The Plasmatics were an American punk band, formed by Yale graduate holder and radical anti-artist Rod Swenson, around Wendy O. Williams. The band was a controversial group known for wild live shows that broke countless taboos as part of an assault on American popular culture.
In addition to chainsawing guitars onstage, blowing up speaker cabinets and sledghammering television sets, Williams and the Plasmatics blew up automobiles live on stage. Williams was arrested multiple times and was seriously beaten in Milwaukee by the Milwaukee police after being charged with public indecency. The group was banned in London where they were labeled as anarchists, and riots followed in Zürich and elsewhere.
Williams and the Plasmatics career spanned 7 albums, several which were released as Wendy O. Williams solo albums. She received a Grammy nomination for one of them as Best Female Rock Vocalist. The influence of the group's innovative mix of punk rock and heavy metal has been felt far and wide. Williams, the first woman to ever sport a mohawk on American TV and who may be considered the most controversial and radical female singer in rock, committed suicide on April 8, 1998 rather than participating in career choices that she felt would have amounted to a sell-out. "The empty place she leaves in the world with her passing", said her life companion as well as manager at her memorial service, "will never be replaced."