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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1987 (Volume 18, Number 8)

The results of the 1986 Readers Poll was the cover story for the April 1987 issue of Creem. The cover included  pictures of R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, David Lee Roth, and Eddie Van Halen. The magazine noted the major shift in voting, with Motley Crue no longer being honored and R.E.M. winning the major categories (Top Album, Top Single, Top Band). Morrisey was voted Best Male Singer and the votes were split on Van Halen – Eddie won Best Guitarist and Best Keyboard Player, but his band topped the Worst Group category. David Lee Roth continued his winning ways, walking away with Rip-Off of the Year and Most Pathetic honors.  

“Rock ‘n’ Roll News” reported that Bob Stinson was no longer with the Replacements. Sadly, the gifted but perpetually self-destructive guitar player died in 1995. The passing of New Orleans R&B legend Lee Dorsey was also noted, as well as the disbanding of the Dead Kennedys.   

Speaking of the Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra sent in a loooong response letter to Tipper Gore, asking, “What really encourages more kids to wind up dead, Ozzy Osbourne or military recruiting ads?” 

Features: 

“Chrissie Hynde, Without Cruelty to Animals,” by Deborah Frost 

“Bragging with Billy,” by Ira Robbins 

“Big Audio Dynamite Opts Out…and Mick Jones Explains Why,” by Andy Hughes 

“Georgia Satellites Fire the Retro Rockets,” by Jeff Tamarkin 

“Cyndi Lauper: Doing That Primitive Thing,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“Into the Groove with Debbie Harry,” by Kris Needs 

Chrissie Hynde had a complete revamped version of the Pretenders in 1986/1987 and had released the Top Ten single “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” Chrissie defended calling her new band the Pretenders (“The Pretenders is my band”), wondered why there weren’t any female guitar innovators, railed extensively against eating meat products, and talked about the difficulties of performing when “you have to do a big show and you’re getting on your period.” There seemed to be a bit of tension between Hynde and author Deborah Frost and Hynde concluded that being interviewed was “humiliating.” Hynde, “All I want to do is play guitar in a rock ‘n’ roll band, make records and do shows…It’s like no mystery, y’know?” 

Billy Bragg talked about his love of Motown and traditional country music in a short interview with Ira Robbins, who described the singer as a “homely socialist.” 

Mick Jones described the m.o. of B.A.D.,” We take certain ideas from American music, like the beat box and the bass from reggae, and some ideas from film soundtracks, to make our own kind of film music.” Jones felt that after his experience with the Clash that it wasn’t worth his energy to fight with his record label, stating, “We just get on with our job and try to do it as well as possible, and let the record company get on with what they should be doing.” He had fought the law and the law had won. 

The Georgia Satellites discussed bad gigs, their love of 70’s guitar bands (namechecking Bad Company and AD/DC), and pride in their Southern roots. Baird, “We were afraid of being lumped in with other Southern bands because we have the word Georgia right in our name. But that scene put some freshness and honesty into things and I appreciate what guys like R.E.M. are doing, even if we don’t sound a thing like them.” 

Sylvie Simmons did a deep dive on Cyndi Lauper, covering her family/childhood, pre-fame career, as well as the hit songs era. Cyndi sounded more like a goal-oriented artist than an unusual girl.  

By 1987, it had seemed like a previous lifetime since Debbie Harry had been a major star. She was interviewed to promote her “Rockbird” album, which yielded no Top 40 hit singles. At the least, Harry was a realist, commenting, “Blondie was a phenomenon – we were riding this wave. I don’t expect that to happen ever again.” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Chrissie Hynde, “Some people aren’t good interviews. I don’t think I’ve ever been good at them.” 

Jon Young on the Georgia Satellites, “A hell-raisin’, foot-stompin’, hard rockin’, straight-shootin’, floor-shakin’ bunch of boys. If you’re excited by the prospect of a fire-breathing update of the early Faces or ‘Exile on Main Street’-era Stones, lay down this magazine and obtain the Satellites’ peerless platter immediately.” 

John Mendelssohn on OMD, “They’re yet another white British synthesizer disco group that’s approximately 20 parts production to one part talent, a triumph of packaging over content, a whole lot of tarted up nuttin’.” 

Robert Christgau on the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” album, “The wisecracking arrogance of this record is the only rock ‘n’ roll attitude that means diddley right now.” 

Billy Bragg on Patsy Cline, “She was undoubtedly the greatest female country singer that ever lived.” 

Dan Baird, “You wonder how far off the Monkees were, a band put together for reasons of success. But I’d rather deal with Davy Jones than George Michael.” 

Rick Johnson on “The New Newlywed Game,” “Bashful Bob Eubanks is back as the host, having been rejected by Sigue Sigue Sputnik for looking too weird.” 

Summary:  You get two first rate profiles on 1980’s female icons Chrissie Hynde and Cyndi Lauper. 

Grade: B+  Latest price on eBay: $9.99 to “Buy It Now

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