In music, there are bands and/or solo artists mislabeled as controversial all the while lacking any true substantiation of the charge. For what constitutes controversy? Especially these days when most entertainment - especially mainstream content - is tame and bland.
In the late 70s and early 80s, The Plasmatics went out with their music and with the intense lead singer/ performance artist Wendy O. Williams (W.O.W) took the underground scene by storm. While their music does have a bit of a mainstream sound, it still carried the aggression and raw energy of punk rock.
Today, there is an exorcising of actual instruments, slowly being replaced in the studio and on stage by sleek, easy to use for anybody programming pads and singers with auto-tuning safety nets. The Plasmatics - like true rock bands -were the opposite of that and just kicked ass with their straight up jams. Wendy O. expressed herself in all of her half-naked glory. Her voice was course and ugly by mainstream standards, but that was the whole point of punk rock, the best bands knew this.
New Hope For The Wretched was their first full-length album.
The songs are short - for the most part - and support the lyrics’ straight up message. Each song delivered with anger that could only be felt best in the live performance. Unfortunately, I was just a child when this band existed, so I did not get to experience the power and the glory of this:
That is Wendy running around bare-chested. And that is actually tame for her, but she had to rub whip cream over her breasts for this t.v. appearance. Not to mention chainsawing a guitar in half. You can tell that the band had fun playing this kind of music and it showed.
But this was the Coup de Grace. Please check this out! You won’t be disappointed.
That’s real dynamite! And it appears that the first attempt was not successful in destroying the car, so she blows it up a second time for the desired effect. I don’t think any guy was doing this kind of crazy shit at that time. And Wendy did this at every show. At least, those venues that allowed her to blow stuff up.
Her lack of clothing did land her in trouble, but she never stopped. I see someone like Mylie Cyrus going topless and shrug t off since she doesn’t know what being a risk taker is. Wendy O was doing this at a time when it was risky, indeed when it was dangerous. I imagine she dealt with her fair share of hatred from men, and probably even death threats.
But this band kept fucking shit up. They existed from 1977 until 1983 when The Plasmatics, like many other bands, were ruined by the demon known as Creative Differences.
As a boy, I watched footage on poorly recorded VHS cassettes, Wendy singing and running around bare-chested proved almost too much for me to handle. I have no problem stating that her performance and natural beauty drove me wild. She was a singular beauty.
Sadly, for Wendy O this all posthumous. On April 6, 1998, she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Plasmatics music was an influence on bands like Green Day and Nirvana. Just compare and you’ll hear it. And there are bands who openly admit to being influenced by them. Butcher Babies*and Murderdolls are among them.