L7 – Across The Ocean


L7! Yes the rumour is true and a Facebook post in 2014 confirmed that the line up featuring Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, Jennifer Finch and Demetra Plakas are reuniting for a tour taking them to all corners all the globe. It’s exciting times as Donita Sparks explains to Across The Ocean.


It feels so long since L7 were last in the country doesn’t it?

It was, twenty one years since we were there which is cray cray as we say here in the States! Cray cray for crazy!

Are you enjoying being back together and touring as much now as you did way back when?

We are, I think we are loving it even more now because we’re very much appreciating it and how we’re getting to do this weird victory lap which was completely unexpected and not planned for or contrived, it sort of just happened and we’re so like wow this is a blast. This is a trip, I thought we were forgotten about.

Forgotten about?

Yeah, sometimes people forget about you then someone reminds them and then they’re like fuck yes! That’s right, yes The Pixies were amazing or it The Stooges or The Sex Pistols. These are exciting bands that are reuniting and of course everyone loved all those bands all of time. I think we’re super lucky we get to do this.

Did you always think that a reunion would always happen at some point?

No, I had no interest in doing a reunion, I don’t like reunions very much except for the bands I just cited. There are so many reunions that just happen it’s like whatever but I really didn’t think we would be doing one. Then it was proposed to me by a booking agent in the States and I was watching what was going on in social media. I ran it by everyone to see if they are interested because if we were to ever do it we should do it now because we will be too old to do it later. Everyone was in!

Over the journey can you believe how much things have changed?

This social media stuff takes up a lot of fucking time, however I’m glad that the content is coming from us as opposed to having to depend on magazines you know what I mean. If you don’t get a review somewhere who cares, you can put it on your own Facebook page. It’s work to do it but if you have the numbers you’re not as dependent on the press even though we very much appreciate the press, we’re not dependent on the press which is very liberating. If this were thirty years when we were starting out we couldn’t say that because we didn’t have the fan base because the press helped to build us. It is just different coming at it from a reunion point of view with the social media at our finger tips.

What about new music, is that problematic given the current climate in terms of how people consume music?

We’re not a label and haven’t been on a label for many, many years. There are many things about making a new record that are daunting particularly the cost of it where I would want it to be on a label because doing it on your own is very difficult. We’d done that, it was our last album and our distributor went bankrupt and essentially we were fucked. The whole creative part and getting together to start writing it is a lot of pressure to. We are so enjoying what we are doing now just playing the songs people want to hear is a lot of fun as opposed to pressure. Right now, we’re getting to know each other again and we haven’t been friends in twenty years. Everyone is just being cool with everybody so I don’t want to rock the boat with any shit anyway.

Do you feel like pinching yourself when you look at how well it has gone?

There was such demand for a reunion before we even discussed it and once we hinted at it the press picked it up around the world just from one Facebook post. All we were doing was asking our fans that do they really want this to happen. There is a big difference between liking something and actually going up to the gig. We needed to get some sort of pulse as to whether this is for real and whether people would get off the couch and come down to a show or just saying you’re going to. They came through for us! They’re coming off the couch and getting to the show, they’re leaving their computers and coming to a real rock show which is fantastic.

Are you noticing a new generation of fans coming to the shows?

Yeah! I think older fans are really digging seeing the younger fans. I think some of the older fans are really glad that we are being appreciated by a younger generation and not just disappear and fade in to the sunset, that it lives on. I get a huge kick out of it seeing young and old fans yelling out for Shitlist and everyone has a smile on their face. It is pretty fucking wild and there are kids in the audience who weren’t even born when we were around.

Has there been pressure to re-release albums given how hard they are to get now?

Here in the States it is to, I’m surprised that more of our labels didn’t want to re-release stuff. There is so much on our plate and we are doing this all on our own, our manager is great but we’re not part of this great agency. I did all the phone calls asking about this reunion, most bands who reunite have a manager who does that but I did. We thought the label might do that but they haven’t so some people are liking our records and have put out the vinyl of Bricks Are Heavy and a guy in England has put out some live shows at Easy Action Records. I don’t know, you’re just going to have to go to Pirate Bay. I don’t where these kids are finding our shit! We don’t have the bread to put up for licensing a vinyl and distributing it, we’re not flowing with cash. Hopefully someone will read this and say hey I want to put out your record in Australia. We were on four labels as well and it wasn’t like we had one home. Getting that together is a pain in the ass too.

You must be over the moon for the Kickstarter campaign for the documentary?

Yeah, that was another thing that producers wanted to do and they needed money to complete the film. It was a little bit scary for us because we could have egg on our face after this if it doesn’t do well. I didn’t want the band to suffer an embarrassment over a Kickstarter campaign but the back it was so well received was great. We contributed a lot to the pledge support level, having a fans séance, signing stuff and it was good to see that it went over the asking amount.

What can the Aussie fans expect on this tour and is it a tough job narrowing it down to ninety minutes or so?

There are some songs that I personally love that we are not playing but they weren’t as popular as the songs that we are playing. There’s a couple of songs off of our last album Slap-Happy and a couple off the album before that The Beauty Process I’d love to have in the set but we can’t take up that time and not play some of the other songs. We’re just going off some of the more popular songs and we have a few that aren’t off our biggest records but are still known songs. I’m looking forward to meeting some friends over there, we’re friends with the Cosmic Psychos and I’m looking forward  to seeing some wild life and the Great Barrier Reef after the tour. All you guys are crazy down there, crazy rock people and Australian rock audiences are amazing so that will be a blast. There are certain pockets of the world that love rock ‘n roll and Australia is one of them more so than the States.

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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