Ari Up (born Arianna Forster), lead singer of the Slits, passed away yesterday following “a serious illness,” her stepfather John Lydon announced online. She was only 48. One of the most revered female punk bands to emerge in the late Seventies, the Slits had slots opening for the Clash — Joe Strummer taught Ari Up how to play guitar — and Buzzcocks even before releasing their debut album Cut in 1979. The band released their second disc, The Return of the Giant Slits, in 1981, then disbanded.
The Slits reunited in 2006 and released Trapped Animal, their first album in 25 years, in 2009. “We had the privilege over the last couple of years getting to know Ari both professionally and as a friend,” Shahin Ewalt, from the band’s current label, Narnack Records, said. “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.” The label has released a a video for “Lazy Slam,” saying that Ari Up “was insistent that the video be seen and it was her wish to release it posthumously.” Watch it below.