Rock News

Flashback: Remembering Malcolm McLaren, The Musician

This week, the rock world lost punk impresario Malcolm McLaren, who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer. In addition to managing the Sex Pistols and sculpting the look and sound of the punk era, McLaren was a successful musician in his own right, introducing African music and the hip-hop sound to the U.K. with “Double Dutch,” which you can watch above.

In a statement released today, Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones said of McLaren, “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. 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.”

Below, watch the video for McLaren’s offbeat hit single “Madame Butterfly,” based on the opera of the same name, and more of McLaren’s work.


“Buffalo Gals”

“Duck Rock”

Rock News

Tour Tracker: Rush, Social Distortion and moe.

Rush will embark on a massive summer tour where they’ll perform their classic Moving Pictures in its entirety. Plus, Social Distortion plot out some dates around their Lollapalooza performance and moe. get ready to spend another summer on the road, culminating with their 11th annual moe.down. Full dates for all three treks below.

June 29 – Albuquerque, NM @ Hard Rock Casino
July 1 – Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre
July 2 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
July 5 – Chicago, IL @ Charter One Pavilion
July 9 – Sarnia, ON @ Bayfest
July 13 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
July 15 – Quebec City, QC @ Festival d’ete de Quebec
July 17 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
July 19 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
July 21 – Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
July 23 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 24 – Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach
Aug. 5 – Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
Aug. 7 – Seattle, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
Aug. 9 – San Francisco, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
Aug. 11 – Inglewood, CA @ The Forum
Aug. 13 – Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Aug. 14 – Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
Aug. 16 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Aug. 20 – Wichita, KS @ INTRUST Bank Arena
Aug. 22 – St. Louis, MO @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Aug. 25 – Omaha, NE @ Qwest Center
Aug. 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Minnesota State Fair
Aug. 29 – Columbus, OH @ Nationwide Arena
Aug. 31 – Allentown, PA @ Allentown Fair
Sept. 2 – Syracuse, NY @ New York State Fair
Sept. 3 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
Sept. 14 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden
Sept. 16 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Consol Energy Center
Sept. 18 – Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live Amphitheater
Sept. 21 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
Sept. 23 – San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
Sept. 25 – The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sept. 26 – Dallas, TX @ Center
Sept. 29 – Atlanta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Oct. 1 – Tampa, FL @ Ford Amphitheatre
Oct. 2 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheatre

Social Distortion
July 27 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
July 28 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Casino Ballroom
July 30 – Providence, RI @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
July 31 – Hartford, CT @ The Webster
Aug. 1 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Aug. 3 – Wantagh, NY @ Mulcahy’s
Aug. 4 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
Aug. 7 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza

Apr. 15 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
Apr. 16, 17 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore
May 28-30 – Chillicothe, IL @ Summer Camp Festival
May 31 – Cleveland, OH @ Great American Rib Cookoff
June 2 – Glen Allen, VA @ Innsbrook Pavilion
June 3 – Baltimore, MD @ Ram’s Head Live
June 4, 5 – Utica, NY @ Saranac Brewery
June 25, 26 – Buffalo, NY @ Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor
June 27 – Holyoke, MA @ Mountain Park
June 30 – Peekskill, NY @ Paramount Center for the Arts
July 1 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino
July 2 – Oxford, ME @ Nateva Music & Camping Festival
July 3 – Westbury, NY @ Theatre at Westbury
July 4 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
July 8 – Columbus, OH @ Lifestyle Communities Pavilion
July 17 – North Plains, OR @ Northwest String Summit
Sept. 3-5 – Mohawk, NY @ moe.down 11

Rock News

Arcade Fire Teaming With Spike Jonze on Short Film

Photo: Mazur/WireImage
Spike Jonze ranks among the most creative film directors in Hollywood, but he’s still down to work on intriguing music video projects. According to a report on /film, Jonze will team up with Arcade Fire — whose “Wake Up” served as the stirring backdrop for Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are trailer — on a short film likely based around one of the songs on the Montreal collective’s upcoming third album. The shoot will reportedly take place in Austin, Texas, and feature actors in their late-teens in a story about “friends growing apart.”

While Arcade Fire would not comment on the report, MTV reports that Jonze’s reps pretty much confirmed the project. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Jonze and Kanye West released a short film last year titled We Were Once a Fairytale, a strange 12-minute tale of isolation and depravity soundtracked by Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak single “See You in My Nightmares.” It’s unclear when Arcade Fire’s collabo with Jonze will be unveiled, but count on it emerging right around the time the band release their new album in the late summer.

