01. I Love Sex (And Rock And Roll) (3:47) – Simmons/Beech/Swenson/Tolliver/Stotts
02. It’s My Life (3:58) – Simmons/Stanley
03. Priestess (3:23) – Beech/Swenson/Romanelli
04. Thief In The Night (3:47) – Simmons/Weissman
05. Opus in Cm7 (4:20) – Swenson/Romanelli
06. Ready To Rock (5:11) – Swenson/Romanelli/Stotts
07. Bump And Grind (4:27) – Beech/Swenson/Romanelli/Tolliver/Stotts
08. Legends Never Die (4:25) – Simmons/Free/Mitchell
09. Ai’t None Of Your Business (3:27) – Simmons/Carr/Vincent
Produced by Gene Simmons.
Track 02 allegedly features the music of KISS with the vocals of Wendy added in which case it would include Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Carr, and Vinnie Vincent plus lead overdubs by Wes Beech.
WENDY O’ WILLIAMS ¤ It’s My Life (1984)
cover credits list Ace Frehley as the special Guest’ on Track 7. Paul Stanley is credited on guitar on track 6. Eric Carr is credited on drums on Track 8. Gene plays bass on the whole album credited as Reginald Van Helsing. Click on covers for large scans. Wendy would cover Track 4 years before KISS would records their version. RIP Wendy…
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW THE BEST KISS ALBUM OF THE EIGHTIES ?, It is a mystery how Gene could be so unfocused during the eighties whilst in Kiss but whilst twiddling the knobs for punk priestess Wendy O Williams on this release he did his best Kiss work for many years. Gene wrote much of the material on offer here and complete with ‘Creatures’ style production it has everything going for it. Kicking off with “I Love Sex (And Rock N Roll)” it is obvious right off the bat that this is not going to be subtle. An obvious declaration of a head on lifestyle it comes off (if you’ll pardon the clumsy puns) as a sleezier version of “I Love Rock Roll” by Joan Jett. “Its My Life” is the best unreleased Kiss song ever, finally showings its face as a “Psycho Circus” reject on the Kiss Box Set, but its the version here that is the best. A snarl of a vocal and covered in attitude its far more believable this time round. “Priestess” is saved by great Kiss style backing vocals and a Frehley style guitar break. “Thief In The Night” is okay but not special, but “Opus in Cm7” is special with grand piano and a sympathetic vocal. A perfect structured ballad with another blazing and innovative guitar lead break. “Ready To Rock” features Paul Stanley on a nice tasty guitar sound and is an anthemic chant much in the “I Love It Loud” mode with those thunderous drums (which sound like the late great Carr). “Bump and Grind” has a tongue in cheek approach, at least you hope it is with the saucy line of ‘got a problem in my head got a problem in my pants do ya wanna bump and grind with me’. A orbit launching solo from Space Ace also adds a nice touch and reminded me at the time how much he was missed in Kiss sound. How Gene Simmons (credited as bass player Reginald Van Helsing on this) couldn’t persuade “Legends Never Die” to appear on a Kiss album but could pursued them to release a field of second rate dross for almost a decade defies understanding. The best song on this, hands down a touching tale of life in the spotlight being cut short. Even more sad when it became all too true with Wendy O Williams ending her own life years later. “Ain’t None of Your Business” sounds like a “Lick It Up” left over with a very Vincent sounding guitar sound, not surprising as he receives a co-writing credit. If not bitter sweet in the fact that it showed Gene was still capable of delivering the goods “WOW” does just that. Buy on site with no regrets what so ever.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanna kill all vegetation and animal life within a hundred mile radius?,
Buy this and play it at the loudest volume your speakers will go. Nothing, not Motorhead, not Twisted Sister, not Judas Priest, not the Misfits, not the Ramones, not latter day Dick Dale, NOTHING is louder than this album. Wendy may be gone, but WOW lives on.
5.0 out of 5 stars There was only one Wendy,
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the recording of this album. Ace Frehley had just left KISS, but he and Gene Simmons both contributed to this album. Wendy was the leader of the punk band Plasmatics, but this album took her toward a more hard rock/metal direction.
The album kicks off with the sleazy anthem I love sex (and rock n roll). It doesn’t get more in your face than that. Look for resemblances between her ‘Thief in the Night’ and the KISS version that would appear later.
