Sharon Cheslow decomposition at mindspring.com
Wed Nov 19 05:02:02 EST 2008

Really well said Weasel.  I think it's why I was so enamored of the 
Slits when I first heard them.  It was like deciphering a puzzle. 
They had great, unique musical ideas.  And the way they progressed 
was so incredible, from their early chaotic punk sounds to the freer, 
jazzier, reggae-ish sounds.  Ari also deserves credit for her work 
with New Age Steppers who were light years ahead of their time.

I can relate to what Robin and Annette write about the chaos of just 
getting up on stage and PLAYING.  One of the things that was so great 
about punk was that the stage became a place where you could 
experiment.  You didn't have to know how to be in a band.  You could 
just get up there and play.  Even if you knew how to play your 
instrument, it was an entirely different world to get up  on stage to 
play, and most girls didn't know who to navigate that world.  It was 
very liberating.

I'm so envious of Robin and Annette for getting to see the Slits live 
at the Roxy!  Thanks for all the history.


At 1:22 AM -0800 11/19/08, weasel walter wrote:

>as far as this "can play" or "can't play" thing: it's the same in 
>every field or idiom - either you have a great idea or you don't. if 
>you can do enough to express that great idea in a way that works, 
>technique becomes secondary. of course, if you want to go beyond 
>that initial outburst of creativity, you're eventually going to need 
>more technique or you'll get stuck in a rut.
>the original slits had great musical ideas and that was why they 
>were so great despite whatever technical limitations they had. they 
>definitely progressed and became more subtle and complex as time 
>went on. by the time of the first peel session, they definitely had 
>their shit together. none of their records sound alike at all, and 
>that's to their credit. "ping pong affair" is one of my favorite 
>songs of all time: that composition is so ingenious and the parts 
>fit together like an incredible puzzle . . . they had great ideas. 

At 10:48 PM -0800 11/18/08, robin dudley wrote:
what the slits REALLY "couldn't" at the beginning was figure out 
being onstage!! paloma didn't know to secure her drums, and half her 
fury was because they kept moving away from her! no one could hear 
anything or had any idea how to deal with the stage environment or 
equipment. practice they did, with a reeltoreel tape recorder for an 
amp and a bunch of borrowed gear. hearing onstage is an acquired 
skill! what a revelation!!

At 10:14 PM -0600 11/18/08, Annette wrote:

No matter how much the Slits may have 'practiced' before the Roxy 
gigs (the first shows I saw), they sounded as though they had never 
practiced in their lives . . . it was chaos and anarchy, more chaos 
and anarchy than ANY other band at the Roxy . . . and in 1977, chaos 
and anarchy were very good things indeed. One of the main tenets of 
punk: DON'T PRACTICE! JUST PLAY! And some bands stayed pretty close 
to this; oh, they practiced a little but basically many took the 
stage with little more than great music sensibilities, a precise 
understanding of what they were part of, and, playing with unbridled 
passion -- you got punk rock.

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