AUSTIN, Texas -- Wearing a long red robe, L7 singer/guitarist
Donita Sparks was passing out homemade cookies decorated with green
sugar L7 logos at a coffee shop here Saturday morning.
The occasion was the announcement of another homemade product: records,
which from now on the Los Angeles hard-rock band plans to release on its
own Wax Tadpole label. The band said it would release its first album on
the label in late summer or early fall.
L7, whose last studio album, The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum (1997),
included "Off the Wagon" (RealAudio excerpt), were
signed to Slash Records for most of the '90s. But, Sparks told about 100
fans and reporters during a coffee klatch at the 503 Coffee Shop,
"They're losers, and they thought we were losers."
"We never thought that," Slash Records' John St. John said Tuesday
(March 23). "We never would have signed them if we thought they were losers."
St. John characterized Sparks' comments as "bullsh--." He said the band
had jumped from Slash to Warner Bros., at which point "they acted like
big sh--s and blew us off." They eventually were dropped by Warner Bros.,
Asked what the band knows about starting a label, Sparks said, "I'm still
studying the distribution stuff ... um, basically we have a logo. We'll
make it work."
But she said L7 are going into business for themselves because, "We
thought it was time we ripped ourselves off."
For now, she said, Wax Tadpole has no intention of signing any other
bands. "We won't be ripping any other bands off for a while," Sparks said.
The name of the label comes from "Bite the Wax Tadpole," the first song
on L7's debut album, released in 1988 by Epitaph. And, Sparks said,
"Wax equals vinyl, and tadpole equals new, emerging thing!"
Guitarist Suzi Gardner looked out from under her black cowboy hat to
claim that, furthermore, "Bite the Wax Tadpole" is how "Coca Cola"
translates into Chinese. As with many things L7, it was hard to tell
whether or not she was joking.
It has been a busy year so far for the hard-rockers.
They've released two songs, "Freeway" (RealAudio excerpt) and
"Mantra Down," through the new online label Atomic Pop; they can be
downloaded at www.atomicpop.com.
The night before the Wax Tadpole announcement, they played a South by
Southwest showcase at the Austin club Stubb's, where they were joined by
flame-haired Exene Cervenka of Los Angeles punk pioneers X for the song
"Bad Things." Cervenka was at the Saturday morning coffee klatch, too.
After the announcement, an L7 concert video, "The Beauty Process,"
directed by ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, was screened; it's to be
released by K Records. Fans were given party favors -- bags containing
an L7 cookie wrapped in plastic, an L7 fanzine (which also can be found
at the official L7 website, www.smellL7.com) and a Wax Tadpole sticker.
After L7 release their Wax Tadpole debut, they're planning a two-month
North American tour.