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Donita Sparks of L7 on Environmental Activism

Band's 2023 single "Cooler Than Mars" was inspired by frustration over "billionaires flying up to space"
Donita Sparks of L7 performs at Hollywood Palladium on January 04, 2020 in Los Angeles (Photo credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Art of Elysium)

As the “billionaire space race” has progressed, controversy and critiques have followed. Donita Sparks, singer-guitarist of punk rock band L7, used her own outrage to inspire their 2023 single “Cooler Than Mars.”

“Those billionaires flying up to space,” Sparks tells SPIN backstage at Louder Than Life. “They want to exploit space; they don’t want to put their resources here. We haven’t even explored the oceans yet, to the depth that they exist. So I was like, ‘Man, we’re cooler than Mars, goddamnit!’ And I was like, ‘Hey, that’s a good song title and a good subject.'”

“I feel strongly about it,” she continues. “It’s just a ball of frustration, I think, for everybody who cares. So I was like, I’ll put a little humor in it, do the ol’ L7 spin—not make it too heavy, but I’m sincere as hell. A lot of people think it’s kinda tongue-in-cheek. It’s not. … I also thought, ‘Man, if this video or song is found somewhere in the universe in 5,000 years, I just wanna go down on the record that we’re cooler than Mars. If we burn ourselves up or get hit by an asteroid, just for the record, from the camp of L7, we’re cooler than Mars.”

L7 have always used their platforms to highlight particular causes—as Sparks notes, the band helped organize the Rock for Choice benefit concerts, which supported abortion rights. With the social media promotion behind “Cooler Than Mars,” they continued that spirit of activism by highlighting numerous environmental organizations. “We want to fire people up a little bit,” she says.