Wednesday, November 22, 2017

L7 shoves their way into our life

Our autographed copy of the L7 documentary. Thanks to the "L7: Pretend We're Dead" crew!

To coincide with the dvd release of the stellar documentary, "L7: Pretend We're Dead," here's one of our L7 stories that came to mind while we were watching it in Seattle a few months ago. Our friend Phil (RIP) would surely dig on this film.

By Andy

When Phil first heard the blistering intro to L7’s “Shove” blast out of the speakers, his eyes sparkled and a shit-eating grin formed on his face.

His hands moved slightly, already figuring out the riff. He turned to me and nodded his head. Yes, this song would be a crucial one for us when the drinking and rocking commenced in our upstairs apartment on 5th Street in San Jose, CA.

It was all Cat’s fault. She’s the one who brought L7 into my life in the early ‘90s via a cassette tape of the band’s raucous first two offerings. “Bite the Wax Tadpole,” “Snake Handler,” etc. … fuck, yeah. But it was the really brain-gouging stuff on “Smell the Magic” that pierced our ears and punched our guts to the hilt.

Nothing was safe in that apartment when L7 roared throughout the front room. Once, Phil was so moved that he took a hammer to the figurines of a mini Nativity scene that sat on the window sill.

Another time, the cops barged in because we were unleashing L7 at a deafening volume that bothered the neighbors. Phil mouthed off and that perturbed the men in blue. We all got a tongue lashing, of course.

Later, when Phil had “Shove” ready to roll on his guitar, he cranked up the volume on his amp and I sat nearby banging the crap out of a snare drum that sat on a milk crate. We both screamed the vocals — we never found out if we pissed the neighbors off that time. We even recorded our “session” for playback to Cat and other members of our coterie. That tape is long gone, maybe the victim of Phil’s hammer on a beery night.

Cat had already witnessed L7 in the flesh at several gigs in Hollywood and at UCLA and she proudly told us of her adventures. Lucky.

One of Cat's flyers from back in the day.

But it would soon be time for all of us to head to San Francisco and check out the mighty L7 at the Nightbreak on Haight Street just a few months after “Shove” plowed its way into our lives.

After draining a few beers at the bar, we took our spots up front, wedged against the stage as L7 prepared the onslaught. As the band raged, the crowd surged forward, packing us in even tighter at the front. A few songs in, one of our friends waved an imaginary white flag and was taken into a side room to rest among some bean bags until we retrieved her later.

The band and crowd soldiered on.

Phil’s evil grin emerged when “Shove” finally knifed forth at our welcoming, battered ears. Arms flailed, kneecaps bashed against the stage and screeching voices filled the air. It was pandemonium. It was delirium. It was fucking L7.

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