Out and About
L7 play the Danforth Music Hall July 25 – here’s what co-founder Donita Sparks had to say
Toronto is one of only two Canadian stops on this current L7 North American tour. They’re playing the ‘77 Montreal punk music festival as well on July 27, and then that will be it for these hard rocking ladies who spent the past several months on the road touring South America and Europe as well.
L7’s signature sound of a heavy, catchy, mixture of punk, metal, noise and pop helped usher in the era of Grunge. Founded in Los Angeles in 1985 by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner, their recording career began in 1987, the band has released six studio albums, three live albums, one covers LP, and one greatest hits album. Classic singles include, Shove, Pretend That We’re Dead, and Shitlist. In 2001 the band went on an “indefinite hiatus” according to their website, and after 15 years they reunited in 2015 and toured to sold out shows, which also included a stop in Toronto.
Read on to see what Sparks had to say on touring, new music, staying fit, and the state of the world..
So what can die-hard fans expect on this current tour? Sparks divulged, “On this tour we’re switching up our usual set, playing songs we haven’t played in many years, including B-sides and possibly covers.” Their album, Fast and Frightening, included all the covers they ever recorded.
The current line up features all original members, Donita Sparks (Vocals, Guitar), Suzi Gardner (Vocals, Guitar),Jennifer Finch (Vocals Guitar), and Dee Plakas (Drums, Backing Vocals). The band has also recorded and released two singles, “Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago” in reference to the Trump owned resort, and “I Came Back To Bitch”, in reference to all the shit going on in the world.
“I Came Back To Bitch is about our complete anger and frustration over the world at large and all the massive problems going on. What isn’t there to bitch about? Everything is just so fucked up. We are claiming the word in the way, as it has such a negative connotation. Boys should be bitching too. Males we welcome you to bitch alongside of us. You need allies and comrades, so everyone jump on,” Sparks encourages.
They are also working on completing their first full length album together since 1999, which is anticipated to be released by the end of this year. Sparks comments, “We are writing and very inspired, while having fun at rehearsals and on stage.” Fans attending the show may very well lucky be the first to hear some of these newer unreleased tracks as well.
So how do these lovely ladies keep fit and healthy after so many years in the rock and roll business? We go to the gym a whole lot. We all work out. You kind of have to. Suzy is more aquatic, I’m a gym person and I also sometimes supplement it with Zoomba, and Jennifer does yoga. Diet wise, Sparks admitted, “We have one vegetarian, one meat eater, and a couple pescatarians.” Not divulging which was which.
As for being connected to the riot girl movement, they were actually ahead of that scene, but influenced many other bands who followed in their footsteps. “Riot Girl were bands within a political movement who had rock as their delivery mechanism, and we are a rock band who happened to have some political bent to our lyrics at times. Riot girl started on college campuses, and we were urban dirt bags, punk rockers in Los Angeles, who were working jobs, paying rent, and trying to get a band off the ground,” Sparks explains.
A documentary on the band L7: Pretend We’re Dead was released in 2017, and features exclusive interviews with Exene Cervenka (X), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), Joan Jett, Brody Dalle (The Distillers), Lydia Lunch, Allison Robertson (The Donnas), Louise Post (Veruca Salt), and more. “I gathered all footage and still images, got all the girls involved, and suggested other musicians who cited L7 as being an inspiration to be part of this project,” Sparks mentions.
So who influenced L7? Sparks is quick to rhyme off a few notable names. “Ramones, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, B52s, 60s surf music, and many others. The first time I saw a band and said if they can do it, we can do it, was the Go Go’s,” Sparks admits.
Hey Ho, Let’s Go!
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.