Living in New York as a transplant from Southern California has some very weird moments. At times it’s hard to describe life in the Big Apple, and vice versa – you know, fun under the sun in L.A. Another issue I have found is trying to describe my favorite bands – no matter where my travels take me – often gets me funny looks.
One of those bands that blew up L.A. in the ‘90s still puts a smile on my face, and since things that veer off the radar for a while eventually come back, that band is ready to conquer all parts of the globe. They are loud, they are unapologetic, they get in your face, and they make the right people very uncomfortable. They are Los Angeles’ own L7.
The band was actually formed in 1985 by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner. Sparks was originally from the South Side of Chicago, but had a calling she could not ignore. Luckily for all of us she found her way to Los Angeles and the rest is history. They were Sub-Pop darlings and took off to infamy in the ‘90s as grunge heroes. Cue the attitude and political fervor and L7 captivated us all.
Their signature album, “Bricks Are Heavy,” was named by Rolling Stone as one of the essential recordings of the ‘90s. What made them the bee’s knees of rock; that’s easy… one word: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Not only did they have international hits, but they also toured with the legends – Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam – when that scene was the shit.
They have been described as consonant rockers with the punk rock attitude and a UFC mentality. Put that all together and it makes for a very entertaining band. Like all good things, everything eventually comes to an end… unless you are L7. Call it a respite, a break to take a breath, but the girls came back with vigor in 2014 and are still killing it. They still have that energy and rage against anything that’s janky or lacking in integrity.
I caught them in the late ‘90s and it was an epic show. What is odd about that was that it was just the band, guitars, bass, and a drum kit – that was it. There was no big video show, no strobe lights, no lasers or anything other than the band and their music. I think that is what makes this band so special; it’s just them and their music and raw energy and it is fantastic!
These rebels have never been afraid of controversy or speaking their mind. If you are a politician who is duchy adjacent, be afraid of these girls. They have recent success with new music, especially if you are being dispatched from Mar-a-Lago. Their core hits are classics: “Wargasm,” “Shitlist,” “Monster,” “Andres,” “Mr. Integrity” and their super-hit, “Pretend We’re Dead.”
What their diehard fans love most about them is they defy the conventional wisdom of smiling and nodding at all times. They do what many wish we could do – give respect only where and when it’s due. With that mindset, this band is electricity come to life. Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner remain the band’s kick-ass guitarist and vocalists, with Jennifer Finch on bass, and Demetra Plakas on drums.
Their music is uncompromising, and their fans responded to it and their message worldwide. No matter how you measure a successful band, L7 has done it all. Not that they care about being measured; they are about truth and good music. Then again, they are a class act, so thy are always grateful for the kind words.
As luck would have it, this fearsome foursome is back in SoCal and they are playing what should be a kick-ass show at the Glass House in Pomona on May 26th. They will perform “Bricks Are Heavy” in its entirety.
It’s also likely to be a sold-out show, so hop on getting your tickets ASAP and get ready to experience rock in the best way possible. You can also catch them later at “Punk Rock Bowling,” “Aftershock” and “Louder Than Life” festivals.