"Opinions are like assholes.....
everybody's got one, and they all stink but mine"
BRIDGEPORT POST, Monday, June 20, 1983
Before Saturday night, I thought Kiss was the most disgusting band, the Kinks the most ugly and AC/DC the most musically inept.
But, folks, the votes are in and all three of these illustrious titles go to, you guessed it, the Plasmatics.
After Saturday's one-hour concert Waterbury's Toad's Place, this revieweris convinced the Plasmatics are totally devoid of any talent, charisma or even good-looks. So, what makes these five weirdos appealing? The answer, in a word, is non-comformity.
The band, led by the obnoxious Wendy O. Williams (WOW,) abhors conservative rock and does everything it can to break down its barriers (not to mention other assorted household objects.)
The crowd packed into Toad's were mostly of the pseudo-punk variety, with spiked dog collars and wristbands, spandex pants and Clash T-shirts. There was a lot of pushing and shoving, but most evident was a devout loyalty to Wendy and her boys.
The Plasmatics' music is pure, bad heavy metal which sounds like pure, bad feedback.
As for Miss Williams, the charming lead singer, from head to toe she is unadulterated punk. Her platinum blonde hair defies the law of gravity (her mohawk doo stands a full six, count 'em, six inches high,) and she sports a scanty leather bikini bottom complete with metal studs and chains.
Above her leather boots are knee-bands from which at least 20 six-inchnails sprout. There's not much to say about Williams' top half except three threads and two pieces of black electrical tape.
I understand Williams is bright, even charming, offstage. But, on stage, she's pure hellion, spouting off strings of four-letter words that would make Richard Pryor blush and send Bette Midler running for cover. Most words she sang were inaudible (some of the blame should go to Toad's poor acoustics.) But her dialogue-everyone could hear that.
After 45 minutes of eardrum-shattering music and four deafening flashbombs, it was time for the piece de resistance. A black and white TV was brought on stage by a roadie and place atop a stepladder. The crowd screamed. They knew what was coming.
The roadie then gave Williams a sledgehammer and she proceeded to beatthe living tubes out of the 19-inch diagonal set. Sparks flew and the crowd went wild.
No sooner had the debris been cleared away than Williams was handed a chainsaw. Wood chips flew as she sawed an electric guitar in half and threw its pieces into the scrambling audience.
While there's a lot of bad to say about the Plasmatics, there was something worthwhile in the band's performance. Williams, when she's not yelling obscenities the audience, is a genuine person who delights in shaking hands with the audience.
Playboy December, 1979 (?)
Maybe we should have been forewarned when we ran into those two dazed youths who were standing (barely so) outside the Palladium in New York City. They were dressed in faded, grimy denim jackets embroidered with large link chains, and their dirty, chewed-down fingers were wrapped around bottles of cheap wine. Their teeth were chipped, their hair was mottled, they hadn't shaved and they looked like they could give a shit less. They also held two tickets to The Plasmatics.
"We're gonna see some destruction tonight," they chortled.
Inside the Palladium, the buzz was centered on how The Plasmatics were going to wreck a used-car-lot Cadillac on stage. Mitch Ryder, the middle act, was being booed off when we arrived. A blood-lusty bunch, this audience. They weren't anxiously awaiting The Plasmatics' music, either: The group has an extended-play single that is pretty much a secret saleswise, but the 3300-seat Palladium was nearly filled.
We knew a little about The Plasmatics, having seen their premiere performance in July 1978 at CBGB. The group had been put together by a fellow named Rod Swenson, a holder of a master's degree in fine arts from Yale who long before that grew bored with the idea of painting and became a promoter of live sex exhibitions in two Times Square theaters under the name Captain Kink. After (by his count) 1700 performances, the Times Square vice crackdown of then-mayor Beame gave the boot to Captain Kink, who emerged again as Rod Swenson, rock-'n'-roll video and film maker for the likes of Patti Smith and The Ramones. Swenson also took with him his top performer from the sex [----------] band around her; thus were The Plasmatics spawned. Their debut was appropriately raunchy and their central presence, Wendy Orleans Williams (christened to spell WOW), reduced singing to mere oral stimulation.
A short film preceded The Plasmatics' appearance at the Palladium, and it pretty much set the tone of things to come. While the audience watched the group cavort in a burger-and-fries joint, they heard Wendy shrieking: "Let's eat out tonight"; and if they didn't get it, they were also treated to close-ups of red boots, thighs, Wendy's hand and a microphone cord nestled solidly in her folds, etc., etc.
