Monday, July 02, 2007

The real queen of punk rock

(text taken from eternal flame) The Plasmatics, founded in 1978, rose to fame from sensational beginnings at CBGB's in New York City where Wendy and the band were known for fast aggressive music and on stage theatrics which included Wendy's regular chain-sawing of guitars and the detonation of speaker cabinets. After inking a record deal with Stiff records they rapidly grew to large venues where the "queen of shock rock," as she came to be known, expanded the theatrical repertoire to include blowing up cars on stage and collapsing lighting trusses. After having a show banned in London in 1979 the group retuned to New York, were helicoptered onto a New York pier where, in front of some 20,000 people after playing a short set, Wendy drove a cadillac into a stage loaded with explosives jumping out of the car seconds before it hit the stage and car and stage blew up. The band made numerous TV appearances inclubing two on Tom Snyder's "Tomorrow" Show where they also blew up a car in the studio. Among other things, the band is generally credited with bringing the mohawk haircut to rock'n roll. Wendy being the first high-profiled woman to wear a mohawk, and with her carefully shredded clothing was voted to People Magazine's Best Dressed List. She was also nominated for a grammy award as Best Female Rock Singer. The band, which in an early review Billboard magazine said "makes Kiss look like greasy kid stuff" toured from 1978 until 1988. Ironically, Gene Simmons of Kiss would later produce one of three Wendy O. Williams solo albums in 1982. Other notable pairings included a speed-metal cover of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" with lead singer for the UK's number one speed metal band Motorhead. [Dimmu Borghild note: Motorhead is NOT a speed metal band]

CT, Rod Swenson, who had been Wendy's significant other for more than twenty years, returned from shopping to the wooded area where the two had lived since moving to Connecticut from New York. He found a package that Wendy had left him with some special noodles he liked, a packet of seeds for growing garden greens, some oriental massage balm, and sealed letters from Wendy.
The suicide letters which included a "living will" denying life support, a love letter to Swenson, and various lists of things to do set Swenson searching the woods looking for her. After about an hour, and after it was almost dark, he found the body in woods near an area where she loved to feed the wildlife. Several nut shells were on a nearby rock where she had apparently been feeding some of the squirrels before she died. Swenson checked the body for a pulse, and there was none. A pistol lay on the ground nearby, and he returned to the house to call the local authorities. "Wendy's act was not an irrational in-the-moment act," he said, she had been talking about taking her own life for almost four years. She was at home in the peak of her career, but found the more ordinary 'hypocrisies of life' as she called them excruciatingly hard to deal with. In one sense she was the strongest person I have ever known, and in another, a side which most people never saw, the most vulnerable. She felt, in effect, she'd peaked and didn't care to live in a world in which she was uncomfortable, and below peak any longer. Speaking personally for myself, I loved her beyond imagination. She was a source of strength, inspiration, and courage. The pain at this moment in losing her is inexpressible. I can hardly imagine a world without Wendy Williams in it. For me such a world is profoundly diminished."

One of the suicide notes Wendy left read as follows:
"The act of taking my own life is not something I am doing without a lot of thought. 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. Love always, Wendy."

Wendy asked that no flowers be sent, but those who would like to make a donation in her memory can do so to: The Quiet Corner Wildlife Center, 109 Ashford Center Road, Ashford, CT 06276.

Thanks to Punk Not Profit, you can get the three Plasmatics albums "Meet The Plasmatics", "New Hope For The Wretched", "Metal Priestess" here.

28 May 1949 Wendy Orlean Williams born, Rochester NY.
1978 The Plasmastics formed, New York City.
1979 Stars in a porno film, Candy Goes to Hollywood!. The ping-pong ball scene is sensational, really showing off Wendy's muscular control over her no-no place.
Apr 1981 Acquitted of obscenity (for performing wearing only shaving cream.)
Nov 1981 Beat a photographer, sentenced to one year probation.
1982 Covered Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man with Lemmy from Motorehead.
1985 Nominated for a Grammy, Best Female Rock Vocal.
22 Aug 1986 Film, Reform School Girls.
18 Jan 1991 Arrested for onstage obscenity, Milwaukee WI.
6 Apr 1998 Shoots herself in the head outside in the woods of her home, Storrs CT.

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