Strangely, shortly after posting about PiL’s first US television appearance since 1992, we got word that Sex Pistols svengali/manager/promoter Malcolm McLaren died of cancer at a hospital in Switzerland at the age of 64. The New York Times’ Arts Beat reports his longtime companion Young Kim has confirmed the news. Outside of handling the Sex Pistols, and briefly managing the New York Dolls, McLaren, of course, also claimed to be the inventor of punk rock. Often less celebrated, though, are his curious solo recordings, including the 1983 album Duck Rock, which included the classic “Buffalo Gals,” an oft-sampled square dancing-and-scratching hip-hop experiment that nods toward a song of the same name penned by blackface minstrel performer John Hodges. Right, even when McLaren was seemingly goofing or having fun, there was something “punk” going on beneath the surface.
UPDATE: Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones have released statements:
“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.”
– Johnny Rotten
“I was upset when I heard the news, as I’ve always had a soft spot for Malcolm. I knew him since I was 17 before the Pistols formed–I used to drive him around in Vivienne Westwood’s car to the tailors in London in the days of the ‘Let It Rock’ clothing store. Malcolm was definitely the Brian Epstein of punk—without him it wouldn’t have happened the way it did. I stayed friends with him throughout the years despite some of our differences. He came on ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox’ a couple of years ago, and that’s a good memory. But my fondest memory of Malcolm, and I loved the guy, was his birthday gift to me when I turned 21—he got me a hooker and some heroin.”
– Steve Jones