All in all songs like Bump n Grind, Ready to Rock, It my Life, and Priestess are exactly what you’d expect from Wendy. Hard, fast, rebellious, fist in the air rock. She was a one of a kind and is sorely missed by her fans. Why she left us behind to endure this Britney Spears dominated world is beyond me. If only she had had a comeback tour. Complete with the mohawk and black electrical tape. She could have gotten the chain saw back out and showed teeny boppers how a real rocker performs a show.
5.0 out of 5 stars “”KISS Made all over again, Metal Music at its BEST””,
KISS today, needs to go back to this sound. THIS Heavy Metal Sound, Is almost Heavier than “”Creatures Of the Night””. You can’t get better than this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Music like this, they do not make anymore. Songs like I love sex and Rock and Roll, Thief in the Night, Opus in Cm7, and the best one of the LP, “”BUMP AND GRIND””. Ace Frehlely is so AMAZING ON LEAD GUITAR, I was so glad that Ace, Gene, Paul, and Eric worked together on this LP.I have to say, Wendy O Williams and Kiss go so good together, It too bad that Ms. Williams is no longer with us today, she is so missed dearly. KISS AND HEAVY METAL FANS, BUY THIS TODAY, I DID. It sure feels so good to hear METAL MUSIC LIKE THIS, “”Legends Never Die””, I sure believe that.
5.0 out of 5 stars doesn’t get better than this you can’t ask for a more kickin’ LP from a female rocker (god rest her soul). Even with the heavy kiss influence, she still is as original as they come. I find it to be in the same vein as coup d’etat. Also worth noting is ace frehley smokin’ guitar work on bump and grind (that worth the price alone). 5.0 out of 5 stars WOW is wow, I love Wendy O and The Plasmatics. This is a great album! and having members of KISS in it helps along! This albums need to be in your collection!
A far cry from Wendy’s anarchist Plasmatic beginnings. Great album.
Top trax – I Love Sex & Rock n’ Roll, It’s My Life and Bump & Grind
After working with Lemmy and Philthy Phil on the cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man”, Wendy O. Williams sought out the assistance of KISS main man Gene Simmons for her next project. The Plasmatics had previously toured with KISS, thus the alliance was born.
The Plasmatics name was tied-up in legal hassles at this time, so hard-livin’ Wendy simply used her initials for the title of the latest album, _WOW_. With Gene holding down the production work, as well as playing bass (under the name “Reginald Van Helsing”), and sessions work laid down by Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Eric Carr, Wendy O. slapped out a set of pure metal cuts for the 1984 _WOW_ album.
The shock rock disc is primed by the Simmons/Stanley penned raging anthem, “It’s My Life”, an immediate cut, that stands out from this LP, while “Opus in Cm7” is a big time ballad. The mohawk and electrical tape were gone, but the energy continued from the low-life princess of porn metal. The cliches run deep, as evident by “I Love Sex (and Rock and Roll)”, “Ready to Rock” and “Bump and Grind”. There are those among us that refer to _WOW_ the best “KISS” recording of the ’80s.
KNOCK IT BACK!
No, you are not reading things wrong. This is part of the Kiss Review Series. You may ask yourself why because Wendy O. Williams was a part of the Plasmatics, she wasn’t in Kiss? How can this possibly be a part of this series? There are so many reasons why and I will go on record and say that this might be the best Kiss album that is not a Kiss album. WTF??? Am I smoking some weed, have I been drinking? The answer to both of this is None of your business. I guess I need to explain myself a little.
This is part of the Kiss series because nearly every member of Kiss at the time was on this album, most songs were written by members of Kiss and Gene Simmons was the producer of this album. Basically, it is a Kiss album. The bass player on this album was named Reginald Van Helsing who was actually Gene. And a funny point about the bass playing…Gene played Bass on more of these songs than he has on any Kiss album around this time period. What other Kiss members were on this album? Here is the list…
- Paul Stanley
- Ace Frehley
- Eric Carr
- Vinnie Vincent
So, yes…this is part of the Kiss Review Series!
Enough about that. Wendy O. Williams was the lead singer of the punk band, the Plasmatics and on her first solo attempt, she wrangled Gene Simmons to be her producer (or he wrangled her to let him). When the album came out, it had mixed reviews. A lot of the Plasmatics fans weren’t real thrilled as this was more of a rock album in the same vein as Kiss and much less than the punk rock sound of her previous band. In my opinion, that should be the case. It should sound different. It is a solo album for goodness sakes and not another Plasmatics album. Now, the album did have some of her former band mates including Wes Beach on guitar and T.C. Tolliver on drums. Strangely enough, Jean Beauvior from the band was not on this album because he was actually busy song writing with Paul Stanley and playing bass on a few Kiss songs since Gene was busy doing this…small world.
