nice one. I’m on the axe and The Slits are going to be singing, all six of them. There’s six of you, right?
Ari: It’s a Slits revolution.
Steve: (Jamaican accent) Here we go now…echo?
(They perform “Slits Revolution”)
Ari: We messed up one part because the bass was missing!
~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Steve: You’re listening to Jonesy’s Jukebox on Indie 1031 with my guests The Slits, in the studio. That was Kay Starr, doing a song called, “Wheel Of Fortune” and before that was The Honeycombs doing a song called, “Have I The Right”, produced by Joe Meek.
Ari: We love all them old songs. We love that type of…that’s the thing with The Slits, why they created such a new sound. We have a new sound because we’re very tolerant in just soaking up a lot of different sounds without really imitating. We might be emulating and inspired but we don’t really imitate so that’s when The Slits first came out, we actually sounded like nobody else and to this day we’re still like this. And when you come tonight, you’re going to see it’s not retro. If you think you’re coming to a retro thing, I dunno, you might be disappointed because it’s…we do the old “Cut” album, of course. We do a lot of it. Half the set is of the old songs because they sound timeless anyway.
Ari: I mean, they’re timeless when you listen to the stuff now. So, and because we love old school anyway…but we’re also new. We’re new school, we continue, you know?
Steve: Yeah. I think The Slits inspired a lot of other girl bands, to be honest with you.
Ari: Yeah, it did.
Steve: A lot of other birds to get up and play.
Ari: I mean, let’s talk to the riot grrrl movement girls that were in that age. Anna, the drummer and No, one of the guitarists…they picked up on all that legendary thing that was created in the early Nineties with that riot girl movement. How about saying something about that?
Steve: Say somesings…
Anna (?): No, we heard it like, through other people’s influences and then went straight to the records and heard it, you know…through the baseline and I think it was…everybody name-checked them, whether they liked them or not. It was like, “Oh yeah, The Slits, yeah, they’re great!” and then went out and bought the albums just in case anybody…
Ari: …missed it.
Anna: Well, just in case anybody quizzed them on the reality of their…
Steve: Have you actually done an album, or just an EP?
Ari: Well, we just did the EP now. That’s…a in-between stage because the live, new Slits haven’t really been put fully together at that point. We just did the EP…The Slits needed to continue. Me and Tessa got together…Tessa, you want to say something about that?
Steve: All right, Tess…
Tessa: Um, well, nothing more to say (laughs). I don’t know…
Ari: Naw, tell people how we got together. (pause) We got together…
Steve: See, look…you’re mudwrestling on the front of here, on the front of the album. What happened to her?
Ari: Non-violent. Well, she’s not here to speak for herself so we don’t like talking about the girls who are not here.
Steve: Well, you don’t have to talk about her, you just like…is still…
Ari: She’s retired.
Steve: …she’s finished, don’t like playing music?
Ari: Yes, right. Exactly.
Steve: What was her name? Sorry…
Ari: Viv doesn’t want to play anymore so we can’t speak on her behalf. But the thing is, when I played Ari-up shows, solo with my backing band in England, cos I’ve got an album out too, by the way. It’s called “Dread More Than Dead”, it’s very nice. And most of The Slits people know that one. But it’s sort of mixed in with Jamaican more, too. But that’s when Tessa and me linked again and Tessa just said, “Let’s start The Slits again” and then it started. About three years ago we said, “Okay, we’ll do it again”.
Ari: But it’s not going to be retro. It’s going to be new. It’s like a continuation of The Slits which, with the riot grrrl movement became more aware.
Steve: What’s this riot grrl movement?
(?): I think (?) knows more about that…
Ari: Don’t you know nothing about it?
(?): No. (laughs)
Steve: Some movement. It must be very secretive, this movement…(all the girls are talking at once) it’s a secretive society movement. No one talks about it. Need code to talk about it. Mum’s the word.
Hollie (?): I think part of it is that women were written out of history again, every bloody generation has to start again, that’s the thing.
Steve: The riot movement is top secret.
Ari: We’re going to pop up a quest (?) to know that. I’ve never asked the rest of The Slits, actually. Like, how did you find out about The Slits, Anna?
Anna: Well, I’m very much into music and all that and so it’s pretty much like talking about friends about music and that’s how it comes up and a lot of people when you ask them about music the say, “Oh, I like The Slits” and obviously you become curious about it.
Ari: So when did you find out about it?
Anna: Probably like, five, ten years ago.
Ari: Okay, Adele, like to say something as our little, little generation?
Adele: I always loved reggae and when I was younger, an artist friend of mine introduced me to The Slits because he was saying, “They play reggae, they’re three girls”. But he introduced me to the old album, from when you were like, sixteen…so he said, “They’re girls that play reggae” so he thought I might be interested and I listened to it for a bit and then I think I lost the…(Steve talks over her)
Steve: Do you guys like, what do you guys…
Ari: Lost the what? Your virginity?
Adele: I lost…shhh. Not yet.
Steve: (hollers something with the Jamaican accent)
Ari: We have a girl in The Slits who lost her virginity to listening to The Slits!
Adele: What are you talking about? (laughter, general hubbub ensues)
Steve: What do you girls think of The Spice Girls?
Hollie: I loved The Spice Girls.
Steve: I know you did.
Hollie: I was ten when they came out.
Adele (?): I’ve got all the dolls…
Hollie: No, I never had all the dolls but I remember the first time I even saw their video. It was the most exciting thing in the world.
Hollie: I was…I loved it. Scary Spice that’s who I…you always pretended to be one of them and I was always Scary Spice. (the girls talk amongst themselves)
Steve: We got to knock it on the head, it’s time to go.
Ari: Really, ohhh. I wanted to ask everybody…Jen (?) our tour manager, I want to big-up Jen our tour manager. She knew about The Slits too, quite a while…from the riot grrrl movement, right?
Jen: That’s a little later, a little after my time.
Steve: Shush shush, secret. D-d-d-don’t talk about it!
Ari: Wayne grew up with Slits, it’s not only you who are family, Steve, to me but also Wayne and he’s got this great show that I’ve always wanted to come on. I think The Slits should do it as well, which is the Native Wayne’s Smoke-In on this radio station, Sunday four o’clock to six p.m. So that’s the reggae show, right.
Steve: Are you going to be here Sunday? Or you on the road, you’re somewhere else?
Ari: (disappointed) Noo. I really wanted…
(?): We’re going to be in Oakland…
Ari: Oakland, right.
Steve: Maybe you can call in on the phone.
Wayne: Yeah, do a phoner. (the girls concur)
Ari: Good idea.
Steve: (Jamaican accent) Do a phoner. Have you got any big Slits t-shirts (to) fit Uncle Steve? (the girls answer in the affirmative). Okay, we’re going to knock it on the head, it’s been a pleasure having you girls here, (they say goodbyes and thank you’s) I hope you had fun. Have a good show tonight and I’ll see everyone Monday at twelve bells. Bye Bye.