The Plasmatics – Butcher Baby

In early 1981 I picked up a New Wave / Punk magazine from my local newsagent as it featured a free flexi-disc. This short-lived format sounded awful by todays standards but looked revolutionary. A plastic, flexi 7 inch vinyl in a near luminous colour that actually had a small circle on telling you to put a one pence piece on it so it could be played. The flexi-disc was by Nash the Slash if any reader feels inclined to help me identify the magazine.

I wish I could remember the name of the short-lived magazine but it totally escapes me. It was not Smash Hits or Number One which were circulating at, or around the time. The whole magazine was my first real venture into punk . Full of images of punk bands past ( even then) – it had images of Sid Vicious with full nose-bleed on stage in full colour and made me realise there was more to music than what I had been exposed too / sheltered from.

There was a full-page picture of The Plasmatics a band I had not only never heard at the time – but I’d never heard of them at all. That image was a prime example of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. For a single image to transmit that I was missing out on exciting music made me up my game even as a 10/11-year-old.

About a year later I heard the single Butcher Baby on the Anne Nightingale  radio show on a Sunday evening on Radio 1.

Butcher Baby was originally released in 1978 and given a re-release in 1980 charting at a lowly Number 55 – this hardly matters. I had read about the band chainsawing televisions and guitars on-stage and the music was almost secondary. It is not actually a bad record and is a rare case of the music being secondary to the band and their image / antics.

The single embodies the whole ‘video nasty’ early 80’s outcry. The Evil Dead made the video nasty list and these days is considered, rightly, a classic film.

Not many bands can conjour up the excitement around music like The Plasmatics without even listening to the records. They are in many ways a ‘lost’ band that sum up the early 80’s and late real Punk like few others for many reasons…

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