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MAY 23rd 2017
PLASMATICS - LIVE!
ROD SWENSONS LOST TAPES 78-81

Review by Ruben Mosqueda

We’re closely approaching the 20th anniversary of Wendy O. Williams’ suicide [April 8th, 1998]; she was controversial on and off stage, she was an iconic figure in the world of punk rock and she was a trailblazer that paved the way for female artists from Courtney Love to OTEP and everyone else in between.

Wendy O. Williams’ partner, producer and manager Rod Swenson put together a compilation as a tribute to Wendy O. Williams and The Plasmatics. While The Plasmatics was a ‘band’ the focus was mostly on Wendy O. whose stage antics are legendary. In recent months the bulk of the footage that makes up ‘Lost Tapes 1978-1981’ was unearthed by Swenson; as he was rifling through boxes that he was relocating. It was at that point that Swenson found the tapes. Swenson was surprised to find these gems and surprisingly they were unlabel. The footage was salvaged, restored and mastered for DVD. While, this isn’t up to today’s technological standards; it has this endearing ‘bootleg’ quality to it.

There’s no question that the energy of a Plasmatics show will shine throughout the ‘imperfect’ archival footage. One of the highlights on the disc is the CBGBs footage which documents one of the earliest  Plasmatics gigs; “Want You (Baby),” and “Tight Black Pants” are a hell of a treat for hardcore fans as well as the casual fan or the curious. Of course this DVD also features “Butcher Baby” which inspired the metalcore act ‘Butcher Babies.’ As a bonus feature Swenson included; the track “Monkey Suit” which includes footage of the photo shoot for the ‘New Hope For The Wretched’ record cover. All in all this is good archival footage for any Wendy O. Williams or Plasmatics enthusiast.