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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – August 1976 (Volume 8, Number 3) 

The August 1976 issue of Creem has one of my favorite all-time cover illustrations – a spoof of Paul McCartney as a McDonald’s employee. Sir Paul has reached such legendary status that he’s almost beyond criticism in 2022, but in the era when “My Love” and “Let ‘Em In” were on the radio hourly, cloying familiarity did breed some legitimate contempt. Lester Bangs thought that McCartney epitomized “safety” as a solo artist and felt that he projected an image of a family man as part of that non-threatening package. He did find McCartney’s live show to be surprisingly exciting. McCartney’s response to his music being called bland, “He sprang immediately into his schtick: Okay, you and me, Lester, outside, wfft! pfft!’ making judo motions in the air.” 

The “Mail” section includes a letter from Jerry Dirkx calling Ted Nugent “a creep.” Dirkx would later make a name for himself in the small, early 1980s Texas punk scene with his bands The Telefones and the Teenage Queers. Of course, he was right about Ted. Also KISS producer Bob Ezrin invited Jeffrey Morgan, who had panned the “Destroyer” album (“Our little hearts cry out for love and acceptance of all the Jeffrey Morgans of this world”), to visit him at his Tae Kwon-Do class. 

“Rock ‘N’ Roll News” reported that Stevie Wonder’s much delayed double album “Songs in the Key of Life” was certified as platinum, even before it was released, due to advance orders. Also, in “Creem’s Profiles” were the “apotheosis of Good Enough” Aerosmith, while southern California surfers The Runaways were the Creem Dream.

 

Features: 

“Bob Seger: Overnight Success…Finally!,” by Lowell Cauffiel 

“Foghat: Beyond the Spaghetti Principle,” by Air-Wreck Genheimer 

“Paul and Linda McCartney: Bionic Couple Serves It Your Way,” by Lester Bangs 

“Jeff Beck Gets Mellow (Well…Sort of),” by Billy Altman 

“Too Rolled to Stone? The Continuing Stones’ Saga, Life from Frankfurt, Germany,” by Charles Shaar Murray 

Author Lowell Cauffiel caught a rather giddy Bob Seger, who was on the verge of becoming a major national star. Cauffiel and Seger participated in the least likely hobby of a rock star, an afternoon jog. Billy Altman interviewed Jeff Beck on a day when he was relaxed and talkative, leading to an excellent overview of Beck’s career, to include his platinum mid-1970’s instrumental albums “Blow by Blow” and “Wired.” 

Charles Shaar Murray got this month’s feature on the Rolling Stones (a reprint from New Musical Express). Murray had to face a coked-up Keith Richards, upset about an album review that Murray had written. As one would expect from Murray, it’s a witty, well-written piece. 

Quotable Quotes:   

Robert Christgau on the debut Ramones album, “For me, it blows everything else off the radio; it’s clean the way the Dolls never were, sprightly the way the Velvets never were, and just plain listenable the way Black Sabbath never was.”

Gene Sculatti on the debut Ramones album, “If their successors are one third as good as the Ramones, we’ll be fixed for life.” 

New York DJ Scott Muni to Patti Smith, “When did you first think you were hitting it big?” Patti Smith, “Oh, when CREEM magazine gave me three pages for my poems. I mean, three pages, and I was just a poet – that’s big.” 

Bob Seger, “It’s HAPPENING man. ‘Live Bullet’ is breaking nationally. East and West Coast breakouts, two weeks in a row. I can’t believe it. We’ve sold 250,000 copies in four weeks. It’s fucking incredible.” 

Rod Peverett of Foghat, “I can’t see any band being in it for only the money. If you were in it just for the money it would be murder, it’s much too punishing.” 

Lester Bangs on Paul McCartney, “His lyrics are so dopey they end up making fun of themselves, and…he insists on trundling his musically illiterate photographer wife with him everywhere both on stage and off.” 

Jeff Beck on leaving the Yardbirds, “I think it could have been really dangers for both of us had it gone on. (Jimmy) Page and myself together was like a complete amalgamation of sexual anticipation and utter schizophrenic tendencies.” 

Charles Shaar Murray, “The Great Charlie Watts is playing so clean and crisp and precise that it’s almost a shock to pick up on the fact that there’s a ridiculous amount of muscle in the backbeat.” 

Keith Richards, “I only listen to black music these days. I ain’t too interested in white bands who rip off white bands who ripped off black bands.” 

Billy Altman on “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “A solid bite of late ‘60s Angloid via Byrds harmonies grafted onto musing re the philosophy of death, complete with spectacular storm after calm guitar frenzy.” 

Summary: Solid pieces throughout and two fine reviews of the debut Ramones album. 

Grade: A 

Latest price on eBay: $14.90 to “Buy It Now.” 

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