Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Butcher Baby Monitor: Wendy O. Williams 70

Let's close out the month of May with some real merriment, with two posts in three days celebrating two no-fuxx-given heroes of modern music.
Today we suspend the meaty sausagefest that constitutes my male-dominated page with one of those ladies for whom there is almost no historical analog.
As much a visual artist as a musical one, for ten years in the 1980s she tore up the rulebook, pissed on it, and then chainsawed it in half on live TV.
For those that believe that Rock 'n' Roll can only excel as confrontational Art that shreds the expectations and sensibilities of its audience with a kind of dangerous, Pure Rebellion, she is still, decades deceased, perhaps the most important and uncompromising female artist of the Rock era.
I remember when her band, The Plasmatics, hit in the late 1970s, and she became the poster child for what the Established Order had to put a stop to for a while.
There had really never been a woman before who middle fingered the norms of propriety like she did. The only other one I could name is Betty Davis, the eroticized funk bombshell who quit the industry after tiring of being told she'd have to "tone it down" to have a music career.
The person most credited for bringing the Mohican hairstyle we now take for granted into fashion, her transgressions and meta-infamous, barely legal stage antics made the Nicki Minajes of today look like Melanie on a dose of the flu.
A deeply committed anti-fascist intent on using music to spread her message, the political implications, both direct and indirect, of her work are often subsumed and forgotten amid the then-unprecedented spectacle she generated.
We take these things from female artists completely for granted today, and shamelessly attack them if they don't supply the sincerity and integrity-of-concept we expect.
But it wasn't always possible for women to make the sorts of often uncomfortable, extreme expressions necessary to great Art.
One of the people that made it possible was born 70 years ago today, and was named Wendy Orlean Williams. There will never be anyone like her, ever again.
I rarely share archival video on here because it takes up too many GB and it's not really the way folks consume it these days, what with the YouTubes and Dailymotions and all that surround us like All-Seeing Eyes.
Today we make an exception, because what Wendy did has to be seen to be fully absorbed. Suffice to say that if 10 artists had this sort of balls today and were not just interested in making the Great Cock of Empty Spectacle ejaculate the jizz-geyser of fame and fortune they crave, the world would change for the immeasurable better.
Plasmatics
WDR Studios 
Bremen, Germany 
2.5.1981 

01 Butcher Baby 
02 Living Dead 
03 Dream Lover 

Total time: 12:36

Wendy Orlean Williams - vocals, chainsaw & sledgehammer
Richard Stotts - guitar 
Wes Beech - guitar 
Jean Beauvoir - bass
Stu Deutsch - drums

PAL DVD of a master VHS of the original German TV broadcast
826 MB PAL here
Don't be fooled by the short length of this footage. Anything more than 12 minutes, the audience -- or the band -- might have burned the Reichstag.
I'll be back Thursday with some even more unfettered, fuck-you-twice rebellion... count on it and I've cooked up something tasty for the occasion too.
Today we have to remind ourselves that were it not for Miss Wendy O. here, artists like who I got coming the day after tomorrow might have never existed, and we should never forget that her uncompromisingly direct manifestations with a sledgehammer and a TV set helped make them all possible.--J.
5.28.1949 - 4.6.1998

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