L7 Biography

Guitarist/vocalists Donita Sparks (8 April 1963, Chicago, Illinois, USA) and Suzi Gardner (b. 1 August 1960, Sacramento, California, USA) formed L7 in 1985, linking with Jennifer Finch (b. 5 August 1966, Los Angeles, California, USA; bass/vocals, ex-Sugar Baby Doll) and trying several drummers, finally finding Demetra ‘Dee’ Plakas (b. 9 November 1960, Chicago, Illinois, USA) after domestic touring to promote L7, supporting Bad Religion (drummer on their debut album was Roy Koutsky). The band’s raw punk-metal caught the interest of Sub Pop Records, who released Smell The Magic, a raucous, grunge-flavoured blast that further enhanced the band’s growing underground reputation. Bricks Are Heavy brought major success, with the surprisingly poppy ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ becoming a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Subsequently, the band became darlings of the music press with their multicoloured hair and shock-tactic humour. In the UK at 1992’s Reading Festival, Sparks retaliated against missile throwers by removing her tampon on stage and throwing it into the crowd. She later dropped her shorts during a live television performance on The Word.

However, the band’s serious side led them to form Rock For Choice, a pro-abortion women’s rights organization that has gathered supporters from Pearl Jam to Corrosion Of Conformity for fund-raising concerts. L7 went on to appear as a band named Camel Lips in a John Waters movie, Serial Mom, before Hungry For Stink picked up where Bricks Are Heavy left off, blending serious and humorous lyrics against a still-thunderous musical backdrop. Jennifer Finch departed in the summer of 1996 to form Lyme and then Other Star People. Her replacement was Gail Greenwood (b. 3 October 1960, USA) from Belly, who joined following the release of 1997’s The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum. The Beauty Process, a tour film directed by Krist Novoselic, was shot in late 1998. Greenwood left the band shortly afterwards. The remaining members returned to their indie roots for the following year’s Slap-Happy, released on their own Wax Tadpole label and distributed by Bongload Records.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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