Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Huckster or Visionary?

April 8th saw the passing of what many consider the PT Barnum of our century... Malcolm Mclaren.  Mclaren is long thought of as the "godfather of punk", managing the most of the influential acts of the time most notably the Sex Pistols.  Before the time of the Sex Pistols, he managed the New York Dolls, which is long thought of as the frontrunners of modern punk music, with their outrageous stage presence and costumes (encouraged by Mclaren).  It was during his management of the Dolls that he first saw the Neon Boys (which included Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell later of Television). In 1975 Mclaren returned to London and opened a clothing store called "SEX" specialising in clothing of a particularly shocking nature.  It was from this springboard he put together the Sex Pistols, and became their manager.  Never wanting to be behind the curve, Mclaren always moved to new and interesting ideas in music, fashion and art.  Adam and the Ants as well as Bow Wow Wow were part of his "stable".  Mclaren also dabbled as an artist in early Hip Hop with singles "Buffalo Girls" and "Double Dutch" (both widely sampled later by rap artists).  Mclaren is also said to have consulted early in the career of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who turned down his offer of management. Long hailed as an opportunist, Mclaren blazed many inroads to popular music and culture.....he was 68.  See also: "the great rock n roll swindle" and "the filth and the fury"(excellent documentaries about the Sex Pistols)