Thursday, April 8, 2010

PiL lives, Malcolm McLaren dies

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 3:32 PM

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Sex Pistols svengali Malcolm McLaren died from cancer this morning at the age of 64.

While McLaren comes across pretty horribly in Simon ReynoldsRip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, there’s no question that he and designer Vivienne Westwood essentially launched the punk movement back in ‘70s London.

It’ll be interesting to hear what, if anything, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) has to say about the former manager he forever fought with over royalties and copyright issues.

Strangely enough, Lydon recently resurrected his post-Pistols band, Public Image Ltd., which made its first US television appearance in 18 years just last night on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.

Whether or not you caught the show, there is one PiL performance you totally need to watch: the group’s 1980 appearance on American Bandstand, during which Lydon literally drags and pushes terrified teens onstage so they can dance awkwardly to “Pop Tones” and “Careering.”

As you’ll see below, it’s easily the funniest and most strangely heartwarming ten minutes in American Bandstand history, from Dick Clark’s intro (“this is something interesting and special”) to the closing minutes in which Lydon looks genuinely happy, possibly for the first time ever.

As for the new lineup, it’s tough, if not impossible, to live up to the likes of Keith Levene and Jah Wobble, but they manage well enough. (They'll be at Denver's Ogden Theatre on April 24.) I really can't think of many artists who've successfully recreated their band from the ground up with no previous members, other than the Fall’s Mark E Smith. As Lydon's post-punk peer once said (correctly, I think), "I could play with your grandmother and it would still be the Fall.

Better to just go with the American Bandstand appearance, then. Here’s Johnny:

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