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L7 Tap Joan Jett for Blistering Cover of Her 1983 Track ‘Fake Friends’

Grunge outfit also shares “Witchy Burn,” a swampy reworking of their song “Burn Baby”

Grunge stalwarts L7 unveiled a new cover of Joan Jett’s 1983 track “Fake Friends,” featuring guitar and vocals from none other than Jett herself.

For their rendition of “Fake Friends,” L7 flattened out the boogie-tinged skip of the original and streamlined it into a snarling ripper. “Losing friends, losing friends,” Donita Sparks sings, with Jett providing the harmonies, “You got nothing to lose/You don’t lose when you lose fake friends.”

“To have Joan’s vocals on this track along with mine is super surreal and cool,” Sparks said in a statement. “Our band has experienced many fake friends, especially when you’re down. Some of these people you thought were your friends are nowhere to be found. Your phone calls aren’t returned, etc. It’s painful and it sucks. Then you find out who your true friends are.”

L7 and Jett’s version of “Fake Friends” serves as the A-side of a new single that boasts “Witchy Burn” on the B-side. That track is a reworking of L7’s 2019 cut, “Burn Baby,” from their comeback album, Scatter the Rats, which was released via Jett’s Blackheart Records.

L7 planned to release the “Fake Friends”/”Witchy Burn” single to coincide with their tour of New Zealand and Australia in May, but they ultimately decided to issue it earlier after that run was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the tour got canceled due to this horrible virus, we decided to release the tracks as a way to keep our fans’ spirits up a bit, as well as our own,” Sparks said. “New material gets everyone excited and happy and maybe gets them dancing around their cribs. That’s something positive the band can do for our fans in these uncertain times. When rock and roll duty calls, L7 answers.”

At the beginning of April, Sparks launched a weekly online variety show, The Hi-Low Show, which has so far featured such guests as Lydia Lunch, David Yow, Dani Miller and Teri Gender Bender. The show airs Fridays at 3 p.m. PT and this week’s guest will be Starcrawler’s Arrow de Wilde.