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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1975 (Volume 6, Number 11) 

The April 1975 issue of Creem includes the results of the 1974 Readers Poll, always an interesting snapshot of the times. The Rolling Stones remained popular, winning best album (for “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll”) and best Group. Atypical Creem artist Joni Mitchell was voted best female vocalist, landing her a spot in the middle of the cover. The New York Dolls beat out The Osmonds and Bachman-Turner Overdrive to win the “Worst Group” award. Lester Bangs was voted as “Critic of the Year” and in the #4 slot was Ed Naha, who would later work in Hollywood and was one of the screenplay writers for the blockbuster film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” (How’s that for some weird trivia?)  

The ”Mail” section includes a letter from Andy Schwartz praising Lester Bangs. Mr. Schwartz  later served as editor of the new wave oriented “New York Rocker” magazine, worked for Epic Records, and married my long time Facebook friend and Rock NYC contributor Elle Smith (Hi, Elle!).  In “Rock ‘n’ Roll News” we learn of the impending split of Ike and Tina Turner. It was also reported that former Supreme Flo Ballard was living in Detroit on welfare (she tragically died in 1976 at the age of 32 from cardiac arrest). Reflecting their popularity at the time, there were four different “news” items on David Bowie and Elton John.  

Features:  

Not Insane. Not Funny Either. Lester Bangs on Fireside Theatre  

Great Guitarists of the World, No. 1: Leo Kottke by Ed Ward  

Utopia Dreamin with Todd Rundgren by Bruno Stein  

Stage Center: John Entwistle by Donald Wilson  

Gregg Allman: Laid Back – Tattoo Intact by Bill Douglas  

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: In Fact, Mott the Hoople Can’t by John Ingham  

Souther, Hillman, Fury: Further on Down the Road by Larry Sloman  

Lester Bangs tried to analyze what humor is derived from on the Fireside Theater piece, never a fruitful premise. John Entwistle and Gregg Allman came across as candid, good guys in their interview pieces, but the best feature is the “perennially on the edge of stardom” piece on Souther, Hillman, and Fury. These were musicians who had envisioned a certain life for themselves in the music business and that life wasn’t happening. Their drummer on that tour was Jim Gordon, who later developed schizophrenia and killed his mother. Chris Hillman, “Isn’t that Jim Gordon? He used to be a real big deal in the music industry. Till the bottle got him. I remember that ‘Layla’ album with Eric Clapton. Now he eats alone.”  

Quotable Quotes:    

Hunter S. Thompson on meeting John Denver, “He’s a nice guy, but I still can’t stand his music.”  

Todd Rundgren, “It’s not as if I want to work to be the best guitar player in the world. Because that doesn’t mean anything to me. What’s important to me is to be the best person that I can be in everything that I do.”  

John Entwistle on the Who devolving into a day job, “We live separate lives and meet socially only by accident. The only time we all get together is to talk music, or to discuss group projects.”  

Gregg Allman, “One thing I hate is categories, man. I wouldn’t categorize the Allman Brother’s music.”  

Chris Hillman on the music business, “Somebody out there is driving my Rolls Royce and swimming in my pool. I’ve been ripped off for ten years and I’m gonna get even with the songs of bitches.”  

Heretofore unknown rock critic Charles Nicholaus on Dylan’s “Blook on the Tracks” album, “Bob Dylan in pussy-whipped.”  

Summary:  The comments regarding Jim Gordon are positively spooky in a historical context. It was also at this point that Richard Johnson and Richard Riegel began showing up more regular in the “Records Review” section, a very positive move forward.  

Grade: A-  

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