In addition to filming with Jonze, Arcade Fire will also return to the summer festival circuit with new songs during headlining slots at Lollapalooza, Reading and Leeds.

Related Stories:

Spike Jonze Talks Kanye’s “We Were Once A Fairytale” Short Film
“Where the Wild Things Are”: Exclusive Look Behind the Film’s Stunning Music and Visuals

Rock News

Blur Set to Return With New Song on Record Store Day

In what could the biggest Record Store Day exclusive yet, the reunited Blur will release a 7” single to independent shops on April 17th featuring a newly recorded song. The track will be the first new music from Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Co. since 2003’s Think Tank. “Initially, Damon had no intention of going back into the studio with Blur. He’s been very busy with Gorillaz,” a source told U.K.’s The Sun. “But he couldn’t resist seeing if the magic was still there with his old chums. And it was.” A spokesperson for Blur confirmed to the Guardian that the band recorded a new song for Record Store Day but stopped short of saying more new material was in their future.

“We want independent record stores to continue. They’re an important part of our musical culture. Music is a simple way for Blur to show our support and we hope people like it,” Albarn told The Sun. Only 1,000 copies of the unspecified song will be printed, and unfortunately for U.S. fans, it seems like the 7” singles will only be available across the pond. The U.S. hasn’t seen much of Blur since their reunion, but as Rolling Stone previously reported, Americans will be the beneficiaries of a Gorillaz headlining set at next weekend’s Coachella festival.

This isn’t the first time Blur has surprised independent record store shoppers with new vinyl: Prior to Think Tank, Blur dropped an extremely limited-edition white-label vinyl with the non-album track “Don’t Bomb When You’re the Bomb.” As Rolling Stone reported earlier this week, Record Store Day in the States will feature exclusive releases by the Rolling Stones, Sonic Youth, Flaming Lips and many more.

Related Stories:

Blur Bring Hyde Park to Life as Reunion Dates Roll On
Reunited Blur Writing New Songs
Blur Join “LEGO Rock Band”: See the Band’s Avatars

Rock News

Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” Racks Up Fourth Week at Number One

Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” has the Number One spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on lock for a fourth consecutive week. In fact, last week’s Top Eight all maintained the same positions, meaning Rolling Stone’s best new Stoner MC B.o.B. scored Number Two yet again with “Nothin’ On You” and Train held strong at Number Three with “Hey, Soul Sister.” Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” rounded out the Top Five.

Usher scored the week’s best Hot 100 debut with Raymond v Raymond’s “OMG” featuring at Number 14, which marks the third best Hot 100 debut of Usher’s career following 1998’s “Nice & Slow” and “My Way.” Lady Gaga entered yet another single, The Fame Monster’s “Alejandro,” which bowed at Number 72. Fresh off Erykah Badu’s controversial new video for “Window Seat,” the New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ahnk song debuted at Number 95. In one more interesting piece of chart news, Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” has quietly enjoyed a 12-week run on the Hot 100, making it Eddie Vedder and Co.’s longest-running Hot 100 single since “Last Kiss” spent 21 weeks on the chart in 1999.

“Rude Boy” officially has become Rihanna’s most successful single since “Umbrella.” Thanks to the Rated R singer’s high-wattage performance of “Rockstar 101″ on American Idol, expect that single to give “Rude Boy” some company on the Hot 100 next week.

Related Stories:

“Rude Boy” Becomes Rihanna’s Best-Charting Single Since “Umbrella”
Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” Scores Second Straight Number One
Black Eyed Peas’ “Imma Be” Racks Up Second Week at Number One

Rock News

Remembering Kurt Cobain in Classic Photos and More

Sixteen years ago today, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead of a self-inflicted wound in his Seattle home, silencing one of the most powerful voices in rock history at the age of 27. A decade and a half after his death, Cobain is still one of the greatest rock icons and his music continues to influence an innumerable amount of bands.

Check out classic photos of Nirvana and more Nineties heroes.

In the past year alone, Nirvana fans have seen the release of Live at Reading and a reissue of debut album Bleach. The Cobain biopic based on Charles Cross’ Heavier Than Heaven is in the works, and Cobain even sparked a full-scale controversy when his avatar rocked to Bon Jovi in Guitar Hero.

