In contrast to the more underground Riot grrrl movement which stood arguably for most things it did not, grunge’s lack of female perspectives was a criticism with which is was rightly often confronted. L7 were one of the few bands to take on some of it’s monogender precepts, an all girl quartet not from the damp North West but Los Angeles who by 1992 already had two albums and a tour with Nirvana under their belts.
In Britain the quartet will be remembered for their performance on late night TV show The Word, during which at the end of Pretend We’re Dead singer Donita Sparks dropped her jeans, a conservative-outraging prank which ranked alongside throwing a used tampon into a barracking crowd at the previous year’s Reading festival.
Whether either act was a case of feminism-as-performance-art or not, the band’s third album Bricks Are Heavy – produced by Nevermind game changer Butch Vig – was a tour-de-force in Gen X rabble rousing, splicing punk, metal and hardcore with a satirical, controlled strain of aggression. Pretend We’re Dead was the the essence of it in one take, a groovy, riff bound kick against the pricks that wasn’t exactly subversion, but stood proudly pissing from inside the tent to out.