We had the absolute pleasure of catching up with Jennifer Precious Finch and Donita Sparks before they took to the stage at Donnigton's legendary Download festival in the UK.
Sam: So, you have literally just arrived today how are you finding it, when was the last time you came back to the UK?
Jennifer: L7 was last in the UK what 2000?
Sam: So it's been a little while
Donita: Yes it's been a while
Sam: What do you think of the music scene then and now, when you were first performing downloading wasn't a thing … do you think it's now better or worse now there is easy access for your fans globally but it's also this throw away fickle culture?
Donita: Well, I think that we have the benefit of older fans who actually still buy cd's and you know what's so great is that people have a way to discover us like that *clicks*. So if somebody turns them on to us they can go down the rabbit hole and check out YouTube and all that stuff that older fans have been posting for the last ten years.
Jennifer: How old are you 26?
Sam: Ha ha I'm 36 and literally listened to you guys throughout my childhood!
Sam: You basically got lumped in with the whole girl band thing and grunge label and all of that and you were totally integral to that scene as it exploded, do you really feel that there has been anything like that since? The whole scene was taking off and so many women were doing great things at that time ...
Jennifer: I do, but not in music, in technology and software specifically like open sourcing and gaming that's really where there is a community that is growing.
Sam: Is there anything that is really exciting you at the moment and getting your creative juices flowing?
Jennifer: Talking to you!
Donita: Talking to you baby! Yeah, I would say that I'm learning Intagram now they have the filters that are blowing my mind! So, Jennifer was like “there's this filter, you're going to love this filter”
Jennifer: Donita's so awesome because it's like being with someone who's still really excited about this stuff …
Donita: It's like oh my god …
Jennifer: She's like “oh my god the chrome filter” and look at what I can do ...
Sam: It's like friends of mine who've just gone from brick phones to touch screens ...
Donita: Yes! it's like I thought Preview was off the chain, Instagram is like a whole other dimension!
Jennifer: We're getting her a Vine account now
Donita: oh don't even, don't even blow my mind!
Sam: So you guys are back out there, all your shows are selling out the tour is constantly expanding, are you really excited about this, have you got anything new coming up, or are you just kinda seeing how it goes?
Jennifer: We've been just 9 days into this reunion, and seriously we're just getting to know each other again and where we're at, you know, seeing what's changed ...
Donita: I approached everybody to see if there was any interest in a reunion, I didn't want to say like “okay, we're going to do an album then we're going to do a tour” and then it was just like “do you think we could learn Shitlist again?” do you think we can all we play it again well?
Sam: So when you had that first practice were you like “yes, we know it”?
Donita: You know what, we were all kind of prepared for our first rehersal, it was really fun and we laughed a lot, and it sounded kinda good.
Sam: That's fantastic, so had you kept in contact with everyone in the band?
Donita: We had not been in contact so it was kind of cool to be in contact again and we laughed immediately and the vernacular clicked in immediately.
Sam: So obviously you are re-visiting old songs, was it a pretty organic thing, are there songs that you feel like you have to play and ones that you never want to do again?
Jennifer: That's such a good question!
Donita: Yeah we must do some songs but we're also doing a song that we never did live before even back in the day and that's “One More Thing” from Bricks Are Heavy and that's a song Jennifer sings .. it's going over very well and it kicks ass!
Sam: It's almost like re-discovering things that maybe people didn't quite get before...
Donita: Yeah, it's cool and it's a crowd pleaser.
Jennifer: It's also interesting about muscle memory and stuff because we don't always play it exactly as the record and it is an organic free-form thing. I'll be in the middle of a huge festival infront of thousands of people and I'll be like “oh, that bass run” that I hadn't really thought about before and your body just does it.
Donita: which is particularly challenging when Jennifer goes into the crowd.
Jennifer: Right, I get torn because I really miss the groping of the crowd!
Donita: Be careful what you wish for!
Jennifer: They don't grope like they used to …
Sam: You might be surprised if you get in there today
Donita: Not in this crowd … well we'll see
Sam: Do you have any other things you are passionate about? Anything creative, as I know Jennifer has photography and you've championed Rock For Choice … any other passions?
Donita: I play drums in a band called The Lou Man Group,
Jennifer: And they're amazing
Donita: We play Lou Reed covers in blue face.
Jennifer: Not that this represents L7, but I do a lot of volunteer work with addiction recovery and mental illness charities.
Donita: Dee does animal rescue and Suzie's in documentary film, Jennifer does web design and photography.
Jennifer: Donita's a writer as well.
Donita: And I'm a cat lady, a dedicated cat lady.
Sam: Me too, I'm told I'm not allowed to get any more.
Sam: What do you think of the representation of women and rock and punk … today here at this festival it's not too bad, I'm not sure of the percentages and some of it is not entirely my thing but women are still getting up there and doing it … do you think it has changed at all?
Donita: I think there's a lot me women making music now, but they're not making that big of a deal out of it.
Sam: You were lumped in with that whole thing just because you were female
Jennifer: I mean look at who's headlining these festivals, these are bands that are from 20 / 25 years ago so obviously the representation isn't there, but certainly there is a movement coming up so it'll just kick in 20 years from now.
Sam: Yeah, and hopefully they will inspire the new lot. Well that's pretty much it, thank you so much for chatting to us.
Donita: Nice job
Sam: thanks again, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you and we're looking forward to your set later!
So we bounded over to the Encore stage to catch L7 and there was no let up in the great British weather. Through the drizzle and mud L7 still attracted a decent crowd.
The set kicked off with Andres from Hungry For Stink, a favourite that really set the tone for the set. Next was Deathwish, Everglade, Monster and the epic Fuel my Fire.
It was great for us to finally catch them live and the stage banter was spot on. Donita “our friends Eagles of Death Metal are here and we're having their babies … we've had our eggs frozen and it's time to cash those cheques”.
Next up was One More Thing from Bricks Are Heavy where Jennifer sings and you could really tell how second nature to them the performance was.
Shove and the ever popular Shitlist were next, finishing with Pretend We're Dead and Fast and Frightening.
With a good selection of favorites their fierce stage presence and sense of humour it was a great show watching these fantastically talented, intelligent, interesting and strong women, doing what they clearly love to do.