Debuting at New York's CBGB on July 26, 1978, The Plasmatics are best classified as a post-Sex Pistols, sex and violence, heavy metal, performance art musical group. The original members consisted of Wendy O. Williams (vocals and chainsaw), Richie Stotts (guitar), Wes Beech (guitar), Stu Deutsch (drums), and Chosei Funahara (bass guitar). Funahara was later replaced on bass by Jean Beauvoir.
Wendy Orlean(s) Williams was born in Webster, NY on May 28, 1949. She died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Storrs, Connecticut on April 6, 1998. Williams was considered the most striking of the group's members and was the group's lead vocalist. While on stage, the statuesque mohawked blonde used strategically placed tape to conceal her private parts. Of interest is that, depending upon the source cited, the tape used was masking tape, duct tape, or black electrical tape. On stage performances could include everything from smashing televisions to using a chainsaw on a guitar to masturbation.
Rod Swenson, the band's manager, had previously produced videos with Patti Smith and The Ramones. Swenson discovered Williams as a topless dancer in New York and immediately used her as the front-person for his new band, The Plasmatics. He and Williams remained friends to the end.
Guitarist Richie Stotts sported a blue mohawk, nurse's togs, and assorted tutus and dresses. He later formed a group called The Richie Stotts Experience of which little is now known.
Bass guitarist Jean Beauvoir played with Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul starting in 1982. He released a duo of solo albums (Drums Along the Mohawk 1986; Jacknifed 1988).
Little information is available regarding the other band members.
A Plasmatics Discography
New Hope for the Wretched (Stiff 1980)
Beyond the Valley of 1984 (Stiff 1981)
Metal Priestess (? 1982)
Coup D'etat (Capitol 1982)
(note: The following sources were full of numerous inconsistencies.)
"Plasmatics" IN Encyclopedia of Popular Music / Colin Larkin (ed.) New York : MUZE UK, 1998. vol. 6, p. 4261
"The Plasmatics" IN The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll / Patricia Romanowski, Holly George-Warren (eds.) New York : Fireside, 1995. p. 772