Once the film ran out, a man who sported a Mohawk haircut dyed teal blue - and a kind of maid's uniform mounted a platform and, with a sledge hammer, proceeded to smash three television sets in the center of the stage--before the band had struck a note. He then strapped on a left-handed Gibson V-body guitar, Wendy popped in from the wings and, whammo, The Plasmatics were on. The next hour or so was filled with sound that can only be likened to that of a freight train from the perspective of having one's head pinned to the tracks underneath. Thematically, the band ranged from songs that centered on Wendy's privates to stuff about the Guyana massacre. From the rear of the Palladium, where we were standing, we noted that Wendy's prominent tits remained remarkably stationary, even while she bounced and skipped like a schoolgirl; that the Mohawk-headed guitarist demonstrated more ways to use a guitar as anything but a musical instrument than even Kiss's Ace Frehley; and that the spectators were mesmerized by this excess of sound and sight.
Finally, the moment we'd been waiting for arrived. Wendy gleefully picked up the sledge hammer and began smashing in the windows of the Cadillac. Then what appeared to be sticks of explosives were shoved into the Caddy's interior and, boom, the doors and dashboard blew off. More explosives were shoved into the car as the band played on. Boom, the roof, trunk and hood covers blew off. The crowd roared. The band was showered with debris and glass. Suddenly, crew members dressed as firemen were on the scene, hosing down the burning Caddy. Several members of the band, notably the Mohawk-headed guitarist, appeared to be bleeding from exposed areas. Once the fire and smoke cleared, Wendy stepped up to the microphone and yelled, "Now here's our A.M. hit, Butcher Baby." We didn't know how to react to that. The climax to Butcher Baby had our favorite guitarist chain-sawing his guitar while Wendy and the crew members toppled the overhead lighting grid. We knew how to react to that: We left.
People Magazine, 1981
Williams writhes, carves up guitars with a chainsaw and decimates TV sets with a sledgehammer during Plasmatics concerts. Her singing sounds like an echo of these activities. Then there's lead guitarist Richie Stotts, who, with his blue-dyed Mohican hedgerow and 6' 5" frame, would be an imposing spectacle even if he didn't wear blue tights, a ballet dancer's tutu and red lipstick. Small wonder that their Yale alumnus manager, Rod Swenson, categorizes the act as "conceptual art." Is making an album irrelevant for a group that purposely crashed a speeding Cadillac into its stage equipment on a pier in New York last fall (Williams leaped out at the last second) and then blew up the whole mess with explosives? Not necessarily. Ids of this magnitude spill over onto vinyl with a redolence that will appeal to some. Modeled after the Ramones, the Plasmatics make music that is crude, loud, urgent and perversely danceable. They're the amphetamine hit the fading punk movement needs.
Excerpted from Penthouse (?) Magazine
The Country Club in Reseda, California (an L.A. suburb), is not the huge auditorium or outdoor stadium that groups like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Def Leppard are accustomed to. For Wendy O. Williams, however, the 1,000-seat nightclub was an important stop on her recent American tour. Having sacrificed her punk mohawk haircut and revealing stage outfit for a less flashy but more-metal look, Williams is one of the few women around who dare to perform hard-core, head-banging heavy-metal rock'n' roll. In a world dominated by men, she is equal to the task.
"I'm the kind of person who doesn't live in the past," Wendy O. says, referring to her former concert days, when blowing up an automobile or buzz-sawing a television set in half was typically part of the act. "I've got the best heavy-metal band in the world. I still talk dirty. I bump-and-grind better than any chick in this business. Fuck, I'm having a good time."
Williams receives a frantic, maniacal and blatantly sexual response from her live audiences. At a recent sold-out gig at Brooklyn's L'Amour-the heavy-metal showplace on the East Coast-she wheeled into a modified version of her single "Rock 'n' Roll," changing the lyrics to "Fuck 'n' Roll" and taunting the screaming kids to shout "Fuck" at her again and again. Like a seasoned whore, she teased her 1,500 mesmerized "tricks," repeatedly soliciting the words she wanted to hear.
Clearly, Wendy O. Williams has lived the kind of sleazy life familiar to practitioners of heavy metal. For starters, she once did live-sex shows in New York's Times Square area. And when she finally made it big with her old band, the Plasmatics, she was busted on a number of occasions for obscenity.
"I have to get off every day," Williams exclaims, speaking both sexually and figuratively with regard to her music. "I'm an adrenaline freak, and nothing gets me wetter faster than good, hard heavy metal. I want to be known as the heaviest woman singer in heavy-metal rock. And I will be! Because there's nobody doing what I'm doing."
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