Palmolive (musician)

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Birth namePaloma Romero
Also known asPaloma McLardy
Born (1954-12-26) 26 December 1954 (age 63)
Melilla, Spain[1]
GenresPunk rock, post-punk, Christian rock
Years active1976–1979
LabelsRough Trade
Associated actsThe Slits, The Raincoats, The Flowers of Romance, Spizzenergi, Hi-Fi

Paloma McLardy (née Romero, born 3 January 1955), better known as Palmolive, is a Spanish-born drummer and songwriter who was the original drummer for influential punk groups the Slits and the Raincoats.[2]

Early life and punk rock career[edit]

Romero was born in Melilla, Spain into a family of nine children and shared a room in their family's apartment in Málaga with her four sisters.[2] She attended Catholic school, but by age 13 had grown bored and begun to challenge authority. She moved to Madrid and found that she was still unhappy with life in Spain. In 1972 Romero moved to London, England. In West London she lived in squats with different groups of hippies.

While living in London, Romero moved into a flat with her boyfriend John Graham Mellor (then nicknamed "Woody") whom she dated for two years. At this time punk was exploding in London, Mellor had just joined the Clash and changed his name to Joe Strummer.[3] When Romero met Clash bassist Paul Simonon, he asked what her name was. Unable to easily pronounce "Paloma", Simonon wise-cracked, "Palmolive?" Finding this amusing, Romero decided to adopt Palmolive as her stage name.[4]

Strummer introduced Palmolive to future Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious with whom she played in the band the Flowers of Romance alongside future Slits guitarist Viv Albertine.[5] After attending a Patti Smith concert, Palmolive met 14-year-old Ari Up and invited her to form an all-female punk band, which they dubbed the Slits.[6] Early on the Slits gained attention through their brash, raw and wild antics, often playing gigs with the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks, Subway Sect and other groups from London's early punk scene.[7] During her time in the band, Palmolive co-wrote several of the Slits' songs, including "Shoplifting", "Number One Enemy", "New Town", "FM" and "Adventures Close to Home", some of which were recorded for the Slits' 1977 Peel Sessions with Palmolive playing drums. By 1978, tensions with other band members and their manager, Malcolm McLaren, led to Palmolive's departure, and though many of her songs appear on the group's 1979 debut LP, Palmolive had already moved on.

After filling in on drums for the pre-Spizzenergi duo Spizzoil, Palmolive joined another female punk band, the Raincoats, in 1979, with whom she recorded one single and an album for Rough Trade Records. The band toured the UK with Swiss label-mates Kleenex before Palmolive left the Raincoats, six months after joining.

Post-punk life[edit]

After leaving the Raincoats, Romero looked at changing her life around and spent the next six months on a spiritual pilgrimage in India. During this time she met and married her husband Dave McLardy. In 1981 Romero gave birth to her first child, Sandy, after moving back to Spain. Returning to England and feeling unhappy with life in general, Romero became a born-again Christian. In 1989 the family relocated to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the United States where they continued to raise their three children. As of 1995, Paloma and her husband led a cover band called Hi-Fi, rewriting key lyrics to reflect their Christian beliefs. Included in their repertoire is the Slits' song "FM", with the chorus' lyrics changed from "Frequent Mutilation / Transmits over the air" to "Jesus is the answer / Why don't you let him in?".[8] On 13 December 2011, Palmolive appeared on the RTVE's television programme Españoles por el mundo in an episode focused on Spaniards living in Boston, Massachusetts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "La reina malagueña del punk". 15 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Gallix, Andrew (2005). "Untypical Girl". 3:AM Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  3. ^ Berger, Melody (February 2014). "The Pilgrimage of Palmolive". Tom Tom Magazine (Religion/Spirituality Issue). Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  4. ^ Appelstein, Mike. "Interview: Reborn drummer girl speaks about her past antics, present happiness and future plans". Nstop. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  5. ^ Reddington, Helen (2012). The Lost Women of Rock Music: Female Musicians of the Punk Era. Ashgate/Equinox Publishing. ISBN 978-1845539573. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  6. ^ Hall, Rock. "Women Who Rock: 10 Essential Punk Songs". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  7. ^ Raha, Maria (2004). Cinderella's Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Undergrount. Seal Press. ISBN 9781580051163.
  8. ^ Appelstein, Mike (June 1995). "Paloma now and then". Caught in Flux #4. Retrieved 2008-01-21.

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