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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1980 (Volume 11, Number 11) 

The rock journalism community of their era treated the Knack as though they were four human bags of festering herpes. The critics were outraged by, of all things, how the band was marketed (“They AREN’T THE NEW BEATLES”). Also, the music was “derivative,” the lyrics were, heaven forbid, “sexist.” The Knack were an existential threat to humanity and had to be destroyed. Richard Riegel of Creem took an open minded approach to the band, landing him an interview with the group. The members of the Knack look like eager, happy puppy dogs on the cover of the April 1980 issue of Creem. They were, unknowingly, about to plunge into a vast commercial wasteland that they would never escape. However, before that happened, Riegel caught the band in high spirits as they were recording the “…But the Little Girls Understand” album. A truly fun read. 

In “Rock ‘n’ Roll News” it was reported that Paul McCartney spent nine days in a Japanese jail due to bringing demon weed into the country.  

Nick Tosches penned a typically brilliant piece on Bill Haley in his “Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n Roll,” with the thought provoking title “The Lounge Act That Transcendeth All Knowing.” 

The Police posed with a young female fan who was BUSTING OUT with pride in “The Creem Dreem.” 

Features: 

“Gimme Stridex: Rick Derringer Eats Cookies & Speaks,” by Billy Altman 

“Working Clash Heroes Perfect Lovers Rock,” by Chris Bohn 

“Knuking the Knack Inside Their Own Reactor: Connubial Alliance Invades the Heart of the Beast,” by Richard Riegel  

“The Sports: Surfing Just Like They Do in the U.S.A.,” by Richard Riegel 

“The Specials: Rude Boys Spread Manure in Yank Bed of Roses,” by Simon Frith 

“Winkle-pickers into the Void: The Jam is Packed Off to America,” by Simon Frith 

Rick Derringer was interviewed about his late 1970’s albums and discussed the various producers he worked with, including Mike Chapman (“amazingly directed”), Jack Douglas (“he wound up trying to turn us into another version of Aerosmith”), Bill Szymczyk (“one of the best producers in the world”), and Todd Rundgen (“a very effective worker”). 

Joe Strummer talked about the evolution of The Clash, fighting with CBS records (he was shocked when they supported a double LP for “London Calling”), and working with producer Guy Stevens (“He comes in and grabs me by the throat and says, ‘I deal with emotions,’ and that’s it”).  


Simon Frith wrote a fine appreciation of The Specials. Per Frith they were “the first group I’ve followed from the first gig to international stardom.” Frith, doing double duty, penned a solid overview of the Jam, concluding, “The Jam have recorded as many good songs as Britain’s biggest groups, and yet they are off to conquer America again, like learners…There is still no sign of life across the Atlantic.” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Robert Christgau on the Clash’s “London Calling” album, “Warm, angry and thoughtful, confident, melodic and hard rocking, this is the best double LP since ‘Exile on Main Street.’ And it’s selling for about $7.50. A+” 

Joe Strummer on quickly recording the “London Calling” album, “You’d get it down pretty fast if your producer (Guy Stevens) kept throwing chairs around the studio, wouldn’t you?” 

Joe Strummer, “Who lives by the gun dies by the gun – never was a truer word said.” 

Cherie Currie of the Runaways “I just wanna say that EVERY TIME we’ve done an interview with you guys you’re all real NICE, but when we see the story you always tear us to shreds!” 

Doug Fieger, “So you’re Richard Riegel! We really enjoyed your article, we thought it was FAIR to us.” 

Doug Fieger, “The Monkees made great records!” 

Simon Frith, “The Jam are, clearly, Paul Weller’s group and he is, equally clearly, just one member of the group among three – the relationship is something like Pete Townshend and the Who.” 

Billy Altman, “The four sides of ‘London Calling’ have me feeling like I’ve been levelled by the weight of the world.” 

John Swenson, “Geddy Lee still sounds like a eunuch Jerry Vale at 78rpm.” 

Summary: Have to give the magazine a lot of credit for writing about so many non-mainstream acts, at least in the U.S., like the Jam, the Specials, and the Sports. 

Grade: B+ 

Latest price on eBay: $7.99 to “Buy It Now.” 

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