They’ve toured downunder three times, leaving a trail of debris in their wake – now, the god-like L7 have just released their first ever live album !! Vicious Kitten chased down guitarist Suzi Gardner recently to get the latest from the L7HQ (interview conducted November, 1998)
Vicious Kitten: Let’s start with the new live album ‘L7 Live – Omaha to Osaka’. Where was it recorded at ?
Suzi Gardner: As the title states, it was recorded in Omaha, Nebraska and Osaka, Japan. However the Overture/Medley performed by the John Marshall High School Marching Band was recorded in Los Angeles
VK: Do you think it captures the energy and mayhem of L7 live and are you satisfied with the finished result ?
SG: Yeah, these recordings capture all… warts and all. These aren’t slick, spruced up recordings with a lot of ‘studio magic’, they are raw and honest. You even get loads of in between song banter, our usually crass commentary. Don’t play this in earshot of your Mom. Really, all you need is a dark room, headphones and a cigarette lighter for the encore! And it comes complete with Frank Kozik’s kick ass artwork
VK: What’s in the immediate pipeline for L7 ? A new studio album early next year ?
SG: Well we had hoped to have a new album out early in the year, but we are in between labels. I imagine we WILL have a full-length album out sometime in 1999. So in the mean time we taking this opportunity to do a few fun things that we’ve always wanted to do. One of those things is releasing a live album. Bootlegging ourselves, as it were. We’ve also been writing and recording new material. We’re planning to release a single on the net as well.
VK: Gail’s been in for a couple of years now (I think we may’ve seen one of her earliest shows in Phoenix, November ’96 w/D-Gen) and not that she didn’t suit Belly, but she looks right at home as one of the ladies of L7….
SG: Gail is an outstanding addition to L7! She claims she was born to be in L7! She really rocks like no other. Gail instantly melded into the group upon her arrival. We are SO fucking pleased
VK: Personally speaking, ‘The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum’ was one of your strongest albums, containing more killer Sparks/Gardner cuts eg ‘Bad Things’, ‘Off The Wagon’, ‘Drama’. Was it annoying the way certain parts of this fickle industry snubbed it, as there were no instant riff-monsters like in the past (‘Pretend We’re Dead’, ‘Andres’) ?
SG: We too think it’s one of our stronger albums. I really don’t think the album was just ‘snubbed by the fickle industry’…I think that we experienced many obstacles in regards to that album. I don’t mean to point any fingers, but let’s just say, “We did our job”. I also think there were plenty of catchy riffy tunes…go figure.
VK: Is Krist Novoselic’s rockumentary on the band near completion ? Was any Australian footage included ?
SG: No sorry, no Aussie footage unfortunately (L7’s Australian fans are rabid and they deserve their 15 minutes too). Krist has shot and directed a wonderful film. He has completed it and is now working out the distribution details. The footage is from shows in the US; it’s very artfully shot. We’re excited about the film, I’m sure our fans will be too, as there is very little video or film available on us. If you’re interested you can check out our website for the latest details, it should be available in a couple of months.
VK: L7’s take of Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘This Ain’t the Summer of Love’ off the ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ soundtrack fucking rocks !! I never knew Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom were an influence ?!
SG: We enjoyed doing that. It was fun putting an L7 twist on that song, but we didn’t hand pick the song, it was music folks from the film. I am probably the only ‘real hard core’ BOC fan in L7, they’re a great band….‘Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll’ one of my favourites. Glad you liked the track.
VK: What is currently happening with Rock For Choice ?
SG: Rock for Choice is still a functioning arm of the Feminist Majority Foundation. It continues to raise money and awareness for a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion.
VK: Any plans to work with Joan Jett again ? I’ve always thought that L7 could belt out a stinging version of a Runaways tune, (other than ‘Cherry Bomb’) – something say off ‘Waitin’ For The Night’ – ie ‘Wasted’ or ‘You’re Too Possessive’ !!
SG: Joan rocks. No, there’s nothing currently in the works. I like her latest hair-do.
VK: I’ve always wanted to know if that 1994 radio interview from Fresno (on the ‘Andres’ single) was for real ? Hearing some of those ignorant zombies who phoned in was both funny and frightening at the same time !
SG: I know, what a bunch of ignoramuses.
VK: The sampling of Yoko Ono on ‘Wargasm’ has always intrigued me. Some of her work is indeed hard listening, but her distinct scream works so well on that song. Is she an influence ? Incidentally I’m confident John Winston would’ve dug the mighty L7 !
SG: Yes, Yoko is very influential.
VK: You’ve toured downunder in ’92, ’95 and earlier this year with The Tea Party ? Any highlights/fond memories ? Have you have a chance to break from touring and see some of our amazing country ?
SG: Touring Australia is always fun for L7. I’ve gotten to do a little sight seeing, but not as much as I would like to have. I’ve visited a couple of animal parks. Once I looked right inside a Kangaroo’s pouch, it was really tame and it let me stick my entire head in there almost. We love to hang out with our friends the Cosmic Psychos. There are many more things in your fair country that I’d love to see. Take me, will ya?
VK: Can Australia expect a fourth visit from L7 in the future or is that just wishful thinking on my part ?
SG: By all means. I personally cannot wait to come back down.
VK: What was the first concert you attended ?
SG: One of my earliest concerts was Alice Cooper
VK: Name your five ‘desert island discs’ ?
SG: If I were stranded on a desert island I would only require one CD. I would not be listening to this per se; I’d be using it to ensure my rescue from said island. I would point it at the sun and flash Morse code at oncoming ships and aircraft.
VK: A message for the Vicious Kitten readers/L7 fans out there…..
SG: Be True To Yourself! And if you need a little dose of L7 before we make it back to Australia go visit our website!
(Archive Source: Vicious Kitten Fanzine Issue 9: Nov 1998)