Skip

RIP Malcolm McLaren
April 8, 2010 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Malcolm McLaren, one of pop's sharpest, most fantastic minds has died at his home in New York, aged 64.
posted by RegMcF (95 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Did you ever get the feeling you'd been cheated?
posted by box at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2010 [16 favorites]


I just loaded Fans and Duck Rock on to my MP3 player in the past few weeks, so I've been thinking about him lately.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:34 AM on April 8, 2010


You can accuse McLaren of a lot of unfavorable things, be he was always interesting.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Long live the Great Rock 'n Roll Swindle.

.
posted by tiger yang at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2010


Too soon. Or too late. Depending on whether you had an opinion on how he managed his acts.

All the same, a hat tip from me. He changed the world in ways few people could manage.
posted by ardgedee at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


whoa
posted by desuetude at 11:40 AM on April 8, 2010


What's that? Malcolm McLaren died? Makes you feel sad, doesn't it? Like your grandfather died... Yeah it's just too bad it couldn't have been Mick Jagger.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 11:41 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by thivaia at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2010


*

(That's a puddle of vomit. From a Punk. RIP Malcolm.)
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on April 8, 2010


I'm grateful to him for helping Vivienne Westwood's career, anyway.
posted by padraigin at 11:44 AM on April 8, 2010


What's the time? Hey, buddy!
Hey, buddy, buddy, buddy, buddy, buddy!
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whoa. Whatever else you could say about him, he certainly did have a huge (direct and indirect) impact on music and fashion in my world, at least.

.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was a little sketchy, yes. A lot of those early punks and their managers were really sketchy people. Sketchy people are often the ones who change the world.

The amount of time he actually spent changing the world was pretty short, yes (although not as short as it is sometimes made out to be). Still, how much time do you actually need a bomb to spend exploding?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


For better or worse, rock'n'roll has always had it's share of colorful sleazy exploitive managers.
posted by octothorpe at 11:56 AM on April 8, 2010


Who killed Bambi?

.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whoa. I always thought he would be one of those eternal English eccentrics, but I guess not. Too bad he didn't get to make his own sardonic and truth-challenged biography (and no, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle doesn't count).
posted by maudlin at 12:03 PM on April 8, 2010


Holy shit.
posted by jokeefe at 12:04 PM on April 8, 2010


This getting old and dying thing sucks.
posted by jokeefe at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Visionary. This world is less without him.

.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:06 PM on April 8, 2010




"Buffalo Gals" (I'd link to the Wikipedia entry but it's woefully inadequate) -- probably one of the most underrated and most influential tracks of the 1980s. Here's a decent review of Duck Rock, the album on which it appeared, attesting to why it matters.

Rest in peace.
posted by blucevalo at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by mikel at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by vibrotronica at 12:14 PM on April 8, 2010


!
posted by run"monty at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2010


Here's the video for Buffalo Gals. It's still pretty awesome.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


So long, Malcolm. You certainly made my 70's and 80's fun.

.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:23 PM on April 8, 2010


More recently he stood for the then newly created London mayoralty in 2000. Amongst his policies was the serving of alcohol in libraries.

Ha, awesome!

I was raised on such a steady diet of Lydon's vitriol toward McLaren that I always assumed I'd be all, GOOD, FUCK OFF when Malcolm actually died, but I must admit to feeling shocked and sad. A sketchy bastard in his own way, but one who managed to do more than his fair bit to help shake up a culture that badly needed shaking.
posted by scody at 12:30 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


He's the reason I began wearing safety pins in my ears in the early 80s. I'm guessing a lot of moms will not miss his influence on their kids. *pogos*
posted by heyho at 12:31 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Young.
posted by Flex1970 at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2010


"Never trust a hippie"

.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2010


"Cash from chaos"

.
posted by Webbster at 12:38 PM on April 8, 2010


"all this scratching is making me itch ... anyone got any more of that snow white?"

punk is dead. wonder how lydon feels, now he's all respectable.

.
posted by marienbad at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Both burned out and faded away.

.
posted by item at 12:54 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


.

Rock and roll swindler or no, at least he helped bring the Sex Pistols to the world.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:57 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]



.

Two buffalo gals, round the outside, round the outside, and do-si-do your partners !

Growing up in the late 90s, I was about 13 and beginning to use napster, just starting to explore the music outside what I heard on corporate radio. I don't remember how I found it, but I recall it was one of the first times that I heard spoken words sampled. It wasn't rap, but it sort of was, there were other samples being used, and he sounded like it.

