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MVD Visual
27 October 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 1/2 /10

L7 forever railed against being referred to as an all-girl band, and rightly so: they were – and remain – a great rock and roll band. For the record, they rocked harder and more fiercely than just about anyone in the grunge-era of their heyday, male or female.

Pretend We’re Dead charts the rise and crash down to earth of the band through four startlingly in-your-face albums that still stand up as fresh as the day they were released.

The demise of the band was partially predicated by a music industry that chewed them up and gave little back – perenially broke, even whilst playing huge shows, with drug use rife amongst them all at various times, and the sexism of the industry and media all weighed heavily upon them until it broke their spirit completely.

Sure they made feminist statements – statements which foresaw a more enlightened time, but many of which are still relevant to ongoing issues – but they weren’t overtly feminist. “They weren’t afraid to be ugly,” one talking head states, and it’s a good point: they never sold the band based on their gender or looks. Donita Sparks insists at one point, “our fans couldn’t give a shit if we’re women – we did not set out to be an all girl band, it just happened that way.”

Ultimately they did reform and are back doing what they love – healthier, nowadays, and if the ‘all-girl’ thing still follows them, just like the tampon-throwing, raffling your drummer for sex, live TV pants-dropping stories follow them like a bad smell, maybe that is more the problem of the media who won’t let go of bad behaviour in women as quickly as they would if men did similar things, rather than the problem of these fiercely uncompromising purveyors of awesome rock n’ roll such as Pretend We’re Dead, Fast And Frightening, Shit List and much more.

Extras include LOADS of home movies, and the Krist Novoselic-directed 1997 documentary The Beauty Process, and the only reason this fascinating doco didn’t get a full 10/10 rating is because it gives us no insight into what the band members did after L7 broke up, and glosses over their reformation.


Filed Under: Movie & Theatre Reviews

About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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