Plasmatics/WOW Short Bio 2

Anti-disco, anti-complacent assembly-line rock, anti-bullshit, anti-banality, and anti-formula-art, livng and thinking, Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics may be the most truly radical band in the history of rock. Built around the one-of-a-kind Wendy O. Williams by ultra-radical conceptual artist ("anti-artist") Rod Swenson, the Plasmatics to the New York underground music scene by storm with their dabut in 1978, selling out punk shrine CBGB night after night and with the huge crowds they drew virtually creating then unknown venues such as Irving Plaza, The Ritz, Bond's International Casino and others in NYC. By 1979 they became the first to headline New York's Palladium theatre without a recording contract where they blew up a Cadillac onstage.

Despised by the rock establishment which they assaulted with every turn, Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics were so far ahead of their time in so many ways it is hard to know where to begin. They synthesized punk and metal before it was cool to do so, used chain saws and other noise put through amplifiers, and their stage shows were second to none.  Seven full studio albums and multiple EPs were produced under Wendy's and or the Plasmatics name during the decade Williams recorded. Following a series of singles and EPs put out from 1978-1979 on home-owned Vice Squad Records, “New Hope for the Wretched, issued by Stiff Records in the UK in 1980 was the first full Plasmatics album ever released. It contains a number of early Plasmatics classics such as 'Butcher Baby' (the song that first featured Wendy sawing through a guitar with a chain saw during live shows), “Corruption”, “Living Dead” (the song that first featured Wendy sledgehammering a TV during live shows), “Concrete Shoes”, “Sometimes I”, and others. Following Swenson's interest in random art, the noise jam on “Dream Lover” during which Wendy plays sax, has the musicians isolated from one another and their headphones turned off during the instrumental portion so that no one could hear what anyone else was playing.

From the shooting of the cover, to the recording itself and the tour that followed, "New Hope", as with almost every Plasmatics/Wendy O project, was filled with drama and challenge. Stiff had brought in former Rolling Stones producer, Jimmy Miller to add production interest to the project but his heroin problem left him incapacitated from the beginning and nearly torpedoed the album. The record company removed him from the project calling on Rod along with Ramones engineer Ed Stasium (later producer of 'Living Color' among others) to salvage the album from tracks recorded in less than an ideal way. With the awesome album cover showing Wendy et al. with white Cadillac in a swimming pool (shot by Rod under the pseudonym "Butch Star") finished, the group, already an international media sensation following following their exploits in the States, was set for their UK debut.  A packed press core met Wendy at Heathrow Airport where, having changed into a nurse's uniform on the plane, she told the UK press core she had come to give "a cultural enema to the British people." The planned debut show at London's Hammersmith Odeon, sold out way in advance, and where the Wendy was set to blow up another car, never happened. Labeling her an 'anarchist' the Greater London Council met in emergency session and banned the show at the last minute. Amidst sensational headlines in all the papers the band returned to the States where a month after the album was released they began a sold-out North American tour. A classic in its genre, the album charted in the UK where the chain saw anthem 'Butcher Baby' went into the top 40 charts.

By the time “Metal Priestess” was recorded and released in 1981, Wendy O. Williams was a cultural icon, the second album “Beyond the Valley of 1984” had been released following a tour which saw Wendy face multiple arrest on alleged obscenity charges, a savage beating at the hands of the Milwaukee police department that landed her and Rod in the hospital after he came to her defense, countless TV appearances and news stories (including the ABC Fridays show where the band introduced the mohawk haircut into mass culture), and legal defense benefit concerts. “Metal Priestess” was recorded at the private country recording studio of Dan Hartman who produced the record with Rod.  Wunderkind Hartman, first known as the teen bass player/writer for the 'Edgar Winter Group" (and who went on to, write, and perform multiple hits of his own, as well as producing James Brown and others), and who tragically died in 1994 at the age of 44, had become completely obsessed with "Beyond the Valley of 1984" and contacted Rod's office about becoming involved. "Metal Priestess" saw another change in drummers and a new bass player, and was recorded in ten days, and mixed in four. "The Doom Song, " "Black Leather Monster," "12 Noon," and "Lunacy" became Plasmatics classics and were performed on various national TV shows including SCTV, Solid Gold, and others.