Whenever I played it at parties or on my college radio show, I'd always get curious people asking me who it was.
posted by fizzix at 12:58 PM on April 8, 2010


 __   . _
(c_{____()

posted by mwhybark at 1:02 PM on April 8, 2010


Do not play the game; do not give the game away.
posted by mwhybark at 1:04 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The spectacle has lost a co-conspirator. A big loss for reality.
posted by debord at 1:11 PM on April 8, 2010


This is no good. Things would have been much more Pat Boone without him.
posted by pracowity at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2010


fizzix - did you move onto Coldcut after that?
posted by Artw at 1:16 PM on April 8, 2010


So long, Malcolm. You certainly made my 70's and 80's fun.

Can't think of better way to say it than that.
posted by marxchivist at 1:17 PM on April 8, 2010


Buffalo Gals, yah, and don't forget the Supreme Team.

I will have to go put on some vinyl tonight.

RIP Malcom
posted by caddis at 1:20 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by sswiller at 1:21 PM on April 8, 2010


About a year ago a friend of mine was contacted by Malcolm McLaren because he had made some weird industrial jewelry that Malcolm wanted to buy for some art gallery he was running. My friend asked me if I wanted to come out with them, which, of course I did. So we ended up at this place in the West Village, with Malcolm standing in the middle of the room yelling "champagne, bring me champagne" until someone did. At which point he looked at it and said "no, take it away and put a strawberry in it, love, I don't drink anything without strawberries in it." So the waitress took it away and brought him back the same glass of champagne with a strawberry in it. He took the strawberry out of the champagne, mashed it into my hair, and then drank the champagne. I don't know what that is, but it might be style. RIP.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:25 PM on April 8, 2010 [26 favorites]


.

I ♥ his 1994 album Paris.
posted by ericb at 1:35 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by gomichild at 2:14 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:14 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:20 PM on April 8, 2010


Duck Rock was one of the most influential hip-hop albums of my life. It turned me on to B-boy and B-girl sub-culture. That and LL Cool J's Radio and Run-DMC's "It's Like That" 12" single. And New Order's "Confusion 12". THOSE were the days. We must have played "Buffalo Gals" and Double Dutch" a thousand times. We just kept recording the track over and over on cassette tapes and kept breaking but we kept dancing.

I'm talking about walking around with rolls of "skid" (flooring) to spread out at the drop of a beat and start DANCING. In PUBLIC. It was outrageous. It was fun. People loved it. In fact, I have the song playing in the background right now, and my fingers are popping and locking.

It was the early 1980's and I was a teenager. Devo and the Cars the Sex Pistols were staples. (I leaned towards Devo.) And I had no idea of the connection between the Sex Pistols and Malcolm McClaren until a long time later.

Then came Fans. And I want you to know that Malcolm McClaren once again helped me to transition. This time to gay culture. (I was/am bi.)

A lot of albums and artists have been influenced by Malcolm McClaren. He was/is a provocateur. He artistry is heavy on style, and long on influence. And he is remembered? No way, McClaren is unforgettable! I mean, Eminem's "Without Me"? Ha! Talk about irony. Talk about a shout-out. PLUS the Sex Pistols and The Great Rock N Roll Swindle??

Yes, McClaren's place in the scheme of things is solid.

In fact, "Double Dutch" has got me jumping right now!

SKIP THEY DOOS THE DUBBLE DUTCH THATS THEM DANCING!!
posted by Mike Mongo at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]




Is this where I admit that I was more appreciative for Bow Wow Wow, which I think is the lost masterpeice of the 80s, then the Sex Pistols.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:43 PM on April 8, 2010


The man fought the good fight against dreary american hippydom - RIP
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:46 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by iviken at 2:48 PM on April 8, 2010


double dutch blew my mind in 1983 and it's blowing my mind right now.

we really had nothing like it.

a sad day.
posted by rog at 3:30 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


.

One of my favorites - Madame Butterfly
posted by Edward L at 3:31 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by snsranch at 3:33 PM on April 8, 2010


Damn. I was just putting together a post on this. Preview, dear Spoobnooble, preview!

Anyway, here are the links I was going to post:

MM's obituary posted at CBC.ca

The Sex Pistols, "God Save The Queen" (obvious link)
The New York Dolls, "Looking For A Kiss (though McLaren only managed the Dolls long after the band peaked, this was where he prepped for his eventual career in music)
Bow Bow Wow, "I Want Candy" (another obvious link)
Adam and The Ants, "Ant Music" (I just like the chord progression in the chorus, really...)

... plus a few repeats from above:
Malcolm McLaren, 'Madame Butterfly'
Malcolm McLaren, "Buffalo Gals"
... and only because I think I'm the only one who remembers this:
Malcolm McLaren, "Deep in Vogue"
posted by spoobnooble at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Duke999R at 4:11 PM on April 8, 2010


R.I.P. Malcolm. You helped show us there was much more than arena rock or disco.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:17 PM on April 8, 2010


I loved the track he had on the Kill Bill soundtrack.
posted by reenum at 4:38 PM on April 8, 2010


I think I just officially got old. Can't leave a dot for him, the swindling auld bastard, but I'm really conflicted about this - someone who was a part of making me "me" has died. Feels a bit like when a relative you've never got on with goes.