As I said, the album didn’t do great, but it didn’t do half bad either. Wendy’s performance did garner her a Grammy nomination in 1985 for “Best Female Rock Vocalist of the Year”. That is pretty awesome. Of course she did lose as some little known singer named Tina Turner took the prize home that year.
That is enough talking right now, let us get to the music, but before we do that, I don’t own this album yet on vinyl, but I am so looking for it out there as it will make a great addition to the Kiss Collection. Now away we go to the music…
The first song on the album is called “I Love Sex (And Rock And Roll)” which was written by a slew of people including Gene Simmons, Wes Beach, Rod Swenson, T.C. Tolliver and Richie Stotts. I guess each member must have contributed a small piece because it is not an overly complicated sounding song. It is a ballbuster of a track, heavy on the drum sound and that drum sound is eerily similar to the Kiss ‘Creatures of the Night’ drum sound. None of the Kiss guys, other than Gene, are credited on this song, but the guitar is also a familiar sound. It is a pure Gene type song as it encapsulates sex and rock & roll. Wendy’s gritty sounding vocals are great for rock and were great for punk too and her scream at the end is pure rock & roll. Great opening track.
…..The next song is actually one of my favorite Kiss songs called “It’s My Life”. It was written by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons which is rare at this time that they would write a song together as they normally wrote separately. Wendy attacks with all her heart and she does a great job. This is such a fun, anthemic song which is why it was the first single on the album (and only single). This song was demoed for ‘Creatures’, but not used and given to Wendy to do. Kiss would later demo it again for ‘Psycho Circus’, but again didn’t make the album. Kiss finally released that demo on the Kiss Box Set and Gene released the original demo on ‘The Vault’.
We then get another Kiss song, this time it is “Thief In the Night” which was written by Gene and Mitch Weissman and Kiss actually performed it on their 1987 album ‘Crazy Nights’. This version has nasty rawness, it is rough around the edges and has a little more balls then the Kiss version. Micheal Ray’s lead guitar work is great as he nailed the solo for this one. This is another rocking track and 4 solid tracks in a row.
Side 2 kicks off with the rocker, “Ready to Rock” which was written by Rod Swenson, Chris Romanelli and Richie Stotts. The cool thing about this track is that some of the guitar work was handled by Paul Stanley. This song brings back some of that heavy drum sound that pounds throughout and there is a cool guitar riff that comes in and out. Wendy screams out the lyrics with such power and is another powerful anthem which starts off the side with a vengeance. It sounds like it could fit on any Kiss album around this time, but not sure if I would want Paul or Gene singing.
…“Bump And Grind” attacks you next with Ace Frehley on lead guitar and that is all you want in a song anyway, right!! The song was written by Wes Beech, Rod Swenson, T.C. Tolliver, Chris Romanelli and Richie Stotts. Again another song by a lot of people that doesn’t seem that hard to write, but whatever. The title of the song doesn’t hide anything as to what this about and Wendy’s grunt at the beginning of the doesn’t either. There is nothing subtle about this it is pure energy, pure rock & roll nastiness. And hell yeah!!! Now, could you tell it as Ace on the solo…yeah!! The funny thing is, I don’t know how well the solo fit the song, but I still loved hearing Ace as he was no longer in the band at this point.
….Now we get to one of my favorite songs on the album “Legends Never Die” which was written by Gene Simmons, Adam Mitchell and Micki Free. This also happens to be one of my favorite songs on Gene’s ‘The Vault’ with him singing. It is a ballad and Wendy does her best to soften her voice and personae to fit the mood of the song and she does a great job. The drum work on this is obviously the late, great, Eric Carr. He doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to show off, but you can tell that sound is him. A nice change of tempo for the album and at its essence is a great song.
….The last track is another all Kiss writing song with Gene Simmons, Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent called “Ain’t None of Your Business”. The song is an all out rocker, but a little all over the place, although Wendy does with what she can and it does have a catchy chorus. It does have Vinnie on guitar and he throws in riffs all over the place.
- I Love Sex (And Rock And Roll) – Keeper
- It’s My Life – Keeper
- Priestess – Keeper
- Thief in the Night – Keeper
- Opus in Cm7 – Keeper
- Ready to Rock – Keeper
- Bump ‘N’ Grind – Keeper
- Legends Never Die – Keeper
- Ain’t None of Your Business – ?
