The Slits: College radio standoff between ‘a coven of witches and a mob of townspeople,’ 1980
12:35 pm
The Slits: College radio standoff between ‘a coven of witches and a mob of townspeople,’ 1980


Disc jockey: “What do you think about President Reagan.”


“Oh boring.”



“I can’t deal with that.”

“He’s full of shit.”

The Slits had driven to college radio station WORT-FM in Madison, Wisconsin directly after a gig in Chicago and were exhausted and obviously rather testy when they arrived. They immediately set about destroying the show and hilariously insulting most of the male listeners. They were slightly nicer to the female callers, even offering to put one of them on the guest list.

This lengendary recording came in various forms, as a promo record, bundled with The Return of The Giant Slits LP or on the cassette release of that album. It’s also on the 2008 CD release of The Return of The Giant Slits.

Waxidermy had this to say:

Resembling some sort of mythical, technologically-mediated encounter between a coven of witches and a mob of townspeople (most of them men), this “interview” is hilarious, profound, and scary all at the same time.

That’s a pretty good summation of what actually transpires on the recording. This is one of the most punk rock things, EVER. If it sounds like it might be your cup of tea, hit play, it probably is. While not technically NSFW, your office mates will think that you’re absolutely batshit insane.


And speaking, as we are, of The Return of The Giant Slits, every rock snob worth their salt knows the first Slits album Cut—as everyone who considers themselves musically literate should—but hardly anyone knows their second record. They’d grown considerably as musicians between their first album and the second. I’m not necessarily saying that I think The Return of The Giant Slits is the superior record, but it’s the one that I tend to pull out. Whereas the era-defining Cut is choppy and sloppy, their sophomore effort is bassier, dubbier, even jazzier, certainly much more precise, and with a far wider complement of instrumentation. It should be easily ranked as one of the most radical musical experiences of the entire post punk era. Hands down.

I’m nuts about the lead off track (and the album’s single) “Earthbeat,” but until about an hour ago, I had never seen this video and had no idea it even existed. I’m a massive Slits head. When I was a teen, I had a near life-sized cardboard cutout in-store standup display of them covered in mud in my room. I was fucking thrilled to see this. I hope you will be, too. Note a young Neneh Cherry’s participation:

In this live clip, The Slits perform an epic, nearly nine-minute-long Euro-rasta romp all over “Man Next Door”—a reggae classic associated with both John Holt (who wrote it) and the “Crown Prince of Reggae” Dennis Brown (who covered it). They’re augmented here by Steve Beresford on sound effects, Bruce Smith (The Pop Group, PiL) on drums and Neneh Cherry on backing vocals (and some super great dance moves) at the Tempodrom in Berlin on June 19,1981. Turn this up LOUD and wish you had been there

Posted by Richard Metzger
12:35 pm



comments powered by Disqus