10 Years of Revolutionary Rock And Roll (MVD)
by Ewan Wadharmi
Groundbreaking. Chainsawing. Car bombing. Culture shocking. The Plasmatics flew in the face of convention, introducing the mohawk to punk rawk and questioning the commercial, consumerist society. Not only did they blend entertainment with acts of social terrorism, they destroyed the boundaries of punk and metal, and later rap and metal. Former stripper Wendy O. Williams had a bodacious set of cerebral lobes, which she employed at every opportunity to re-educate the masses. Unlike the Madonnas of her time, she was able to use her sexuality in a non-compromising and empowering way to affect change.
10 Years…chronicles the band prior to inception on through the uncharacteristically low-key end. Williams, however, did go out with a bang, which the filmmakers completely gloss over. We’re inundated with information and minutiae in areas of record labels, and their owners’ favorite colors. Meanwhile, real areas of interest are ignored. I’ll bet Williams and the other band members had interesting families, but that’s not explored. With so much extraneous info to impart, the narrator speaks very fast in a gentle, disconnected tone like the guy reading stock numbers at the end of a car commercial. While she drones on, random images pop on the screen. The newspaper clippings and song lyrics are unreadable because they flash too quickly while she rambles. Photos and logos splash in a senseless slide show.
The archival live footage is nicely done. There’s a neat feature that allows you to play the entire song, or continue on with the documentary. The interviews with band and associates are fascinating, Wes Beach in particular. But I’m still unclear on the relationship of some of the participants. There’s plenty of great information that unfortunately was thrown together like a scrapbook and sloppily edited.