A recently uploaded video features some of the earliest footage of Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics, performing March 1st, 1979 at CBGB, doing their song “Tight Black Pants” from their first LP, New Hope For the Wretched.
The video below comes to us from Paul Tschinkel, who recorded it for his punk and new wave cable TV show, Inner-Tube, which ran for ten years on Manhattan Cable. We’ve written about Tschinkel and Inner-Tube here before.
Though the upload bills this as the “earliest performance of the band,” the band had been performing for some months prior. We wrote about their actual earliest recorded performance, from July 26th, 1978, HERE.
The Plasmatics, formed by lead singer Wendy O. Williams and manager Rod Swenson in 1977, were at the forefront of American punk, getting their start at the legendary CBGB. Their taboo-busting stage show gained them a huge cult following through the early 80s, featuring the shock antics of Williams, who was prone to wearing little more than electrical tape over her nipples and short school-girl skirts, while chainsawing guitars in half and blowing up cop cars onstage. Wendy O. Williams, who sadly passed in 1998, was one of rock’s all-time ballsiest performers, and her act lead to 1981 obscenity arrests in Cleveland and Milwaukee, where she was also beaten by police and received a charge of battery to an officer (which was later dropped, along with the obscenity charge).
In the clip below, we see, first, a recording of a TV playing an extremely rare music video for the song “Concrete Shoes.” The video is rather racy, featuring a close-up of Wendy doing some over-undie masturbation. When the video ends, Wendy sets up some transistor radios tuned to different stations on a small table and then procedes to smash them all to bits. The band then kicks in with a blistering version of “Tight Black Pants.” Wendy is in a stunning skin-tight pink and black-striped bodysuit that seems to be in danger of falling off of her at any second. At this point, she did not have her signature mohawk—though guitarist Richie Stotts was sporting the Mohican look.
This is priceless historical footage and after watching I find myself saying the same thing I say after viewing any of Paul Tschinkel’s amazing YouTube uploads: “please show us the rest!”