Malcolm McLaren Dies, Aged 64

On 8th April 2010 the world of music lost a legend. Malcolm McLaren, who rose to fame as the manager of one of the UK’s most successful punk rock bands, was a highly influential character in the world of music and will no doubt be sorely missed by music fans all over the country.

Most known for his outspoken nature and for managing both the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls, impresario Malcolm was one of the most controversial and respected names in the industry.

He knew only too well the ingredients of what makes a successful recording artist or band and proved this when he joined the Live and Unsigned 2009 Judging Panel. Malcolm was due to return to the panel in 2010 to cast his eye over unsigned, original talent.

Chris Grayston, Events Director of Live and Unsigned, recalls how hugely influential he was “Malcolm was easily one of the most well respected and known names in British music. Not only did he expand and develop the punk scene, but he was a pioneer of the Hip Hop and Electro scene in the early 80’s, initially bringing over the Double Dutch. When he appeared at last years Grand Final, he was well respected by all of the acts and his words of ‘integrity’ and ‘authenticity’ rung in my ears and have stuck in my mind since. We were very much looking forward to him returning to judge this year. He will be sorely missed.”

The L&U team did an exclusive Q&A with Malcolm only last year, on what it takes to crack the industry. Here, we recap on his words of wisdom;

L&U: What will you be looking for in the performers at the Grand Final?

M: Integrity, a desire for change, sexuality, style and a willingness to subvert the established view.

L&U: What’s the best piece of advice you yourself have ever been given?

M: Better to be a flamboyant failure than any kind of benign success. Given to me by my old art school professor.

L&U: What music are you listening to at the moment?

M: Just what I hear blasting out of doorways of restaurants, clubs or boutiques in NYC. Usually, an ersatz version of 80s pop or R&B or rock and at the same time, an authentic version of 80s pop, R&B and rock.

L&U: If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

M: I would like to have met Baudelaire. He taught me to turn left when you are supposed to turn right.

L&U: Sum yourself up in one sentence?

M: I am a big child—good and bad!

L&U: Why do you think that there is such an abundance of talent contests in popular culture at the moment and what makes this one special?

M: Talent contests have replaced everything in the culture that was false and dishonest and disconnected to the populace. They are special in the sense that they directly involve the public or at least supposedly do. People’s choice is everything today.

L&U: Is it more difficult for a band to make it these days than when the Sex Pistols got big? How do you think the industry has changed?

M: Yes, it’s difficult because there is no one around to really care other than the fans. It has changed because the culture of desires that has existed for the past 50 years has dissolved and changed into much more a culture of necessity. And that means no one truthfully cares about supporting the artist and its record company by purchasing its music. You only consume what you really have to in order to survive. That fact has changed the industry.

L&U: How would you get the image/talent mix right?

M: There is an alchemy that occurs when you create a cocktail. Some are better barmen than others. Today there are two words that sum up the culture. One is karaoke and the other is authentic. They can work together but you have to be a magician to make that happen. The Sex Pistols luckily had a great alchemist and for a moment got it right.

L&U: What advice would you give to aspiring performers hoping to make it in the industry?

M: Don’t compromise.


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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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