L7 To Get Slap-Happy On The Road

Metal-rock band's tour to support new album includes headlining gigs, support dates for industrial rockers Ministry.

Armed with a new album, Slap-Happy, metal-rockers L7 will hit the road in August on a national tour that will include headlining dates and opening slots on concerts by industrial-rock veterans Ministry.

The outing, which currently includes 22 shows, begins with L7 top-billed in San Diego Aug. 15. The next night, they headline a concert just north in Anaheim. On Aug. 17, L7 will join Ministry for a show in Los Angeles and continue on with the group for six more dates along the West Coast.

They'll branch out on their own again Aug. 26 in Denver, and move eastward. More dates will be announced soon, according to an L7 spokesperson.

L7's singer Donita Sparks, guitarist Suzi Gardner and drummer Dee Plakas will be accompanied by bassist Janis Tanaka, formerly of the San Francisco outfit Stone Fox, for the tour. Former bassist Gail Greenwood left the band last year.

The self-produced Slap-Happy — which will be released Aug. 24 from Bong Load Records — offers plenty of "professional-sounding, f---sh--up rock 'n roll," according to Sparks.

"There's a mixed bag on there," Sparks said of the album earlier this month. "We recorded it for really cheap, yet it sounds really great. We went for feel more than technical expertise. It's got really good energy."

The LP also features some directional changes, said Sparks, pointing to the mock hip-hop rendition of "Freeway." A different version of the song was released via the online record label Atomic Pop in February.

Sparks called the new track "Freeway" — which features a "surprise" guest rapper whom she wouldn't identify — "the feel-bad dance hit of the year."

Other tunes on the CD include "On My Rockin' Machine" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Livin' Large" (RealAudio excerpt).

Slap-Happy is L7's first release since parting with Warner Bros. Records last year. "We are the newly emancipated L7," Sparks said, saying she and her bandmates consider themselves "record moguls now."

The upcoming release follows the 1997 LP Triple Platinum: The Beauty Process, featuring the song "Bitter Wine" (RealAudio excerpt), and last year's 16-track live release, Live: Omaha To Osaka.

The group recently took swipes at the female-centric tour Lilith Fair and the punk-focused Vans Warped Tour by flying banners over concerts by each venture. A sign reading, "Bored? Tired? Try L7" circled above Lilith's stop in Los Angeles, while another reading "Warped Needs More Bea---" flew over the Warped Tour stop in Asbury Park, N.J.

Ministry began their 19-date tour in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday in support of their hard-driving album Dark Side of the Spoon, featuring the song, "Eureka Pile" (RealAudio excerpt).

L7 Tour Dates:

Aug. 15; San Diego, Calif.; The Casbah (L7 headlines)

Aug. 16; Anaheim, Calif.; Linda's Dollhut (L7 headlines)

Aug. 17; Los Angeles; Palladium (w/ Ministry)

Aug. 19; Portland, Ore.; Roseland Theater (w/ Ministry)

Aug. 20; Seattle, Wash; Paramount Theater (w/ Ministry)

Aug. 21; Chico, Calif.; the Brickwork (w/ Ministry)

Aug. 22; San Francisco, Calif.; Warfield (w/Ministry)

Aug. 24; Las Vegas, Nev.; House of Blues (w/ Ministry)

Aug. 25; Phoenix, Ariz.; Celebrity Theater (w/ Ministry)

Aug. 26; Denver, Colo.; Bluebird Theater (L7 headlines)

Aug. 27; Lincoln, Nev.; Knickerbockers (L7 headlines)

Aug. 29; Minneapolis, Minn.; Foxfire (L7 headlines)

Aug. 30; Minneapolis, Minn.; 7th Street Entry (L7 headlines)

Sept. 1; Green Bay, Wis.; Concert Theater (L7 headlines)

Sept. 3; Chicago, Ill.; Lounge Axe (L7 headlines)

Sept. 4; Chicago, Ill; Fireside Bowl (L7 headlines)

Sept. 5; Detroit, Mich.; The Shelter (L7 headlines)

Sept. 14; Boston, Mass.; The Paradise (L7 headlines)

Sept. 15; Philadelphia, Pa.; Upstairs at Nicks (L7 headlines)

Sept. 16; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pontiac Grill (L7 headlines)

Sept. 23; Cleveland Heights, Ohio; The Grog Shop (L7 headlines)

Sept. 24; Cleveland Heights, Ohio; The Grog Shop (L7 headlines)