New York Dolls’ Sylvain Sylvain Remembers Malcolm McLaren

April 12th, 2010 by David Browne Leave a reply »

Recording artist, manager of the Sex Pistols, provocateur, fashion designer, impresario — Malcolm McLaren, who died of cancer April 8th at 64 was all those things. He was also, briefly, the manager of the New York Dolls just before their breakup in 1975. Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain spoke with Rolling Stone about his encounters with McLaren. “I always thought the most important member of the Sex Pistols was Malcolm McLaren,” Sylvain says. “When they got back together in the ’90s, I thought, ‘They’re missing their most important star, and that was Malcolm.’ ”

When did you first meet McLaren?
It was at a clothing trade show back in 1971 in New York City. I had a knitwear company, and he and Vivienne [Westwood] were down at the end of the hallway with their clothing line Let It Rock, which was basically rockabilly clothing. Malcolm had this long blond pompadour, long sideburns and white baggy pants. He was like Jerry Lee Lewis, really cool looking. On the last day of trade shows, designers sell their samples, so I said to David Johansen and Johnny Thunders, “You gotta come over.” So we bought some things from Malcolm and Vivienne and invited them down to see us at the Mercer Arts Center. He fell in love with the New York Dolls, and we fell in love with them. Vivienne would tell us, “You boys look so much better in women’s clothing.”

How did he end up managing the Dolls later?
In 1975, I saw him at the Chelsea Hotel and I had a long face. He asked me what was going on and I said, “Things aren’t going so good. We’re about to break up.” He was really sad and said, “I’d love to help you guys.” He became our personal manager. He got us a loft on 23rd Street in Chelsea and we started practicing and writing songs and came up with the red-patent-leather show. We all started wearing red — red shoes, red pants ̵...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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