Sorry if that makes no sense, it's late.
posted by meosl at 4:39 PM on April 8, 2010


He was such a big inspiration to me as an unhappy kid. this makes me so sad.
Double Dutch still inspires me in times of trouble.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:54 PM on April 8, 2010


For better or worse, modern music would not have been the same without him, at least the music I listened to ...
posted by krinklyfig at 5:04 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:36 PM on April 8, 2010


I am listening right now to the World's Famous thanks to Malcom. It is a warm and wonderful experience. They were Gods. All the African rhythms are great too. One of the links up thread called it (Duck Rock) one of the top five albums of the 80s. I am not sure I go to 5 but it was pretty big and important in terms of world music and hip hop. You know, the Sex Pistols were pretty big stuff as well. This guy rocked my world, he brought so much great music to us and he made it fun. He had style and a Rick Ruben sense of what is great.
posted by caddis at 6:07 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by xorry at 6:37 PM on April 8, 2010




I still love Fans. Played the hell out of that tape. What a brilliant idea. I remember playing it for the creative director of the first place I worked out of school, he was like, "What is this shit? Turn this off, this is a travesty," and then I knew how really great it was.

Madam Butterfly
Fans
Carmen
Boys' Chorus
Lauretta
Death of Butterfly

(There's also a lovely Death of Butterfly instrumental mix, but it's not showing up on youtube. Worth finding if you're a fan)
posted by Bron at 6:38 PM on April 8, 2010


So long, Malcolm. You certainly made my 70's and 80's fun.

Wow. It was my teens and 20s. Your grandkids must think you're awesome.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 6:42 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have loved McLaren despite (or perhaps because of) his dodginess for over thirty years. His albums, which sometimes don't seem to really even involve him, are completely joyful. The man knew how to throw one fucking awesome party.

Fans? Duck Rock? Paris? Waltz Darling? I mean, really, these were all fun, brilliant records.

The man might have been jumping on bandwagons, but he always made you think he'd built the bandwagon, filled it up with clowns, and given you a party hat.

RIP, you old wanker. God save you.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:39 PM on April 8, 2010


64. I can't believe it. That pine box is closer than we realize.
posted by marvin at 9:06 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 9:07 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by lapolla at 9:44 PM on April 8, 2010


.
posted by susanbeeswax at 10:39 PM on April 8, 2010


"I was raised on such a steady diet of Lydon's vitriol toward McLaren that I always assumed I'd be all, GOOD, FUCK OFF when Malcolm actually died"

Worked for me. I *like* PIL.
posted by Twang at 12:02 AM on April 9, 2010


John Lydon: "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."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:23 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I spit on his grave.
posted by Phanx at 1:40 AM on April 9, 2010


i'm surprised at lydon's reaction, but i suspect it's that british/working class 'let's not speak ill of the dead' shtick at work. because john is essentially a decent chap. mclaren on the other hand, was a talentless, tedious and tiresome tosser with an undoubted talent for self publicity. according to some of the hyperbole i've read and heard over the last few hours (particularly on the bbc - oh, the irony) he seems to have been credited with the invention of both punk and hip hop.

yeah, right.
posted by peterkins at 3:18 AM on April 9, 2010


Wow. It was my teens and 20s. Your grandkids must think you're awesome.

Well, that's about the cruelest thing anyone has said to me today. I was just talking about it with a co-worker and realized I bought Never Mind the Bollocks and saw Iggy Pop for the first time in the same year. We both quickly realized that was before she was even born.

So yeah, I guess you're right. If I had grandkids I'm sure they would think I'm awesome.
posted by marxchivist at 9:32 AM on April 9, 2010


Psst, marxchivist, it was a riff interpreting "my 70s and 80s" as age at the time, rather than the decades included.
posted by desuetude at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2010


marxchivist, read it again. But I know, I'm sensitive that way myself, like the person who posted in the Godspeed You! Black Emperor thread about how they went on hiatus when he/she was 12 and they listened to the Montreal post-rock scene all through high school before they got tired of it.
posted by jokeefe at 9:40 AM on April 9, 2010


Erm, I mean, it gave me pause to read that. And to contemplate that Arcade Fire's Funeral came over 5 years ago, and that's a long time when you're young. Ancient history, for some of us. For me, it was kind of like last month or something.
posted by jokeefe at 9:41 AM on April 9, 2010


"came out over five years ago". I've gotta learn to preview.
posted by jokeefe at 9:41 AM on April 9, 2010


Psst, marxchivist, it was a riff interpreting "my 70s and 80s" as age at the time, rather than the decades included.

