7 Year Bitch's 'Miss Understood' Live: Hear Preview of First New Album in 20 Years
Selene Vigil-Wilk looks back on a recently uncovered live document of the band in their prime.
Seattle grunge punks 7 Year Bitch aren't reuniting, but they are releasing their first album in 20 years when Live at Moe drops on Jan. 15, 2016. The live album, pulled from a 1996 performance at Seattle's Club Moe that was recently rediscovered after sitting in the vaults for years, rounds up 12 tracks that demonstrate their guttural, pummeling sound in an intimate, divey live setting.
For younger and longtime fans, this is a rare treat -- it's the first live album from an essential '90s alt-rock act, a band remembered for its prowess in the live setting. Today, Billboard is excited to share an exclusive premiere from Live at Moe -- a live version of "Miss Understood" from their final album, 1996's Gato Negro. Enjoy the song (and pre-performance banter) below.
7 Year Bitch recorded their masterpiece, 1994's Viva Zapata!, in tribute to the band's deceased guitarist, Stefanie Sargent, as well as murdered Gits singer Mia Zapata. And while it wasn't intended as such in 1996, 7YB lead singer Selene Vigil-Wilk sees the Live at Moe album as a testament to late guitarist/former sound engineer Lisa Faye Beatty, who recorded this '96 show and died in 2011 after a motorcycle accident.
"Hearing Lisa's sound, her recording [on Live at Moe], is really cool," Vigil-Wilk says, speaking to Billboard not long after playing a benefit gig with Alcohol Funnycar for Hammerbox bassist James Atkins, who is fighting cancer. "Saying 'really cool' doesn't do it justice, but it's hard to get deep. I liked listening to it and getting to connect to her."
At first, however, the rock growler wasn’t too keen on revisiting her past -- not just because of the band's eventual breakup, but because she was "nervous" to hear herself. "I don't watch old videos or anything. One time I was watching myself sing on a TV screen back in the day, someone had recorded our concert, and I had to walk out of the room. It's just... don't go there. So I was nervous to listen to it."
There was no reason to be, as she soon found out. It's clear from this much-needed documentation that they were a monster live act, delivering sludgy hard rock riffs with unfettered punk energy. "We sounded really rad," she finally admits. "I heard it and thought, 'man, we kicked ass.'"
The venue itself, Club Moe, is almost as legendary in Seattle '90s lore as the band itself. From 1993 to 1997, the divey bar hosted a variety of local and rising bands (Radiohead even played there), so a live document of a show there and the incidental crowd noise is a nice bonus.
"We spent a lot of time there," Vigil-Wilk recalls. "We lived four blocks away and our practice space was right across the street. Sometimes you'd finish and just wander over like, 'let's see who's playing tonight.' A lot of bands came there, I remember seeing Flaming Lips there."
While a reunion tour isn't on the docket, it's not entirely ruled out. The group got back together to put this live album together, and listening to it gave Vigil-Wilk a sense of closure about a difficult period in her life. "Looking back now, I feel more motherly toward my younger self. I feel like, 'it's okay, don't worry about it, you're forgiven.'"