Punk/Metal Legend WENDY O. WILLIAMS's Rare Concert Footage From 1985 To Be Re-Released On DVD
November 1, 2022
November 18 is the release date of a rare live concert footage of the indomitable high priestess of metal, Wendy O. Williams, featuring special guests Lemmy and Michael "Würzel" Burston from MOTÖRHEAD, on DVD.
Shot at London's Camden Palace in London in 1985 and originally broadcast on Sky TV, the footage captures Williams in a rare and pinnacle moment in her now iconic and legendary career — with trademarked backbend screams and scorching vocals at an unmatched, blood-pumping, high-energy athletic pace. The largely speed-metal set features an appearance by Lemmy and Würzel, who join Wendy onstage for the song "Jailbait", as well as audience sing-alongs for "Bump And Grind", with lead guitarist Michael Ray on Wendy's shoulders, "Fuck And Roll", the song "You'll Succeed", a crowd pleaser that never made it on to an album, Wendy's "Banana Rap", and much more.
Wendy's musical career began in 1977, when she met radical counter-culture artist Rod Swenson in New York City and he created THE PLASMATICS, a band of changing musicians around her that revolutionized American culture, creating a shockwave still felt today. "Way more than a rock band," as John Levy said on VH1 some years later, "THE PLASMATICS were a phenomenon." "The RAMONES x10, the SEX PISTOLS x10, THE CLASH x10," wrote Charles Young in Classic Rock. They introduced the mohawk to mass American culture, fused punk and metal when those groups hated each other, and produced stage shows which included Wendy chain-sawing guitars and blowing up full-size cars, among other things that have never been matched to today. Banned in London, busted in Cleveland and Milwaukee, Wendy and THE PLASMATICS were introduced in 1981 by Tom Snyder on his late-night TV show as "the greatest punk band in the world."
By 1982, after the release of two albums ("New Hope For The Wretched" and "Beyond The Valley Of 1984"),and an EP titled "Metal Priestess", THE PLASMATICS released the landmark punk-metal fusion album "Coup D'Etat", which the Los Angeles Times called "the best slice of heavy metal since the last AC/DC album," with Wendy's vocals so strong as to make the likes of "Pat Benatar sound like Judy Collins." For the next two albums, Williams and Swenson decided not to use THE PLASMATICS name, eliminate the theatrics ("been there, done that"),and focus on Wendy's vocals.
The first of those albums, the "WOW" album, was produced by Gene Simmons of KISS and got Wendy a Grammy nomination for "Best Female Rock Vocal Performance" of the year, and was picked by heavy-metal bible's Kerrang!'s Malcom Dome as "Best Album of the Year." Wanting to bring back the speed of THE PLASMATICS, Wendy's next album, a full-out speed metal album, "Kommander Of Kaos" ("KOK"),was released the next year. And it was during this period in 1985 that this concert was shot. The show was produced by Philip Goodhand-Taite and directed by Williams's former manager and longtime companion, the aforementioned Swenson.
On April 6, 1998, Williams committed suicide at the age of 48. Swenson said he discovered her body in a wooded area near their home in Storrs, Connecticut. The state medical examiner said Williams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Swenson said Williams had been despondent for some time. Along with a will, Williams left a love letter.
"The act of taking my own life is not something I am doing without a lot of thought," she wrote. "I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time. I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights that anyone in a free society should have. For me much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm."
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