Oh thanks, I can be kinda clueless sometimes. I thought you meant if we were old enough to enjoy the Pistols in the 1970's we could have grandchildren by now. Which is true, I got into the Pistols in 1979, I'm now over 45 and could easily have grandkids. So your remark actually worked on several levels, kudos.

FWIW, I wasn't really upset by it. I thought it was hilarious actually (based on my misinterpretation). Seems like I've had a lot of those "Damn I'm old" moments the last couple weeks.
posted by marxchivist at 9:57 AM on April 9, 2010


I remember once chasing Malcolm McLaren down a boulevard in Paris. He had just heisted the Maharaja's prized Royal Sapphire from a banquet it had been on loan to as an exhibition. It had been a daredevil scheme, and he'd pulled it off with aplomb. In truth, it was largely by luck that I happened to see him climbing from a sewer cover, Sapphire in hand as I was walking the beat. Nevertheless, the chase was on. He was surprisingly fleet footed but years patrolling the banks of the Seine had kept me in shape.

One thing I will say is that McLaren was a cleverer man than people ever gave him credit for. Just a very intelligent and devoted criminal. I had thought that his tricks were exhausted. I had thought that, having stumbled on him by luck, the advantage was mine as the contest for the jewel had by dumb luck rested on a foot race. Like so many, I had underestimated the mad burglar.

As we rounded a corner, I recall very clearly seeing him stop all of a sudden and wheel around to face me, the jewel held high. As I paused - understandably nonplussed by the maneuver - he cackled maniacally and in a massive puff of smoke vanished seemingly into thin air.

He was an admirable foe, Malcolm McLaren.
posted by shmegegge at 10:00 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


i'm surprised at lydon's reaction, but i suspect it's that british/working class 'let's not speak ill of the dead' shtick at work. because john is essentially a decent chap.

And maybe when all is said and done so was McLaren. I think it is a product of age and the particular way one can see something after 30 years have passed. Lydon may question Mclaren's motives and methods, but where would he have been without him.

I read interviews linked to from the McLaren's Wikipedia page that I can't link to now that I found fascinating. I greatly admire the self made and am continually amazed how much a factor fate can be. He never finished school, but took an art course because he saw good looking girls leaving the building. He understood at a fairly young age that his talent was for making things happen rather than making things. McLaren was incredibly lucky to have met Vivienne Westwood, who in turn was lucky to have met him. She was talented, but married to a factory worker with a young child. She left her husband for McLaren, he promoted her designs, they open a shop...

RIP
.
posted by readery at 10:07 AM on April 9, 2010


Truly a document of its time: Something's Jumpin' In Your Shirt
posted by Skot at 11:13 AM on April 9, 2010


An inspiring and influential geezer passes. Vale Malcolm.
posted by tellurian at 12:43 AM on April 10, 2010


And maybe when all is said and done so was McLaren. I think it is a product of age and the particular way one can see something after 30 years have passed. Lydon may question Mclaren's motives and methods, but where would he have been without him.

fair point, but i think his motives and methods were very much questionable, hence my rather uncharitable post earlier.. i don't know if you've seen the excellent the filth and the fury; in it lydon blames mclaren (as well as himself) for the slow, awful demise of sid vicious. certainly mclaren's behaviour showed little traces of basic human decency however you slice it. i'm all for shafting the likes of emi and branson, so fair play to him for that, but even at the time (i was in my mid teens then) there seemed something hollow and distasteful about mclaren. the release of the woeful 'great rock and roll swindle' kind of confirmed that and made him as bad as those he set out to irritate.
posted by peterkins at 5:10 AM on April 10, 2010


Hard to see how anyone could favor Malcolm or John or even Sid himself over Sid's own mother and father, in regard to his early demise, (not so slow, by the way) considering how young he was. Who had the most influence the longest, eh?
posted by sighmoan at 9:41 PM on April 11, 2010


Hard to see how anyone could favor Malcolm or John or even Sid himself over Sid's own mother and father, in regard to his early demise, (not so slow, by the way) considering how young he was. Who had the most influence the longest, eh?

it was slow compared to being hit by a bus - ie people could see as what happening and did nothing about it. true, he was clearly a self destructive sort with issues that probably came from inadequate parenting - his mum doesn't seem to have been much help, it's true. but that's not the point. mclaren was in a position to do something about sid's condition, and he chose not to.
posted by peterkins at 5:00 AM on April 12, 2010


according to Lydon in The Filth and The Fury, Mclaren didn't just fail to help. He actively supplied vicious with heroin when he was on true, behind the other band mates' backs, while Sid was trying to quit.
posted by shmegegge at 9:34 AM on April 12, 2010


on tour, rather. 'scuse.
posted by shmegegge at 9:34 AM on April 12, 2010


« Older Excelsior   |   Stop-motion graffiti Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post