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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1985 (Volume 16, Number 11)

If one wasn’t aware that Creem magazine was in financial trouble in 1985, John Mendelssohn spelled it out clearly in the April 1985 “Eleganza” column, comparing America’s Only to another freelance outlet. To wit, “A couple of months ago, another magazine, one that doesn’t routinely make its writers coax, cajole, plead, and threaten to get money they’ve been owed for months and months and months…”. One must give the magazine credit for having the balls to print a column that starts with the columnist complaining about not getting paid.

Diamond Dave returned to the cover for this issue, coinciding with the release of his solo EP “Crazy from the Heat.” Roth explained to Billy Altman, “I just had some time off, and my job is that I sing and dance for a living, so I just sang you four tunes. Now maybe you want to know why I didn’t make a whole album. Why an EP? Well, you figure any 10 albums you want to name, right off the bat you’d say that, at the most, all of ‘em only have three or four songs on ‘em. Well, this way, all I did was trim away all the fat and filler. AND I’LL SELL IT TO YOU FOR LESS! I’M ON YOUR SIDE!” More of Roth’s stoned rap, “I’d say the average Van Halen fan’ll give it a 10 ‘cause you can dance to it and it’s got soul. I mean, I haven’t sacrificed anything here. Everything I do is in ADDITION to, not INSTEAD of.”

Features:

“Big Country: Hoedown in Steeltown,” by Jon Young

“Daryl Hall and John Oates: A Coupla White Guys Sittin’ Around Talking,” by Roy Trakin

“Hey There, Georgie Boy,” by Sylvie Simmons

“David Lee Roth: & the Gleeby Shall Rock,” by Billy Altman

“Page Onstage ’85: The Jimmy Page Interview, Part 1,” by Chris Welch

“Creem’s 1985 Dubious Achievement Awards,” by Rick Johnson

Stuart Adamson of Big Country was meeting with the press to hype the “Steeltown” album, which went Gold in the U.K., but was pretty much ignored in the U.S. Adamson admired Bruce Springsteen, didn’t care for Duran Duran, and when asked about political realities sounded like me looking at an algebra test, stating, “I don’t have any answers.”

Hall and Oates, who wanted to be known as DARYL Hall and JOHN Oates, gave a pretty standard interview about disliking videos, growth in their music, etc. Best quote was Hall asking author Roy Trakin, “Do you write those photo captions?” in a “menacingly” manner.

Boy George’s dance with fame was near its end, but he was still entertainingly “bitchy” and dishy in a lengthy interview with Sylvie Simmons. In discussing the possibility of having his own talk show, his first thought was, “I’d interview Lady Di and ask her why she named her baby Harry.”

Jimmy Page returned to the pages of Creem, this time talking about the formation of The Firm and the death of Swan Song Records.

Quotable Quotes:

Jon Young on the “impenetrable Scottish brogue” of Big Country’s Bruce Watson, “Many times during our chat, he cheerfully says something along the lines of ‘Igdinga tewmch giddo,’ whereupon I nod and smile idiotically, totally at a loss.”

Daryl Hall, “I don’t believe in obscurity for its own sake. That’s something people hide behind.”

Boy George, “I don’t think transvestites are decadent. I think most of them want to be housewives.”

Boy George on Keith Richards, “He looks like an extra from ‘Thriller.’”

David Lee Roth, “You know I always like to play professional wrestling with other groups. Tag team music. That’s what I want…Like this wrestling/rock ‘n’ roll connection. It’s great. In both, you’ve got colorful heroes. Rock ‘n’ roll’s always been the most sexy, the most hyper, the most energetic music, and wrestling’s just like that in terms of sports. I mean, they live ONE CHANNEL AWAY FROM EACH OTHER! So, if you’re looking for prime-time-knock-down-drag-out-make-it-worth-my-money excitement, is it Ric Ocasek…or Hulk Hogan? Is it Boy George, or Brutus Beefcake?”

John Mendelssohn, “When groups like Guiffria get signed and pushed, rather than giggled out of town, it can only mean one thing and one thing only – that we need another revolution like the ones the Ramones, Blondie, and the Sex Pistols led a decade ago, and desperately.”

Bill Wyman, “I’ve had girls who have been with Mick Jagger and I’ve heard VERY disappointing reports on his performances.”

Jeffrey Morgan, “I remember the last time I interviewed Bob Dylan: it was on October 12, 1978 in front of 20,000 people at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. Dylan was onstage, and I was sitting in floor seat A30, literally front row center. Dylan stepped up to the microphone and announced, ‘This next songs is from an album you might remember called ‘Planet Waves.’ It sold 12 copies.’ At which point I said, ‘Why?’ Whereupon Bob turned to look at me and answered, shaking his head with a slight grin on his face, ‘I dunno, man. I dunno.’”

Summary: Billy Altman got peak Diamond Dave in the cover story. I’m guessing he was pretty happy not working with a few guys named Van Halen.

Grade: A-

Latest price on eBay: $11.95 to “Buy It No

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