Download Festival 2018: L7


Download Festival

Zippo Encore Stage

Sunday, June 10, 2018


By Eric Mackinnon

L7 band.jpg


The industry pioneers and the catalyst and spark for the entire Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990's are East Midlands-bound and all set to receive a Download Festival stamp in their passports this summer.

L7 are a band with a huge storied past and their rise from the fond memories of an entire rock generation to the festival circuit and to the forefront of a new generation of rock fans is one to warm the hearts of even the coldest, frostiest soul.

L7 are back with the Los Angeles ass-kicking, riff rattling, controversy crusading all girl group dropping their first new song in almost 20-years last September.

'Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago' is a reference to a resort owned by US president Donald Trump in which the band sing about "stormin' the gates" of the resort Trump calls the "Winter White House," leading him to send for urgent assistance.

A follow up single 'I came back to...' was released on February 9, 2018 and L7 are most definitely back.

A date with Lady Download at Donington Park is just rewards for a band who blew across the world's biggest live platforms in the 1990s including Reading, Glastonbury, and Lollapalloza.

The band were no stranger to controversy and are perhaps most famous for fighting mud with blood at the 1992 Reading Festival.

During a set which was peppered with technical difficulties lead vocalist Donita Sparks took offence at the unrest in the crowd by removing her tampon on stage and flinging it at the crowd while shouting 'Eat my used tampon, fuckers!'

The same year she dropped her trousers and pants during a live performance on The Word giving viewers a eye full of bush on UK terrestrial TV.

In their prime L7 were a musical force to be reckoned with. Regulars in the 90's on MTV roation sandwiched between the likes of Nirvana and Guns N' Roses the band were punk rock pioneers and undoubtedly ahead of their time.

While hard rocking girls are now much more common place on the records we love and on the festival circuit L7 were the exception to the rule in the 80s and 90s.

As the tampon incident illustrates they were infamously fearless and one tale of their high jinks – I suspect twinned with some disgust – at Motley Crue's record studio shows they weren't afraid to take the scrap to any band.

The story goes L7 were horrified to find the studio plastered with naked women, wall to wall, they decided to hit back. When Lee later came in to the studio to listen to 'Baggage' the studio was plastered with erect penises, even the spinning tape machines.

L7 were a big deal, a whirlwind, a white hot light which burned out and saw the band go their separate ways.

It was the idea of a documentary on the band which sparked a reunion all involved say was unexpected.

Sparks recalls contacting her old band mates to see if they would take part in the documentary and from there old friendships were rekindled, the musical fire was relit and nobody has looked back.

The documentary which set the ball rolling sparked huge interest online with a massive $130,000 raised on Kickstarter in just a single month. One donation of $3,000 came from one man who said L7 had changed his life as a teenage kid struggling to come out in the Midwest.

His reward for his generosity was to be flown to Hollywood for a séance with the band.

Three and a bit years after reforming the band have dropped two new slices of punk rock music showing they haven't missed a beat in almost two decades.

Now L7 are Donington bound and there is no guarantee they will keep their tampons to themselves. Get ready Download for the original Riot Grrrls.