Friday, April 9, 2010

Man Up: Malcolm McLaren, 1946-2010

Malcolm McLaren, perhaps best known as the manager of the infamous Sex Pistols, passed away yesterday at the age of 64.

While opinions about McLaren run both hot and cold, former SP frontman John Lydon commented, "For me Malc was always entertaining, and I hope you remember that. Above all else he was an entertainer and I will miss him, and so should you."

During punk's heyday, McLaren was married to designer Vivienne Westwood and the couple operated the shop Sex, which was responsible for both creating and disseminating many of the culture's iconic looks.

Always seeking new opportunities, particularly in music, McLaren once approached the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the mid-1980s and wanted to overhaul the band:
After hearing a short, live set, McLaren was "clearly unimpressed"--according to Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis. He then proposed to reinvent the group and have them play really stripped-down, basic punk rock, with all of the emphasis on the frontman, Kiedis.

Although Kiedis was flattered to be considered, he, along with the rest of the bandmates rejected the offer. Kiedis recalled the event, saying, "It was like the Wizard of Oz had spoken, and what he had said was too ludicrous to take seriously," as his proposition was very different to the band's musical style.
As for more recent projects, McLaren co-produced the documentary Fast Food Nation, based on Eric Schlosser's book.

His obit in the NYT closes with the following:
Mr. McLaren spent much of the last 30 years trying to explain punk. "I never thought the Sex Pistols would be any good," he told The Times of London last year. "But it didn’t matter if they were bad."

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