When the stunts stopped, when the shows ended, Williams, in the words of her lover, "found it difficult to lead a normal life."
So, yesterday, in the woods near her Connecticut home, Williams shot herself to death. She was 48.
"She felt she was past her peak...," Rod Swenson, her ex-manager and longtime companion, told the New York Post. "This [suicide] was something she had planned; it was no spur-of-the moment thing."
Williams--a 1985 Grammy nominee--most recently worked in animal care, Swenson said.
It was a not-so-odd job in a life filled with them: macrobiotic cook, lifeguard, sex-show dominatrix.
Rock singer proved to be her most lucrative career.
In 1978, the Williams-fronted Plasmatics burst onto the New York City punk scene. Williams was hard to ignore--her chainsaw (used to slice and dice guitars) as sharp as her trademark Mohawk.
Then there was the matter of her stage wear: sometimes not much more than electrical tape to cover her nipples.
The Plasmatics' cult status owed as much to Williams' stunts as its defiant, radio-unfriendly music. There was the Playboy spread, the blown-up car incident (on Tom Snyder's Tomorrow), the 1981 arrest for making obscene gestures with...a sledgehammer. (The charges were dropped.)
The Plasmatics' recording life lasted until 1987--the last album being Maggots.
Perhaps Williams' most memorable pure music moment was a 1982 duet with Motorhead rocker Lemmy Kilmister--their cover of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man." (Wynette, coincidentally, died in her sleep Monday at age 55.)
She also did rap--recording under the name Ultrafly and the Hometown Girls.
Funeral services were not planned. Williams, Swenson said, wanted to cremated.