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Billboard: General News

September 27, 1980

Rock'n'Rolling

Plasmatics Pull Off A Big N.Y. Explosion

By Roman Kozak

NEW YORK- Watched over by the city's police department, fire department, the bomb squad, the harbor patrol, crews from all the city's television stations, over 100 press, and some 25,000 fans, the Plasmatics - still unsigned in the U.S. - pulled off the most explosive (performance piece) in the history of rock.

Late Friday afternoon the band celebrated its return home after a controversial visit to Britain with a half-hour (performance piece) at the end of Pier 62 on the Hudson River. At the climax of the performance, lead singer Wendy O. Williams climbed into a 1972 Cadillac Coup de Ville parked at the foot of the pier and drove it into the stage, jumping out before explosives went off and the car skidded across the demolished stage and into the river.

"I don't think we could have pulled this off anywhere else but in New York. But as the event got closer, and it looked like we were going to be doing a kind of live 'Apocalypse Now' the authorities started tightening up, " said Rod Swenson, the band's conceptual mentor who organized the extravaganza. As it is, a regular Plasmatics concert performance ends in the destruction of televisions, radios, guitars, amps and sometimes automomobiles.

The group recently made front page headlines in Britain where...the Greater London Council banned a scheduled Plasmatics concert because the group planned to blow up a Rolls Royce onstage. In New York, says Swenson, the show nearly didn't go on at the last minute because three times as many fans as expected turned up to see the event. It was promoted for only two days with ads in the Village Voice and Soho News, and by some wall posters around the city.

Swenson says the authorities forced him to remove 30% of the explosives on the stage (and imposed further constraints as a the event turned into a full-blown news event and thousands clogged downtown traffic).

Williams, taken from the scene in an ambulence, suffered a minor hip bruise jumping out of the car (and was otherwise uninjured). There were no other injuries or incidents, though the fire department turned its hoses, not nearly at full force, on fans who mobbed the stage after the performance looking for souvenirs. Afterwards they dispersed peacefully.

The event was budgeted for $20,000, but final costs pushed it past the $30,000 mark, says Swenson. To get back in the black the band is about to embark on an extensive tour of the Midwest and West. Then it is back to Europe, all the while plotting its next assault...

End

News: The video made of this piece the famous "Pier 62 Video" which was shown prior to many Plasmatics performances on a number of tours, but never released to the general public, is now being made available at plasmatics.com for the first time. Click here to go to the page.