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Donita Sparks (born April 8, 1963) is an American vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, and creative director most notable for being the co-founder of the band L7. Sparks also initiated, performed, and released original material with her solo project, the band Donita Sparks and The Stellar Moments.[1]

Donita Sparks
L7 Rock am Ring 2015 (10).JPG
Donita Sparks in 2015
Background information
Born (1963-04-08) April 8, 1963 (age 56)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
GenresAlternative metal, grunge, alternative rock, punk rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, guitarist
Bass guitar
Years active1985–present
LabelsEpitaph Records
Sub Pop
Slash Records
Man's Ruin Records
Wax Tadpole Records
CASH Music
Blackheart Records
Associated actsL7
Donita Sparks and the Stellar Moments
Lou Man Group



Sparks was raised in Chicago in a family that regularly participated in political actions. Donita Sparks worked as a foot messenger in downtown Chicago prior to moving to Los Angeles at the age of 19.

Donita Sparks met Suzi Gardner in 1984 and they formed the creative foundation of L7 by 1985. Sparks and Gardner had both worked at LA Weekly and were active participants in the art punk DIY scene in the Echo Park/Silver Lake area when they began writing music together.[2]

Recognized for subverting and transcending the expectations of performers in the late 80s and early 90s, L7 produced six original studio albums between 1985 and 2001.[3][4]

Donita's work has been featured in films such as Natural Born Killers, Brokeback Mountain, Perks of Being a Wildflower and video games such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Rock Band 2.[5] In 1994, Sparks appeared in the John Waters film Serial Mom as a musician and performer in the fictitious band "Camel Lips."

Sparks released her debut solo record Transmiticate as Donita Sparks and the Stellar Moments in February 2008.

Sparks is also the drummer for the Lou Reed tribute band, Lou Man Group.[6]

L7 reformed in 2015 and embarked on a reunion tour.[1][4][7] The documentary L7: Pretend We're Dead, directed by Sarah Price, features original footage and interviews with Donita Sparks and was released November, 2016.[8] The film was nominated for a VO5 NME Award for Best Music Film.[9]

Sparks continues to perform live shows with the original line up of L7 and co-wrote two new songs with Suzi Gardner: Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago, 2017 and I Came Back to Bitch, 2018 that were released as singles.[10]

L7's latest full album Scatter the Rats was released on Blackheart Records on May 3, 2019. Sparks gave a number of interviews reflecting on the trajectory of the group and discussing the challenges and triumphs faced over the years by the band.[11] The band resumes a six week national tour on May 10, 2019.[12]

Sparks guitar of choice is the deliberately angular Flying V which she described looking like "something from the Jetsons."[13]


Sparks and L7 formed Rock for Choice with the Feminist Majority Foundation in 1991, staging numerous concerts featuring some of the biggest bands in the industry benefiting pro-choice organizations.[14]

Notable stage momentsEdit

Sparks onstage with the reformed L7 in 2018

While L7 was performing at the Reading Festival in 1992, their speakers blew out. The crowd became restless and relentlessly threw mud onto the stage, pelting the band. In response, Sparks reached into her pants and threw her tampon back at the crowd, and yelled "Eat my used tampon, fuckers!" The tampon is known as one of the "most unsanitary pieces of rock memorabilia in history".[15]

Later in 1992, Sparks dropped her pants, appearing bottomless, on live television during an L7 performance on the UK variety show The Word.[16]



Year Title Label Notes
1988 L7 Epitaph Records Debut album
1990 Smell the Magic Sub Pop Reissued in 1991 with three extra songs
1992 Bricks Are Heavy Slash Records Reached #1 on Billboard Heatseekers
1994 Hungry for Stink Slash Records Reached #2 on Billboard Heatseekers
1997 The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum Slash Records First album without bassist Jennifer Finch
1998 Live: Omaha to Osaka Man's Ruin Records Live album
1999 Slap-Happy Wax Tadpole Records
2000 The Slash Years Slash Records Compilation of popular songs from 1992–1997
2019 Scatter the Rats Blackheart Records Full album, original lineup

Viggo Mortensen's Spoken WordEdit

Year Title Label Notes
1999 One Man's Meat TDRS Music

Donita Sparks and the Stellar MomentsEdit

Year Title Label Notes
2008 Transmiticate CASH Music Debut album


  1. ^ a b Sparks, Donita; Pearson, Tanya (interviewer) (21 July 2015). "Donita Sparks" (Video interview - oral history). Women of Rock Oral History Project. Northampton, MA: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College.
  2. ^ Grant, Sarah (November 21, 2017). "L7: To Hell and Back". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  3. ^ Friedman, Ph.D., Michael (December 22, 2016). "Why Donita Sparks Is a Subversive Ray of Hope". Psychology Today. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Barlow, Eve (November 15, 2016). "New Documentary L7: Pretend We're Dead Restores the Legacy of One of L.A.'s Best Bands". LA Weekly. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "New Yorker out Loud, Vol. 2 - Various Artists: Credits". AllMusic. 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  6. ^ "L7 - Interview". Loud! Noises!. June 2015.
  7. ^ Stewart, Allison (September 6, 2017). "L7 is Back, with Snarl, Riffs and Rage Intact". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Grant, Sarah (February 9, 2018). "L7 Announce Tour, Slam 'Capitalist Motherf--kers' on 'I Came Back To Bitch'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  10. ^ Berman, Judy (September 29, 2017). "After 18 Years, How Do L7 Return? With a Song About Trashing Trump's Mar-a-Lago". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Armstrong, Christopher Andrew (May 3, 2019). "Q&A: DONITA SPARKS". Flaunt Magazine. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  12. ^ Callwood, Brett (May 1, 2019). "Scatter, Rats! L7's Back With Their First Album in 20 Years". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  13. ^ Garcia-Navarro, Lulu (May 5, 2019). "L7's Donita Sparks Talks Women In Rock And The Band's New Album, 'Scatter The Rats'". National Public Radio. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  14. ^ Schippers, Mimi (2002). Rockin' Out of the Box: Gender Maneuvering in Alternative Hard Rock. Rutgers University Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-8135-3075-8.
  15. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 589. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  16. ^ Brewer, Mary F. (January 1, 2002). Exclusions in Feminist Thought: Challenging the Boundaries of Womanhood. Sussex Academic Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-902210-63-6.

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