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L7
Origin Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Grunge, punk rock, alternative metal[1]
Years active 1985–2001
Labels Epitaph Records
Sub Pop
Slash Records
Man's Ruin Records
Website http://l7official.com/
Members
Donita Sparks
Suzi Gardner
Janis Tanaka
Demetra Plakas
Former members
Jennifer Finch
Gail Greenwood
Roy Koutsky

L7 (pronounced [ɛl ˈsɛvən]) was an American rock band from Los Angeles that was active from 1985 to 2000. Due to their sound and image, they are often associated with the grunge movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.[2]

Contents

History

L7 was formed by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner on shared electric guitar and shared vocals. A year previous, Gardner had performed backing vocals on the Black Flag song "Slip It In". The punk rock duo were soon joined by Jennifer Finch on bass guitar and Roy Koutsky on drums. Koutsky left shortly after and Demetra Plakas ("Dee" for short) became their permanent drummer.

The band's name derives from a 1950s slang phrase meaning "square," but is often mistaken for a reference to the sex position, "69". The slang phrase "L7" can be heard in the classic Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs song "Wooly Bully" ("Let's not be L7, come and learn to dance..."), in the Rick James song "Bustin' Out" ("L7- just a little too damn straight..."), and in the Paul McCartney song "C Moon" ("I could be L7 and I'll never get to heaven if I fill my head with glue").

In 1991, the band formed Rock for Choice, a Pro-Choice women's rights group which was supported by other prominent bands of that era, including Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and Rage Against the Machine. Rock for Choice still exists and organizes concerts today.

Their 1992 third album Bricks Are Heavy, produced by Butch Vig, was featured in Rolling Stone's May 1999 list of 'Essential recordings of the 1990s', and is widely considered their classic.[3]

L7's fourth album, Hungry for Stink, was released in the summer of 1994 during their Lollapalooza tour, where they shared the stage with The Smashing Pumpkins and The Breeders, among others.

Jennifer Finch left the band during the recording of their next album, so Sparks and Greta Brinkman played bass on their fifth album The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum, after which Gail Greenwood, (formerly of the band Belly) became the bassist.[4]

The band's most recent album, Slap-Happy, was released in 1999 and did not chart on either side of the Atlantic. To promote the record, on July 17, 1999, a plane flew over the crowd at the Lilith Fair at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., with a banner that read, "Bored? Tired? Try L7." The following day, a second airplane flew over the crowd at the Warped Tour at the Stone Pony lot in Asbury Park, N.J. This banner declared, "Warped needs more beaver...love, L7." [5] Greenwood later left the band and was replaced by Janis Tanaka, formerly of the San Francisco band, Stone Fox. (Janis would later go on to play bass for the singer Pink. Gail Greenwood would later play with the singer Bif Naked.)

However, by 2001 the band was no longer touring. According to the band's website, "L7 are on an indefinite hiatus. We know that's vague, but that's just the way it is. The future of the band is a bit up in the air at the moment." L7 appears to be defunct for all practical purposes, as Donita Sparks is currently pursuing her own solo career, along with drummer Dee Plakas and two other guitarists in the band Donita Sparks and The Stellar Moments. Jennifer Finch is working in a punk-rock group called The Shocker.[6]

Other appearances

The band made an appearance in the 1993 film Point of No Return starring Bridget Fonda, and an appearance in 1994's John Waters film Serial Mom under the name "Camel Lips", a reference to the visual imprint of a woman's vulva in the crotch of tight jeans, also known as a cameltoe. Their songs have also been featured on at least twenty compilation albums throughout their career; most notably the song "Shitlist" appears on the soundtracks of the movies Natural Born Killers & Pet Sematary II. The Prodigy covered the Hungry for Stink track "Fuel My Fire" on their 1997 album "Fat of the Land". "Shirley" appears on the "Foxfire" soundtrack. "Shove" appears on the soundrack of the movie Tank Girl, and "Pretend We're Dead" appears on the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and can be heard on an in-game radio station and on the music video game Rock Band 2. The band was also the subject of a concert film made by former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic and a rockumentary Not Bad for a Girl.[7] Jenn and Dee performed several times with hide, in 1994. The Band, with Jennifer Finch on bass, appeared in the 1999 cult video Decoupage: Return of the Goddess, performing a re-make of the Sonny and Cher song Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) with actress Karen Black, and being interviewed individually by Decoupage hostess Summer Caprice.[8]

