Krist Novoselic’s band after Nirvana, Sweet 75, opened for L7 on their tour for The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum. Novoselic cast L7 as the stars of his surrealistic Super 8 tour movie, L7: The Beauty Process, and released it as a now-scarce home video. It’s good fun.
A collection of live clips linked by skits, this vid’s amateurish 8mm vibe recalls Desperate Teenage Lovedolls and In the Beginning Was the End: The Truth about De-Evolution. Musicians and other non-actors ad lib unsteadily through single takes filmed in conference rooms and parking lots.
Because it captured the specific emptiness of its time and place, I think of Gregg Araki’s Nowhere, a movie I last saw in 1997, as a cousin to L7: The Beauty Process. In one scene in the L7 movie, a guy from market research subjects the members of the group to the year’s hot new sounds. It’s a tour of everything awful: confessional singer-songwriters, third-wave ska, and “Nirvana-lite angst crybaby middle-class-white-boy grunge.” Then a record industry sleaze takes the band to lunch and offers them anything on the kids’ menu. Straightforward and entertaining enough, but the scene where the devil himself officiates a graduation ceremony for the four women of L7 is the one you take home. (They are graduating from having souls, I think?) And the live footage is, of course, a blast.
The bullshit copy on the sleeve is a good indication of the picture’s tone:
The Beauty Process is a bonafide Rock ‘n’ Roll film. The sensational rock group, L7, take us on a musical flight into the stratosphere only coming down to burrow deep into the sub terrain of music commerce. Bitter and irresponsible, it is a cautionary tale to those who aspire merging art with commerce. Ultimately, The Beauty Process is a moving inspiration demonstrating personal triumph and liberation in the face of adversity. Including the songs; Fast & Frightening, Drama, Shitlist, Andres & more!!!!
Headphones are recommended.
L7 is opening for Adam Ant at LA’s Greek Theatre on September 30. There is no such thing as a bad L7 show.