Look back at more rockers lost before their time and Cobain’s life in the RS archives:

Nirvana in Photos
The Immortals: Nirvana
10 Years After Nevermind
Behind Cobain Unseen: Charles R. Cross on Kurt’s Private Archives
Inside the Heart and Mind of Nirvana
Behind the Photo: Kurt Cobain
Nirvana Album Reviews

Rock News

Malcolm McLaren, Former Sex Pistols Manager and Punk Renaissance Man, Dead at 64

Photo: Jones/Getty

Malcolm McLaren, the former Sex Pistols manager who is credited with helping form the legendary U.K. punk band, has died at the age of 64 after a battle with cancer. “He had been suffering from cancer for some time, but recently had been full of health, which then rapidly deteriorated,” McLaren’s spokesman Les Molloy told The Independent. Molloy confirmed McLaren died in New York this morning; his body will be moved to London for burial in Highgate Cemetery. John Lydon said in a statement, “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.”

An icon of the punk movement that swept Great Britain in the mid-Seventies, McLaren got his start as a fashion designer who opened up a clothing shop with Vivienne Westwood called Let It Rock. While in New York City to start up a new boutique, he became the New York Dolls manager, a role he held until their breakup in 1976. After working with the Dolls and returning to London, McLaren wanted to start up his own band — the misfit group of punks would later be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the Sex Pistols.

McLaren recruited three local kids who frequented his Kings Road boutique — now called “Sex” — Glenn Matlock, Steve Jones and Paul Cook, and dubbed them the “Sex Pistols.” He first tried out Jones on vocals, but soon found a more suitable provocateur. As Charles M. Young wrote in his 1977 RS Sex Pistols cover story, “One of the regulars at Sex was a kid named John Lydon, who was distinguished on three counts: 1) his face had the pallor of death; 2) he went around spitting on poseurs he passed on the street; and 3) he was the first to understand the democratic implications of punk — rather than pay ten pounds for an ugly T-shirt with holes in it, he took a Pink Floyd T-shirt, scratched holes in the eyes and wrote I HATE over the logo. McLaren stood him in front of the jukebox, had him mouth Alice Cooper’s ‘I’m Eighteen’ and declared him their new lead singer. Jones noticed the mung on Lydon’s never-brushed teeth, and christened him Johnny Rotten.”

Look back at the Sex Pistols’ career in photos.

McLaren amped up the new band’s notoriety with a stunt that featured the Pistols performing “God Save the Queen” on a barge during the same week of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. McLaren was arrested before the stunt was pulled off, but the single immediately topped the British charts. After releasing Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, the band embarked on a tour of the U.S. and ultimately split. For years, McLaren and Lydon fought over the Sex Pistols’ copyright and royalties in a rift that was never healed.

Later in his career, McLaren became a well-known musician in his own right. His 1983 hip-hop-flavored album Duck Rock produced the U.K. Top 10 singles “Buffalo Gals” and “Double Dutch.” A year later, McLaren also had a hit with “Madame Butterfly,” a song inspired the opera of the same name. McLaren’s “About Her,” a remix of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There,” was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill 2. A punk renaissance man in the truest sense, McLaren was also an author, film producer and reality TV star.

For much more on McLaren and his time managing the Sex Pistols, check out the Rolling Stone stories below:

Sex Pistols Rolling Stone Cover Story: Rock Is Sick and Living in London
The Return of the Mohicans
The Sex Pistols: Still Rotten Thirty Years After Their Debut

Rock News

Public Image Ltd. “Rise” for First TV Performance in 18 Years

On last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Show, Public Image Ltd. rocked two of their greatest hits on a packed Los Angeles street to mark their first television performance in over 18 years. Fittingly, Public Image Ltd. welcomed the audience with “Rise,” perhaps the most famous track in the PiL catalog, before John Lydon sat down with the late-night host for an interview.

The outspoken Lydon once again proved to be a quote machine, telling Kimmel that he doesn’t listen to the radio because “it just annoys me to see how much I’ve influenced modern music without any appreciation.” (For the record, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tried to appreciate Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols, but they wanted nothing to do with their own induction.) Lydon also revealed that one of the members of his new PiL also toured with Spice Girls and Steve Winwood.

