Here To Be Heard - The Story of The Slits - Movies - Reviews - Soundblab

Here To Be Heard - The Story of The Slits

by Steve Ricciutti Rating: Release Date:
Here To Be Heard - The Story of The Slits
Here To Be Heard - The Story of The Slits

Few bands in the burgeoning years of punk are as infamous as they are mysterious quite like The Slits. Formed like so many bands in the petri dish of musical change that was the mid-seventies, i.e., as a larkish representation of the DIY attitude that was the catalyst for the movement, the band turned heads and created inventive music that was just as explosive and daring as the rest of the more popular bands of that era. Such periods as when a young generation explodes in a frenzy of cultural experimentation and artistic discovery are magical, be they the romance and decadence of Paris in the 1920s, the drug-fueled 1960s of San Francisco, or the nihilism and violence of London in the 1970s. Out of the latter sprang plenty of bands that even the casual rock fan is aware of, yet due perhaps to their short stint in the smoky limelight and the paucity of recorded offerings, The Slits six year initial run was made up of more headlines than record sales. I dare say, even given their provocative namesake, a decent percentage of those who may have heard of them could say with confidence the gender of the original line-ups. That may be about to change.

A film documentary Here To Be Heard – The Story of The Slits, was released to critical acclaim last autumn, and is set for DVD release this month, along with a slate of additional screenings upcoming in the UK. Directed by William E. Badgley (“Kill All Redneck Pricks”), the film includes interviews with scene-sters, band members, and fellow musicians of the time as well as rare footage of the band on stage and off. There’s lots of reminiscing from the band, bassist Tessa Pollitt who kept a scrapbook that is still intact from her time in the band. Handling it with special gloves, it’s a touching bit of historical visitation. No two ways about it, for fans of rock history, this is a must-see film.

Some of the names may ring a bell (Palmolive, Ari, Viv Albertine, and later Budgie), but the real impetus of the band was two-fold. They were on the first wave of the punk-reggae sound, and they were an all-female band in a genre that was, at it’s worst, a boy’s club. In this compelling documentary, one gets not only the fascinating history of the punk scene, but perhaps more importantly, an overview of how far reaching were the ripples from this band’s splash. Recommended viewing.

 

 

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