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Tessa Pollitt

Musician — London

Name, where are you from?
Tessa Pollitt (The Slits), London

Describe your style in three words?
Dark, Moody, Mysterious.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Sun Ra and his Arkestra, because it was an otherworldly experience.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
Sun Ra and his Arkestra! For intergalactic experience.
Burning Spear. Because they are one of the old school genuine, authentic Reggae groups from what I consider the golden years of Reggae and Dub.

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
Jungle, Grime.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Leonora Carrington surrealist artist and writer, because after I discovered her, I realised her drawing style was similar to mine, and another woman written out of the history books, with her unique and individual style, I would like to know what inspired her talent and dedication to her art and writings.

Of all the venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
Holland Park School in the late 1970s, because it was an unusual choice. Ari, our singer, was at school there at the time. Some of the youth had just come out of a cookery lesson, armed with butter and eggs. An egg landed on my chest; I carried on playing the bass regardless. What is worse, being spat at or a raw egg I ask myself! At least I had a sense of humour. It was 5p entrance fee!

Your greatest hero or heroine in music?
Nico from the Velvet Underground, we shared a similar darkness! I met her and hung out with her for a while in the later years.


Tessa Pollitt was the bassist with British punk innovators The Slits in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and along with Ari Up was also a member of the reformed line up in 2005 for their 'Revenge of the Killer Slits' EP. Tessa recently joined Don Letts to DJ at London International Ska Festival's Clash In Dub event.

The first track you played on repeat?
'Ain't No Sunshine' - Michael Jackson

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Life On Mars' - David Bowie

One record you would keep forever?
'Forces Of Viktry' - Linton Kwesi Johnson

A song lyric that has inspired you?
'The Big Wheel Keeps On Turning' - Sung by Horace Andy
'Hymn Of The Big Wheel' - Massive Attack

A song you wished you had written?
'It's A Mans World' - James Brown

Best song to turn up loud?
'Jammys A Shine' - Prince Jammy

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'Nature Boy' - Nat King Cole 

Best song to end an all-nighter?
'Babylon' - Johnny Clarke 

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Protoje feat. Chronixx - 'Who Knows' 
Monkey Marc feat. Sizzla, Capleton, Fanton Mojah and Mister Savona - 'No Surrender'
I am out of touch with latest bands; these are my favourite recent artists, reggae is in my bones, can't escape it!

Name, where are you from?
Tessa Pollitt (The Slits), London

Describe your style in three words?
Dark, Moody, Mysterious.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Sun Ra and his Arkestra, because it was an otherworldly experience.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
Sun Ra and his Arkestra! For intergalactic experience.
Burning Spear. Because they are one of the old school genuine, authentic Reggae groups from what I consider the golden years of Reggae and Dub.

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
Jungle, Grime.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Leonora Carrington surrealist artist and writer, because after I discovered her, I realised her drawing style was similar to mine, and another woman written out of the history books, with her unique and individual style, I would like to know what inspired her talent and dedication to her art and writings.

Of all the venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
Holland Park School in the late 1970s, because it was an unusual choice. Ari, our singer, was at school there at the time. Some of the youth had just come out of a cookery lesson, armed with butter and eggs. An egg landed on my chest; I carried on playing the bass regardless. What is worse, being spat at or a raw egg I ask myself! At least I had a sense of humour. It was 5p entrance fee!

Your greatest hero or heroine in music?
Nico from the Velvet Underground, we shared a similar darkness! I met her and hung out with her for a while in the later years.


Tessa Pollitt was the bassist with British punk innovators The Slits in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and along with Ari Up was also a member of the reformed line up in 2005 for their 'Revenge of the Killer Slits' EP. Tessa recently joined Don Letts to DJ at London International Ska Festival's Clash In Dub event.

The first track you played on repeat?
'Ain't No Sunshine' - Michael Jackson

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Life On Mars' - David Bowie

One record you would keep forever?
'Forces Of Viktry' - Linton Kwesi Johnson

A song lyric that has inspired you?
'The Big Wheel Keeps On Turning' - Sung by Horace Andy
'Hymn Of The Big Wheel' - Massive Attack

A song you wished you had written?
'It's A Mans World' - James Brown

Best song to turn up loud?
'Jammys A Shine' - Prince Jammy

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
'Nature Boy' - Nat King Cole 

Best song to end an all-nighter?
'Babylon' - Johnny Clarke 

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
Protoje feat. Chronixx - 'Who Knows' 
Monkey Marc feat. Sizzla, Capleton, Fanton Mojah and Mister Savona - 'No Surrender'
I am out of touch with latest bands; these are my favourite recent artists, reggae is in my bones, can't escape it!

The Slits - Typical Girls

The Slits - Spend Spend Spend