Controversy

The band gained a certain amount of notoriety for their performance at the 1992 Reading Festival, when Donita Sparks removed her used tampon on-stage and threw it into the crowd yelling "Eat my used tampon, fuckers!" in protest against the mud being thrown by the crowd.[9]

Band members

Final members

Past members

Discography

Albums

Year Title Label Notes
1988 L7 Epitaph Records Debut album
1990 Smell the Magic Sub Pop Reissued in 1991 with three extra songs
1992 Bricks Are Heavy Slash Records Reached #1 on Billboard Heatseekers
1994 Hungry for Stink Slash Records Reached #2 on Billboard Heatseekers; #26 on UK Albums Chart
1997 The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum Slash Records First album without bassist Jennifer Finch; Reached #12 on Billboard Heatseekers
1998 Live: Omaha to Osaka Man's Ruin Records Live album
1999 Slap-Happy Wax Tadpole Records Final studio album
2000 The Slash Years Slash Records Compilation of popular songs from 1992-1997

Singles and EPs

Year Title From album
1990 "Shove" Smell the Magic
1992 "Pretend We're Dead" Bricks Are Heavy
1992 "Everglade" Bricks Are Heavy
1992 "Monster" Bricks Are Heavy
1994 "Andres" Hungry for Stink
1997 "Drama" The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum
1997 "Off the Wagon" The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum
1999 "Freeway" Slap-Happy
1999 "Mantra Down" Slap-Happy

Videos

  • 1991 - "Fast and Frightening"
  • 1992 - "Pretend We're Dead"
  • 1992 - "Everglade"
  • 1992 - "Monster"
  • 1994 - "Andres"
  • 1994 - "Stuck Here Again"
  • 1999 - The Beauty Process - documentary about the band by Krist Novoselic

Compilation appearances

  • The Melting Plot – "Yummy Yummy" (1988)
  • Tantrum – "Bite The Wax Tadpole" (1988)
  • Radio Tokyo Tapes – "Sweet Sex" (1989)
  • Gabba Gabba Hey: A Tribute to the Ramones – "Suzy is a Headbanger" (1989)
  • The Big One/City of L.A. – "American Society" (1990)
  • Every Band Has A Shonen Knife Who Loves Them – "Bags" (1990)
  • Teriyaki Asthma – "Bloodstains" (1990)
  • International Pop Underground – "Packin' A Rod" (1991)
  • Virus 100: Dead Kennedy Covers – "Let's Lynch the Landlord" (1992)
  • Pet Sematary II - "Shitlist" (1992)
  • Alternative NRG – "Shitlist" (1994)
  • Natural Born Killers Soundtrack – "Shitlist" (1994)
  • The Grunge Years – "Shove" (1994)
  • Serial Mom Soundtrack – "Gas Chamber" (1994)
  • Tank Girl Soundtrack – "Shove" (1995)
  • Spirit of '73: Rock For Choice – "Cherry Bomb" w/Joan Jett (1995)
  • The Jerky Boys Soundtrack – "Hanging on the Telephone" (1995)
  • Foxfire Soundtrack - "Shirley" (1996)
  • Twisted Willie – "Three Days" w/Waylon Jennings (1996)
  • A Small Circle of Friends – "Lion's Share" (1996)
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer – "This Ain't The Summer of Love" (Blue Öyster Cult Cover) (1997)
  • Free the West Memphis 3 – "Boys in Black" (2000)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Official Soundtrack Boxset – "Pretend We're Dead" (2004)

References

External links








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