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01/03/07
Reviewed by - Matt Rowe


   
Wendy O Williams
And The Plasmatics
 

The Plasmatics’ brand of high-energy Rock ‘n’ Roll may only be matched by a few bands even to this day.  They came in on the punk wave in 1978 and gave 10 years of ferocious music along with the theatre to back it up that included blowing up of cars, chain-sawing, and more than a measure of flesh courtesy of one firebrand, Wendy O Williams.  She flaunted the barriers that were in place although they were certainly challenged by other bands.  But no one had the same measure of intensity that drove The Plasmatics to a greater height of rock insurrection, and it was all governed by the heat that boiled inside the girl that let no boundary contain her.

MVD Visual releases a DVD that contains more than 3 hours of spotlight focused on the front of The Plasmatics, Wendy O Williams and her band.  WoW was called The Queen of Punk, The High Priestess of Metal, The Dominatrix of the Decibels, and The Queen of Shock Rock, which, all by itself, was an appropriate name as she consistently found the nudge that would upset and shock in an increasing manner until the band outlived its shock appeal.

This DVD shows all of the theatrics, sexuality, and nihilism that accompanied a Plasmatics show.  With an ability to incite her audience, Wendy O Williams, who pushed the exposure of her nude flesh as close to the limit allowable in that period, used every angle to take rock to the next level (we’ve regressed since then).  Backed by a very able band, dressed in a variety of suggestively sexy clothing (or not dressed at all save for panties), and fearlessness, Wendy O Williams during this period was the quickened pulse of this time.  Although she held nothing back, she still oozed a femininity that made her all the more exciting for the watching.

This video retrospective is divided into several parts.  Part one is a 2 hour Documentary that includes plenty of looks at live performances, some of it unreleased clips and footage, and plenty of interview observations interspersed throughout.  The second part is a collection of concert film by cities, solo (more heavy metal, less punk) and band, original videos, and film outtakes as well as bootleg audience video.

The documentary naturally covers the band from inception, concentrating on their theatrics, Wendy’s arrests and obscenity trial, TV appearances, concerts shows that include CBGBs (NYC), The Whisky (LA), and the near miraculous booking into the Santa Monica Civic Center not long after the Whisky appearances.  The documentary is divided up into 5 periods covering 1977 - 1988, all selectable via a menu.

There’s plenty here to enjoy and plenty to pay attention to.  Although Wendy O Williams changed her musical styles in an attempt to keep up with the time, even dipping into a new-wavish power pop “Reform School Girls,” she never let up on the energy.    

Wendy continued to shock by making a deliberate, although planned and personally reasoned, end to her life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  And so she left this life (1998) in largely the same way that she lived it, with an act that would shock fans.  This DVD, in addition to her recorded works, preserves the legacy of Wendy O Williams and The Plasmatics.



Release Date: November 21, 2006
DVD Produced by:
Format: DVD

Website



Track Listing:

1977-1980 / 1980-1981 / 1981-1984 / 1984-1986 / 1986-1988 / Butcher Baby (1980-1981 - NYC) / Pig Is a Pig (May 15, 1981 - NYC) / Sex Junkie (May 15, 1981 - NYC) / Living Dead (June 17, 1981 - Pasadena, CA) / Masterplan (June 17, 1981 - Pasadena, CA) / The Damned (October 25, 1982 - AZ Desert) / It's My Life (June, 1984 - AZ Desert) / Party (Tonight) (September 1985 - London) / Goin' Wild (September 1985 - London) / F**k 'n' Roll (September 1985 - London) / Reform School Girls (October 13, 1986 - NYC) / Pieces (November 17, 1987 - Detroit) / Additional Production and Other Stories.

 


The Plasmatics:

Wendy O Williams - Vocals
Richie Stotts - Guitar
Wes Beech - Guitars
Michael Ray - Guitars
Chosei Funahara - Bass
Jean Bouvier - Bass
Greg Smith - Bass
Chris Romanelli - Bass / Keyboards
Stu Deutsch - Drums
Neal Smith - Drums (Studio)
Tony Petrie - Drums
Joey Reese - Drums
TC Tolliver - Drums
Ray Callahan - Drums.




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