“L7: Pretend We’re Dead” Tells The Story Behind This Badass Feminist Punk Band

by Eleonor Botoman

Photo via L7’s Official Website

Feminist punk-rockers rejoice! The trailer for L7’s highly anticipated documentary is out and it’s just as wild and grungy as we hoped it would be.

Although the trailer, first premiered through Rolling Stone, is just a sneak peek, this new documentary will follow the band throughout their epic 16-year career — from the peak of their fame playing shows like Late Night With David Lettermen to their eventual disbandment in 2001.

Director Sarah Price, known for her other anti-establishment documentary The Yes Men, collected most of the film’s footage from over 100 hours of never-before-seen home videos, mostly filmed by the band members as they toured, along with newly discovered footage from their insane, head-banging concerts. It’s the best kind of look inside the 1990s grunge scene, one that’s raw and candid, with screaming crowds, thrashing guitar solos and stage-diving.

But it’s not always easy. As singer-guitarist Suzi Gardener explains in a clip, “People assume that you’re racking in the cash if you’re on the cover of Spin Magazine. But unless you sell an insane amount of record, you’re just a working stiff at best.” This statement reads more like a prophecy since the band’s last album before their indefinite hiatus, Slap Happy (1999), failed to chart in the U.S. That being said, it’s amazing to see this group of ladies fuck shit up and jam out. “We’re so excited!” They shout together in unison.


Of course, we can’t forget L7’s incredible feminist legacy. Fiercely pro-choice, the band was always loudly vocal about women’s issues and they never stopped fighting, both in their activism and in their lyrics. “They were openly, brazenly feminist and I really responded to that,” says Shirley Manson, the singer of alt-rock band Garbage. Punk rock was not always welcoming to women but L7 barreled into these hurdles with their shameless fearlessness. “They were like with the big boys. They were the big boys,” Valerie Agnew, from 7 Year Bitch, tells the audience.

 JenniferPhoto via L7’s Official Website

This film is jam-packed with interviews from other rockers who performed alongside L7 in the 90’s grunge scene. Some of these notable performers include Krist Novoselic from Nirvana, Louise Post from Veruca Salt, Exene Cervenka from X, and Joan Jett.

L7: Pretend We’re Dead is slated for release this fall, but the documentary’s creation is ultimately credited to the enthusiasm of fans, who encouraged the band to develop the film when they hinted at the possibility back in early 2015.

Scan 2 crop1 1310x1280Photo via L7’s Official Website

Always a wild ride, the ladies of L7 were pioneers in the grunge-punk genre. Their volatile lyrics pushed back against political and social oppression with a kind of brazen humor that made their songs into for anthems for disenfranchised girls everywhere. Along with the release of the documentary, L7 has also announced a reunion tour, with their first series of concerts beginning this week in Australia. You can check out the full list of dates here.

Top photo by Michael Lavine

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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