L7: “Pretend That We’re Dead” Documentary


Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker, Sarah Price (American Movie, The Yes Men, Summercamp), L7: Pretend We’re Dead takes us on an all-access journey into the 1990’s grunge movement that took the world by storm, and the band that helped define it as the genre of a generation.

Culled from over 100 hours of vintage home movies taken by the band, never-before-seen performance footage, and candid interviews, L7: Pretend We’re Dead is an engrossing time capsule told from the perspective of L7, these true insiders who brought their signature blend of grunge punk to the masses!

Chronicling the early days of the band’s formation in 1985 to their height as the ‘queens of grunge,’ the film takes a roller coaster ride through L7’s triumphs and failures, providing never-before-discussed insight into the band’s eventual dissolution in 2001.

L7: Pretend We’re Dead has unwittingly become the catalyst for a recently announced reunion of the band, becoming perhaps the silver lining in this rags-to-never-quite-riches story.

The Story

Formed by Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner-guitars/vocals, the band completed their lineup with the addition of Jennifer Finch on bass/vocals and Dee Plakas on drums.

To highlight the fact that L7 was an all-female group, however, was to miss the point. “Our fans couldn’t give a shit if we’re women,” Sparks says. “We did not set out to be an all-girl band. It just happened that way.”

No matter, the formula— one part Donita’s love of pop and punk, one part Suzi’s hard rock and blues, and charged lyrics that had political bite and humor— proved enough for the disenfranchised, the marginalized…the punk.

“I like their rebelliousness,” said Joey Ramone, “it’s about being liberated and calling the shots… I definitely see a lot of us in them and we’re proud of that.”

“We’re livin’ large in our own little way. We’re livin large and we don’t get paid” -Livin Large, Slap Happy (1999)

That the “gender issue” would return time and again for the band becomes a recurring theme in L7: Pretend We’re Dead: from shock jocks refusing to play “chick rock” to academics accusing the band of “incorrectly” embracing their feminism to members of the press implying the band was merely riding a wave of “grrl power” trendiness.

L7: Pretend We’re Dead shows the thread of influence the band had not only on rock and roll but on future generations of women everywhere and is, at the end, a testament to the pioneering spirit of a band that refuses to take anything lying down.

“They can’t hear a word we said, when we pretend that we’re dead”

Pretend We’re Dead, Bricks Are Heavy (1992)

More info at the Kickstarter website

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