At the height of the Northwest music explosion of the early 90s, L7 were among many bands branded with the ubiquitous tag of “grunge”. They weren’t from Seattle, but they had just enough distortion on their guitars to be regarded as such.
This put them in a unique situation, as they were really the only all-female band to be inducted into that exclusive boys club. Whether they liked it or not, they were pioneers and they were trailblazers. They didn’t then, and they don’t now, get enough credit for this.
And they earned the respect of all by kicking ass. They didn’t rock pretty good “for girls”. They just rocked, period. They toured with the likes of The Melvins, Nirvana and Faith No More and gave them all a run for their money each and every night.
So when the band dissolved in 2001, it felt like the end of an era. Some members went on to other bands - Donita Sparks began a solo career and Jennifer Finch went on to form The Shocker and other members went back to school and stayed out of the spotlight all together.
So when it was announced in 2014 that the band was reuniting for some tour dates things looked promising, but as any seasoned veteran fan knows, these reunions can be fleeting and bands can just as easily disappear back into the ether from whence they emerged.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case for Donita Sparks, Jennifer Finch, Suzy Gardner and Demetra (Dee) Plakas. And here we stand. 20 years after their last release with a new slab of sweetness, Scatter the Rats - out on Blackheart Records, the label of none other than Joan Jett.
It becomes pretty evident halfway through the first track and lead single “Burn Baby”, that everything that not a single ounce of what made L7 great has diminished over the years. Finch still gives us that crunchy groove on every track thereafter right through to the title track ending the album. Tunes like “Garbage Truck”, “Stadium West” and “Ouija Board Lies” are bound to become new classics on tour and are going to sound right at home amidst crowd favorites like Fast and Frightening and Andres.
Many live memories of mine have faded, but one thing this grizzled gig-geek will always remember is just how fun every L7 show was, and with a new US tour beginning next month, it is my sworn-duty to advise you that this is not a tour to be missed, disregarded or otherwise ignored.