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Malcolm McLaren: Svengali or superpro?

April 8, 2010 |  6:49 pm

Punk2 McLaren: Svengali or superpro?

That was the headline in The Times on Jan. 25, 1983, in a profile of Malcolm McLaren written by former Times pop music writer Richard Cromelin, accompanied by this portrait of the music impresario at the Chateau Marmont.

By 1983 the Sex Pistols had been done for years, and McLaren had moved on to working with New York rappers. McLaren, whom Cromelin called "punk's chief propagandist" and a "self-styled subversive," had this to say about the Sex Pistols:

"The Sex Pistols created a tremendous amount of debris, and that was very rewarding. It's like a child who loves to destroy something in order to find out what it's made of. They were like a 5-year-old child -- smash everything. They did fantastic things by demystifying all the pop myth and pop packaging and the supremacy of a rock 'n' roll aristocracy who were basically just plundering black music.

"The problem with the Sex Pistols was that they just weren't able to construct something from the debris."

Click here to read the rest of the story as it appeared in the Times in 1983.

And click here to read the news obituary of McLaren.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Malcolm McLaren at the Chateau Marmont in January 1983. Credit: Los Angeles Times