Cemetery – WENDY O. WILLIAMS
May 28, 1949 – April 6, 1998
She just needed that one last thrill.
Wendy O. Williams, the “Dominatrix of the Decibels,” was addicted to life so hard, the only high she had left was to end it.
While Lita Ford, Amy Lee, Maria Brink, Lzzy Hale, and Jill Janus, as well as countless other frontwomen in the field, are finally starting to enjoy playing at the same card table with the boys, (though much work is still left to be done for true equality), Wendy had her own club card and played her own game.
She did her own stunts, performed live sex acts, and sang like a beautiful corpse before Slayer made it the standard.
Though Alice and Marilyn have stitched the niche, it was Wendy O. that put the real shock in rock.
The Plasmatics were essentially “Wendy O. and varying company,” who first performed in 1978. But, by 1981, they were introduced on late night TV by Tom Snyder as “the greatest punk band in the world.” Yet, their hits such as, “The Damned,” “Butcher Baby,” and “Masterplan,” were so brutal beyond the pogo, that she rightfully took the title of “Metal Priestess” that same year.
They were banned in England and deathly feared in the corn field states of America. There was no wonder that she and Lemmy Kilmister shared a special relationship that led to the bizarre and fabulous Tammy Wynette cover of “Stand By Your Man.”
Her porn-to-punk shift happened when her manager, Rob Swenson, started shooting videos for The Ramones and Patty Smith.
He saw her as a potential centerpiece for chaos. He called it right.
On MTV.com’s death announcement in 1998, they illustrated, “As frontwoman for the thrash glam Plasmatics, the mohawk-adorned Williams was at least as well known for her outrageous stage antics as she was for her singing. The band, which debuted at CBGB in New York City on July 26, 1978, frequently incorporated such outlandish stunts as smashing a television with a sledgehammer, cutting up a guitar with a chainsaw and firing off a machine gun into its stage act. Williams often appeared on stage adorned with little more than bits of electrical tape.”
Yet, she volunteered at an animal shelter, nursed baby squirrels, and sold vitamins in a health shop.
What made Wendy O. the eclectic phenomenon that she was is a puzzle solved only by those she confided in. But, the last stunt she would ever perform – taking herself into the woods and shooting herself – angered the angry and outraged the outraged. Still, her conflagrating defiance in body, breath, and soul still runs through Metal’s veins today, never to be matched again.