Public Image Ltd. will next play a warm show next week in preparation for their performance at the Coachella Festival. After that, they’ll hit the road for their tour in nearly two decades. Check out the Kimmel performance of “This Is Not a Love Song,” Lydon’s interview and PiL tourdates here:

“This Is Not a Love Song”

Public Image Ltd.
Apr. 13 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
Apr. 16 – Indio, CA @ Coachella
Apr. 17 – San Francisco, CA @ Grand Ballroom
Apr. 20 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox at The Market
Apr. 21 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
Apr. 23 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
Apr. 24 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
Apr. 26 – Kansas City, MO @ Midland Theatre
Apr. 28 – Pontiac, MI @ Crowfoot Ballroom
Apr. 30 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theatre
May 2 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
May 4 – Boston, MA @ Royale Boston
May 5 – Boston, MA @ Royale Boston
May 7 – Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
May 8 – Montreal, QC @ Theatre L’Olympia de Montreal
May 11 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
May 12 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
May 14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Zoo
May 15 – Atlantic City, NJ @ The Borgata Music Box
May 16 – Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
May 18 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5

Related Stories:

Public Image Ltd. Announce First U.S. Tour in 18 Years
So, John Lydon: Will There Be a Public Image Ltd. Reunion?

Rock News

M.I.A. Blasts Lady Gaga: “She’s a Good Mimic”

Photo: Jennings/WireImage (M.I.A.), Mazur/WireImage(Gaga)

Trendsetting rapper M.I.A. has fired the first shots in a potential war of words with trendsetting pop star Lady Gaga. In an interview in the upcoming issue of NME, M.I.A. dissed Gaga’s music, style and the obscene amount of product placement in the “Telephone” video. “Lady Gaga — people say we’re similar, that we both mix all these things in the pot and spit them out differently, but she spits it out exactly the same! None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is,” M.I.A. told NME (via NYMag’s Vulture).

Dueling fashion icons! Check out Lady Gaga’s craziest outfits and M.I.A.’s wildest looks.

The Kala rapper didn’t stop there. “She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna, but the music sounds like 20-year-old Ibiza music, you know?,” M.I.A. continued. “She’s not progressive, but she’s a good mimic. She sounds more like me than I fucking do!” M.I.A. went on to poke fun at the creative Haus of Gaga working behind the singer, likening it to “Me blindfolded with naked men feeding me apples and shit.”

Incidentally, M.I.A. and Lady Gaga are labelmates on Interscope, so it’ll be interesting to see how the record company reacts to his family feud. Still, if the great Kanye vs. 50 Cent battle of 2007 taught us anything, it’s that a little innocent beefing never hurt album sales, and M.I.A. has a new LP on the way in June. At press time Lady Gaga has not responded to M.I.A.’s quotes, nor has M.I.A. used her Twitter account to embellish on her unprovoked statements.

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M.I.A. Set to Bring Up-and-Comers to HARD Fest in NYC and L.A.
Rihanna Borrows From M.I.A.’s “Boyz” for “Rude Boy” Video
New M.I.A. Song “Space Odyssey” An Attack on “New York Times”

Rock News

Whitney Houston Calls Rumors of Drug Use “Ridiculous”

Photo: Munoz/Buzzfoto/FilmMagic

Whitney Houston is calling claims that she has been using drugs “ridiculous.” Rumors of a relapse began circulating when the first four dates of the singer’s comeback tour of Europe were postponed this week. “At this point, I just don’t respond. I don’t even read it,” Houston told People. “My health is terrific. But this is a time when I get a lot of allergies.” Houston was hospitalized several days ago with an upper respiratory infection but has since been released.

While Houston doesn’t read the rumors, her comments were a response to an In Touch story that claimed she had relapsed after years of struggling with drug use. Houston detailed how she’d smoke cocaine-spiked marijuana for Oprah Winfrey last year.

Houston returned after a lengthy hiatus in 2009, debuting songs from I Look to You in front of an all-star crowd that included longtime mentor Clive Davis at a special show in New York. Her performance at Davis’ pre-Grammy party had Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx dancing in the aisles. But her return wasn’t totally smooth: a Good Morning America set went poorly, and Houston blamed her Oprah Winfrey taping for weakening her voice.

Houston’s Nothing But Love tour kicked off in Australia in February to less-than-stellar reviews as the singer struggled through the performances. However, Houston now tells People, “I’m feeling great. I’m just ready to move on and continue my world tour.” If all goes well, Houston will return to the stage in Birmingham on April 13th.

Related Stories:

Whitney Houston Reveals Drug, Marriage Troubles on “Oprah”
Whitney Houston Stumbles During “Good Morning America” Taping
Whitney Houston Sings on “Good Morning America”: “I Never Left”