Honestly, back in the nineties I only really knew L7 from their single ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ and from the song ‘Shitlist,’ which got featured in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. I liked both songs, but never really got round to checking them out. And while watching the band’s tell-all documentary, I get the impression I wasn’t the only one that missed out.
Comprised of Donita Sparks, Jennifer Finch, Suzi Gardner and Dee Plakas, L7 seemed to be headed for the same kind of greatness as a lot of the other bands that came up in the early 90ies. They graced the cover of all the magazines, played Lollapalooza and were backed by a major label. Yet somehow they never quite broke the mainstream and ultimately called it a day after their final album didn’t do much of anything. They did however release some badass albums that I didn’t get round to listening to until years later and heavily inspired the Riot Grrrl movement while they were at it.
Directed by Sarah Price (The Yes Men, Summercamp!), Pretend We’re Dead chronicles the band’s career, from their formation in LA in 1985 through all the tours and six albums up until their break-up in 2001. And it does so with never-before-seen home videos and performance footage and interviews with not just L7, but also Garbage’s Shirley Manson, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, producer Butch Vig, Joan Jett, X’s Exene Cervenka, The Donnas’ Allison Robertson, and Veruca Salt’s Louise Post. Price did an awesome job, combing through countless hours of footage and ending up with an honest documentary that takes you through both the band’s highs and lows.
Not sure if the documentary had anything to do with it, but the band reformed in 2016 and has since played a string of sold out shows and have also released their first new song in 18 years with ‘Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago’. Here’s to hoping they will keep on going!