Before there was Marilyn Manson, before Slipknot and the rest of the come latelies, there was Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics. Before Metallica crashed lighting trusses to the floor, the Plasmatics did it. The Plasmatics introduced the mohawk haircut to rock and roll and American culture, and to this day the full extent of their stage shows which featured the ritualistic chainsawing of guitars, the destruction of mass cultural icons including the blowing up of cars onstage has never been matched. Labeled anarchists and banned in England, arrested in Milwaukee, Cleveland and other cities, Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics, in critic Steve Blush's words 'turned the music biz on its ear."
With credentials that included an MFA in art from Yale, and a string of counter-culture and conceptual art pieces and mass-consumer experiments under his belt, the Plasmatics was put together in 1977 by radical anti-artist Rod Swenson around lead singer Wendy O. Williams. During her ten-year recording and touring career the no-compromising Williams was arrested numerous times on obscenity charges, performed death-defying videos, and got a Grammy nomination as 'Best Female Rock Vocalist' of the year. With the intent of challenging the status quo at every turn, the group, which virtually ruled the punk scene in New York during the late 70's synthesized punk and metal when it was unheard of to do so, released Coup D'Etat, recorded in Germany in 1982 on Capitol Records.
With AC/DC the gods of heavy metal at the time, the LATimes branded Coup D'Etat the 'best slice of heavy metal since the last AC/DC album," calling Wendy's vocals so intense as to make Pat Benatar and Ann Wilson (then the biggest female 'rock' performers of the day) "sound like Judy Collins". Wendy was "doing vocally what no one since Janis Joplin has achieved" wrote a critic from Joplin's home state of Texas. Typical of the ambitious production involved in Plasmatics covers, the cover photo, shot by Rod Swenson involved bringing a tank into the South Bronx in NYC. The final Wendy and the Plasmatics final record was released in 1988, and on April 6, 1998, in a final uncompromising act, Wendy took her own life. The amazing legacy of Wendy and the Plasmatics speaks for itself.