L7 are thrashing into spring with new tour dates and a raucous single, "I Came Back To Bitch." Produced by Billy Bush, the menacing track is the second original by the newly-reunited head-bangers after "Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago" was released in September, marking the band's first original material in 18 years.
The coarse production on "I Came Back To Bitch" hearkens back to L7's similarly raw 1988 debut. Here, Donita Sparks seethes with a pointed rage she couldn't have possessed thirty years ago. "You're not a rock star/ But you're lookin' at one, but you're looking at one," she sing-speaks bitterly. The sentiment, Sparks tells Rolling Stone, comes from observing fat cats on Wall Street "high fiving each other, calling each other rock stars … But they're not contributing anything to society. That pisses us off."
The accompanying music video, directed by Joel Fernando and shot primarily in backyard of his east Los Angeles home, cuts between shots of a mannequin with a "We Buy Gold" sign and grainy, slip-shod shots of the band shredding in a backyard with signs saying "We Buy Cool" and "We Buy Love."
"I'm not impressed by money; I'm impressed by accomplishments," Sparks says from her Los Angeles home. "Plenty of douche bags have money. Who gives a fuck?"
Sparks says she wrote "I Came Back to Bitch" and other songs in the last four months following "Dispatch." "It was like stepping back in the suit, writing in that voice – feisty yet humorous," Sparks says. On the song, Sparks' low sneer is a foil to rhythm guitarist-singer Suzi Gardner's wispy echo. "Bitch" is also the first time the Sparks and Gardners' guitars drop out completely on a recording – highlighting the dangerous combination of bassist Jennifer Finch and drummer Dee Plakas – which also gives the song an eerie, deranged tone.
"Stop trying to make it about something specific," Sparks says with a kind of restrained vitriol when asked if the song was written in response to anything in particular. "It's universal. It's about greedy fucks throwing the word 'rock star' around because someone made a huge profit on somebody else's back … Do not degrade the word 'rock star.' That's what I find grotesque. Creative people, caregivers, civil servants – those are the people who are contributing to society … Capitalist motherfuckers are just making money off of polluting things and ruining neighborhoods.
"Everything is going to shit. Don't latch this onto anything trending, because it's not about that," Sparks says. "Some folkies grab an acoustic guitar. We have a different approach. We are here to bitch ... because we're real."
What's most impressive about L7's realness is that their more recent successes are self-made. They've released two new songs with no label support. The music video, Sparks adds, was completely DIY and self-funded. When L7 set out on the road, it's on their own time and dime – and tour bus. ("I have no tolerance for long van drives anymore, we're too old to fucking rough it," Sparks says with a slight laugh).
Last month, L7's crowdfunded documentary L7: Pretend We're Dead was nominated for a VO5 NME Award for Best Music Film alongside Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston and George Michael.
L7 Tour Dates
4/11: Boston, MA @ Paradise
4/13: : Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
4/15: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
4/16: Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Club
4/18: Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
4/19: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue