During the Kommander of Kaos tour Wendy had taken to putting guitarist Michael Ray on her shoulders during various parts of the show and performed the feat on the Joan Rivers “Late Night Show” which had been launched to run opposite and as a competitor to NBC’s “Tonight Show”. The band flew into LA from the road and did two songs for the show: “Goin' Wild” where Wendy would make her entrance chainsawing through the River’s set and then “Fuck that Booty” which was negotiated with the censors to be sung as "Unh that booty” instead. In the meantime, Wes had rejoined the band to both tour and play on the next album where the re-formed 4 piece band became a centerpiece for perhaps the most complex arrangements in the band's career. The band, now consisting of a 3 piece that could completely stand on its own plus a 4th piece that could then add an additional layer or dimension rather than just covering the limitations of the 3 piece as the very earliest configurations required.
In addition, after the archetypal minimalism, both lyrically and musically of Kommander the new album, which would again carry the Plasmatics name, and in contrast was again filled with complexity and Rod’s lyrics returned to central Wendy O./Plasmatics social and political themes previously found most strongly in Coup but in 1984 before it: environmental decay and a world where excess and abuse has directly to system collapse and a doomsday scenario. “Maggots: The Record” was recorded in 1987 and set 25 years in the future “where environmental abuse and the burning of fossil fuels have created a greenhouse effect” that then leads to an end of the world scenario. Called by many the first "thrash metal opera" the album also featured dialog of the hapless "White" family through three days of the their lives until one by one they meet their end as the record moves towards the final scene of the record when effectively the entire human population is headed for immanent annihilation at the hands of giant maggots. The album was released through Profile Records under the WOW label in the U.S. and overseas by GWR Records fun by Doug Smith.
Wendy did a performance piece to inaugurate the album at NYC's Palladium which had been transformed from a proscenium theatre into huge multi-level club where she sledgehammered and chainsawed to smithereens a facsimile all-American living room, and "Maggots: The Tour" began a week later using the Plasmatics name for the first time in two albums with slogans such as "Those Now Eating Will Soon Be Eaten," "The Day of the Humans is Gone," and lyrics such as "soldiers for the DNA dissidents are put away, dragged off in the dead of night, disappear without a sight" (“You’re a Zombie”). Just part of the chilling prophecy of the album which returned to many of the major political Orwellian themes including environmental disaster, abuse and decay for which the Plasmatics were known.
The review in KERRANG! came out shortly thereafter. It was the highest possible rating: A 5 out of 5 Ks, "Quite simply a masterpiece...a work of genius." Wendy's vocals "reduce Celtic Frost's Tom G. Warrior's 'death grunts' to mere whimpers" it went on to say, coupled with "a mixture of hedonistically operatic melodies..gutforged to some of the heaviest armadillo beats you're ever likely to hear committed to vinyl"..all while, the review continued, "an all-American family, the Whites, is devoured whilst watching a TV game show; Valerie the girlfriend of hot-shot tele-reporter Bruce is (devoured) by three phallic maggots whilst lying in her boyfriend's bed (and) scientists and politicians are overheard discussing their impotence in the face of spreading malignancy..." Maggots the Record, the review concludes is 'indispensable." During the tour, rear screen projectors ran film of human disasters, fascists and other historical horrors, environmental carnage and human rights violations on huge screens behind the band during all the songs from the Maggots album.