Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: L7’s Bricks Next To Enter Decibel’s Hall Of Fame
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
Before he was an Oscar winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor curated the harrowing soundtrack to Oliver Stone’s 1994 serial killer satire Natural Born Killers. And he did a great job! In the very first scene, a couple redneck dipshits stroll into a roadside diner and start harassing Juliette Lewis’ gyrating Mallory. (One of them is the late James Gammon of Major League fame, who sells the shit out of his epic line: “’Mallory,’ whatever, who gives a shit? I call it pusssssssssssy.”) Long story short, the jukebox switches to L7’s “Shitlist,” Mallory suddenly conjures Rocky Balboa’s left-hand “triphammer” jab, and the titular couple begins their epic killing spree. Oh yeah — she sings “Shitlist” to one of the rednecks as she beats him to death.
It’s hard to imagine a more suitably badass way to introduce L7 to the mainstream, although the L.A. quartet already crossed over two years prior with “Pretend We’re Dead.” Both songs are crazy-catchy, totally rip, and more or less bookend 1992’s Bricks Are Heavy, the latest inductee to the Decibel Hall of Fame. We were actually going to honor the record in our Women in Metal issue back in August 2012, but the ladies very understandably said no thanks — because they see no need for women-in-metal anything. (In our defense, we were compelled to provide a dignified and progressive version of what certain unnamed metal magazines fail miserably at when focusing on the fairer gender … but we’ll agree to disagree.) Vocalist/guitarist Donita Sparks captures the band’s perspective pretty well: “If you’re always categorized due to something that doesn’t necessarily have to do with anything, it’s frustrating. You’re never in the big leagues if you’re always thrown into these categories.”
Anyway, let’s not diminish the significance of this heavy-as-shit grunge-era classic. The Bricks HOF is chock full of great anecdotes, from the band’s interactions with assorted “hustlers, junkies and drug dealers” while recording in Butch Vig’s Madison, WI studio to the brutal truths behind jams like “Slide” (an ex-boyfriend really did cram a cane through Suzi Gardner’s amp) and “Scrap” (gas-huffing Jesus freaks are to be avoided, always). It’s all in our At the Gates issue. Just say yes to individuality.
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