Great Punk Albums of 1981: The Plasmatics- Beyond the Valley of 1984

Beyond-the-valley-of-1984

During the mid 1980s, I was asked by some non-officianados of metal what was the difference between punk and metal. My response at the time was that metal musicians could play their instruments better. Yes, I know that was a very ignorant statement and I would gladly travel back in time and slap myself across the fact for saying it. The Plasmatics were and still are considered a punk rock band but after listening to their 1981 “Beyond the Valley of  1984,” I concede that I was dead wrong about punk bands having limited playing talent. This band can definitely play.

First of all, I would never expect a band who couldn’t play to begin their album with a complex sounding instrumental but that is exactly what “Incarnation” is. However after that, they launch into a full scale attack with the anti-right wing song “Masterplan,” which definitely gets the heart pumping. You only get a quick breather afterwards, just long enough for lead singer Wendy O. Williams to say “Come on all you head bangers,” before you are once again assaulted by the song of similar name. “Headbanger” does exactly what it says on the tin, it gets your head banging. That song isn’t the only one where Wendy entices you with a cool spoken intro. She does the same with “Fast Food Service” where she says, “If going all the way ain’t right, honey let me out tonight” before the band launches into a Ramones style one, two, three go power surge and though it only lasts less than a minute and a half, you are fulfilled at the end. But Miss Williams is more than just a smooth talker of lines, this album demonstrates that she can sign too.

“Hit Man,” “Living Dead” and “Sex Junkie” are all great tunes and are followed by the piste de resistance. If there was any doubt about the playing ability of the Plasmatics, it is smashed to bits with “Plasma Jam.” This live recording is simply killer and has me asking why isn’t Richie Stotts mentioned along with other great lead guitarists. Fortunately “Plasma Jam” is simply the climax and not the conclusion. That comes with the closing song “Pig is a Pig” which starts out with another Wendy speech ripping on journalists. Fair dues I say.

Track Listing:

1. Incarnation

2. Masterplan

3. Headbanger

4. Summer Nite

5. Nothing

6. Fast Food Service

7. Hit Man

8. Living Dead

9. Sex Junkie

10. Plasma Jam

11. Pig is a Pig

The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams- lead vocals, chainsaw

Wes Beech- rhythm guitar

Richie Stotts- lead guitar

Jean Beauvoir- bass, piano, synthesizers

Neal Smith- drums, percussion

In the mid 80s, punk and metal would have a love child named thrash but more said on that at the appropriate time. However, The Plasmatics were definitely one of the donors to that union as can be heard from this album “Beyond the Valley of 1984”

Next post: The Dead Kennedys- In God We Trust Inc

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Responses to “Great Punk Albums of 1981: The Plasmatics- Beyond the Valley of 1984”

  1. Awesome!!! I have a deep appreciation of metal and some punk rock. I will definitely check this band out!!! Your enthusiasm in your writing demands that I do. 😃

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  2. Oooo, I really don’t know their stuff at all. I know Lemmy was a big fan of Ms Williams though …

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    • Some of her solo stuff after the Plasmatics is really good. That also explains why I saw them on the same bill in New York back in 1985. The Plasmatics’ stuff is definitely worth checking out

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