It was just a video that a friend of mine posted on social media, a video of Sinéad O’Connor of all people. Now I'm totally ambivalent when it comes to O'Conner. She's always been that skinny lady with a shaved head that had one semi-hit years ago. That's all I knew. But the friend that had posted it, she's got excellent taste, has been around cool shit since the late seventies. I ended up sleeping on her kitchen floor for two months back when I moved to New York a few years later. We've been friends ever since. I knew there was a reason she'd tagged me on the post. Then I saw that it was a cover of L7's "Shit List" and she was mentioning that I'd put it on a mix for her years ago. Wait. Stop. Sinéad O’Connor covering L7? I clicked immediately, not knowing what to expect.
The surprise? O’Connor's version was awesome. Just about as hard as L7's original, but with a much bigger band. L7 is a four piece, two guitars, bass and drums. O'Connor's fronting a band with a full string section, horn section, four background singers and a conductor. If you think that would mellow the song, you're wrong. I mean, the thing starts out with a guy on violin doing this feedbacking thing that sounds exactly like a guitar. Then the horns come in and it's a symphonic blast from there on. About a third of the way through it I'm thinking that it sounds like a James Bond theme. Then, correcting myself, thinking it sounds as if someone hired L7 to do a James Bond theme. When it was over I headed back to my friends post to thank her and noticed that her introductory sentence that I hadn't seen made the same comparison, that it sounded like L7 doing a Bond theme. What did I say about her having excellent taste?
After watching O'Connor's version, you guessed it, I just had to get an L7 fix. And, boy, did I get a fix. I forgot how good they were live, just good ol' fashioned grungy rock 'n' roll. Nothing overtly cerebral. Here's the feature song, both L7's original and O'Connor's version, along with some L7 videos from over the years. One word of warning. The clip from Natural Born Killers that uses the song as it's soundtrack is really violent. Woody Harrelson and Juliet Lewis as total ass kicking psychopaths. The story for the movie was written by Quentin Tarantino and it was directed by Oliver Stone. That's a recipe for violence if there ever was one. I still think it would make a good Bond theme.
L7 - Shit List mp3 at Tumblr 1992
L7 - Shit List (streaming) at YouTube
Sinéad O’Connor - Shit List (live) at YouTube Melbourne International Arts Festival, Sydney, 2010
L7 - Shit List (live) at YouTube Rockapalast, Essen, Germany 1996
L7 - Shit List (live) at YouTube Hellfest, Clisson, France 2015
Natural Born Killers - Clip with "Shit List" at YouTube 1994
L7 - (live, Rockpalast) at YouTube Essen, Germany 1996
L7 - (live, Hellfest) at YouTube Clisson, France 2015