The Track Score is 8 out of 9 or 89% which is way better than I would’ve expected when I decided to review this one. I had never listened to it before and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe it is all the Kiss connections and the sound was familiar and I knew a couple of the songs already as Kiss has done them since. I found Wendy O. Williams vocals to be great rock vocals with a lot of edge or more balls than some rock singers. I have to say, I will listen to this again and again. For that, I am going to give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars. Yes, the album has some faults, but for a straight-up rock album, it fits the bill nicely. You couldn’t ask for much more than this.
Great informative video reviews of this fantastic LP
Great informative video review of this fantastic LP
W.O.W Wendy O Williams:
In life and death, Wendy O. believed in three basic tenets: Never Compromise, Never Surrender, and (most importantly), Posers Get Lost. The Plasmatics, her crazed punk-metal shock rock wrecking ball, was the supersonic distillation of her Nietzsche-like belief system, and they blazed a trail of chaos and mayhem through the 70’s and 80’s that nobody could touch. Not Alice Cooper, not the Sex Pistols, nobody. Somebody had to be the wildest rocker of ‘em all, and that somebody was Wendy O. Williams.
Wendy Orleans Williams was born in Rochester, NY. She grew up on a farm, and ran away from home at age 16. In the early 70’s, she wound up in Europe, where she started a career as a stripper. She moved back to Noo Yawk and met up with filth hound Rod Swenson, who first employed her as a dancer, nude model, and one-time porn star – she had a memorable bit part in Candy Goes to Hollywood (1979) – before ol’ Rod had the brilliant idea of setting this powderkeg to blow live, on stage, with a full-fledged rock n’ roll band. And so, the Plasmatics were born.
“We’re about violence and destruction, destroying objects and material possessions of our greedy society”, Wendy said back in ’79, and she meant it, man. Early Plasmatics gigs featured exploding televisions, hangings, blood, tits, electrocutions, and searing, rip-roaring punk rock’n’roll. They were signed to Stiff, released the seminal New Hope for the Wretched in 1980, and then started doing stuff like blowing up cars on TV. There were obscenity busts, there was filth and fury, there was magic and madness. Wendy had an insatiable need for speed and excitement, which manifested itself in rock n’ roll-as-shock-performance-art. Fire, destruction, explosives, public nudity, she did it all, baby.The Plasmatics were formed by Yale University graduate and radical anti-artist Rod Swenson with 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, blowing up speaker cabinets and sledgehammering 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 before being charged with public indecency. The group was banned in London, where they were labeled as anarchists, and riots followed in Zürich and elsewhere.
The Plasmatics’ career spanned five studio albums.The core of the band consisted of vocalist/front person Wendy O. Williams, guitarists Richie Stotts and Wes Beech, and manager Rod Swenson. Bassists and drummers rotated frequently over the years
In 1988, it was officially announced that Wendy and the Plasmatics were “going on hiatus.” Rod later told Classic Rock magazine that they both knew they had stopped.
Wendys last performance of a Plasmatics song occurred due to the prompting of Joey Ramone. She performed “Masterplan” one final time with Richie Stotts, when Richies band opened for the Ramones on New Years Eve, 1988.
She went solo in 1984, releasing the Gene Simmons-produced WOW, which is a spectacular record. She followed that with the monstrous, live-without-a-net Kommander of Kaos and also starred in the camp classic women-in-prison flick Reform School Girls.
She essentially retired from rock’n’roll in the early 90s and moved to Connecticut, devoting most of her time to animal advocacy. In 1993, she attempted suicide for the first time by hammering a knife into her own chest, which is, I mean, that is the most Wendy O. way to go possible. She was discovered and rescued by Rod Swenson, but for Wendy, the die was already cast. On Monday, April 6th, 1998, Wendy O., the Metal Priestess, the Queen of Shock Rock, the Kommander of Kaos, the baddest rock’n’roll motherfucker who ever lived, took a walk into the woods near her home. She sat on a rock and fed some squirrels, then she took a pistol and shot herself in the head. In a press release on April 7th, Swenson wrote that Wendy had been talking about suicide for nearly four years, because she “felt, in effect, she’d peaked, and didn’t care to live in a world in which she was uncomfortable, and below peak any longer.”
Wendy did it her way, right until the end. She even decided when the end was going to happen. What a bad-ass.