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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1988 (Volume 19, Number 8)

U2 and the Replacements were big winners in the 1987 Creem Readers Poll and were featured on the cover of the April 1988 issue. U2 won Top Album (“The Joshua Tree”), Top Band, and Album Cover of the Year. R.E.M. had the Top Single with “The One I Love” and won many of the individual categories (Best Male Vocalist, Best Guitarist, Best Bassist). Motley Crue took the “Worst Group” honors and Michael Jackson was voted “The Rip-Off of the Year.” My favorite result was Jerry Lee Lewis landing at #10 for the “Best Keyboardist” award. Also, it’s probably noteworthy that Jim and Tammy Baker were the “Couple of the Year.” 

There were several letters expressing outrage about an Eleganza column titled “Rock Critics: Why They’re Morons,” by Hercules “Archie” Bovis (which was clearly another pseudonym of John Mendelssohn’s and may have been his last contribution to the magazine). Mr. Bovis must have entertained some readers, because he finished in 9th place in the “Rock Critic of the Year” category. Lester Bangs, who died in 1982, finished 7th.  

Features: 

“The Pogues, By the Grace of God,” by Harold DeMuir 

“Love & Rockets: Be This Perversity?,” by Moira McCormick 

“A Box of Screaming Blue Messiahs,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“Spreading a Pack of Lies About Depeche Mode, Or, New Ways to Have Fun,” by Jon Young 

“Soundtracks: From Top Gun to Dirty Dancing,” by Guy Aoki 

“Paul Simon’s Return to Graceland,” by Glenn A. Baker 

“Bryan Ferry: The Pariah Speaks,” by Gill Smith 

Harold DeMuir covered the history of the Pogues in a rather run-of-the-mill feature. 

Love & Rockets were one year away from being one-hit wonders with “So Alive” at the time they were interviewed by Moira McCormick.  

Bill Carter of the Screaming Blue Messiahs rambled and raved quite a bit in his interview with Sylvie Simmons. Perhaps he thought he was speaking with a therapist instead of a journalist.  

Jon Young made up fake quotes for Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode throughout his story on them, because Wilder’s actual quotes were stuff like, “I don’t feel like the music is cold” and “I don’t think our music is depressing.”  

Paul Simon discussed the “Graceland” album, his songwriting process, and his admiration for the Everly Brothers in his interview with Glenn Baker.  

If you remembered that Bryan Ferry had a Top 40 U.S. hit in 1988 with “Kiss and Tell,” your memory is much better than mine. Ferry talked about his solo career, his time with Roxy Music and his enjoyment of studio work in a good interview with Gill Smith.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Shane MacGowen, “I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything wrong with drinking.”  

Daniel Ash of Love & Rockets, “I think basically all religions are bastards of truth.” 

Bill Carter of Screaming Blue Messiahs, “I got really disgusted with shouting my head off every night.” 

Chuck Eddy, “I mean, what the hell good’s religion if it ain’t SCARY, right?” 

Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode, “A lot of pop music is just complete nonsense. What we do is deal with subjects that people can relate to from everyday life.” 

Paul Simon responding to attacks of “cultural imperialism” regarding the “Graceland” album, “A lot of people can’t change their opinions because they’ve got into this righteous position.” 

Bryan Ferry, “It’s always a temptation to stay with the name that’s established, like Cornflakes or whatever, but at that point in Roxy (after the ‘Avalon’ album), it had got to where it wasn’t so much a band, more of the trade name.” 

Ferry, “I’ve always considered singing just one part of the record, just like another instrument.” 

Jerry Lee Lewis, “Elvis was my friend, and I’m glad, because if you can say you have five good friends in this life…but I can just hope that Jerry Lee Lewis will go down in history like Elvis, ‘cause anyone says they’re better than Elvis Presley was onstage, they’re takin’ something Jerry Lee Lewis never tried before.” 

Bill Holdship, “Now, more than ever, X are one of America’s best rock ‘n’ roll bands.” 

Summary: Several lackluster, easily forgettable features in this issue. It was pretty clear the Los Angeles version of Creem was on life support at this point. No issue was published in May of 1988. 

Grade: B- 

Latest price on eBay: $26.50 to “Buy It Now.” 

1 Comments

  1. Steve Crawford on April 24, 2023 at 8:50 pm

    I have been informed by someone in the know that Hercules “Archie” Bovis was actually a pseudonym for Dave DiMartino. An interesting revelation!

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