It’s been nearly a year since we got our first look at the L7 documentary Pretend We’re Dead, and now it’ll be crashing the Boston area a few weeks ahead of its worldwide release. Directed by Sarah Price and funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign, the in-depth look at the pioneering Los Angeles rock band screens at The Regent Theatre in Arlington on September 14 and 15. It’s officially out October 13.
“It’s got some gender politics in it, it’s got friendship issues in it,” L7 frontwoman Donita Sparks told Vanyaland in an extended interview last year. “It’s got the struggle of what we went through to get there and then to lose it. Also, a lot of the footage is really funny. It’s us being us, away from the media.”
The documentary reportedly sifts through more than 100 hours of archive footage, with commentary by Exene Cervenka (X), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Joan Jett, Brody Dalle (The Distillers), Lydia Lunch, Allison Robertson (The Donnas), Louise Post (Veruca Salt), and L7. Sparks said she contributed a decent amount of footage to the documentary, and she and the band gave Price their blessing.
“We had all of this home movie footage,” Sparks said, “and I was like, ‘How do we want to deal with this? I’m sure fans want to see it. I’d like to see it edited together somehow.’ And I was talking about it at dinner with Sarah the director, and she said she wanted to see the footage, and she really liked it. She had some gaps to fill in because our original video camera was stolen, so there were some years that were not captured which had to be filled in with photographs. I’ve been feeding her photos and all kinds of press clips. I’ve been kind of taking it on myself to provide her with the content for the whole thing. We all did separate interviews, and I’ve been approving things here and there, but it’s overall her trip.”
Watch a teaser clip below, which features contributions from Krist Novoselic, Shirley Manson, and 7 Year Bitch’s Valerie Agnew, taking us back to the early- and mid-’90s when L7 shook up the male-dominated music industry. “They were openly, brazenly feminist, and I really responded to that,” Manson says in the clip.
The doc takes its name from a song on L7’s 1992 album Bricks Are Heavy. Featured L7 photo by Rob Sheridan.