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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – August 1979 (Volume 11, Number 3)

The New Barbarians, a Rolling Stones offshoot band formed to push a Ronnie Wood solo album, graced the cover of the August 1979 issue of Creem. That band played about twenty gigs, including one in Milwaukee that resulted in a riot when expected guests Mick Jagger and Neil Young didn’t appear. The group’s refusal to play an encore didn’t help the situation. Anyhoo, the meat of this particular cover story is author Robert Duncan following the band to gigs and interviewing bassist/jazzbo Stanley Clarke (“Jimi Hendrix’s music actually inspired me to move into more progressive music”). My main takeaway from this piece is that ANYTHING involving the Stones in the 1970s was considered newsworthy.

Nick Tosches wrote about Wynonie Harris is his recurring column “Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” These pieces by Tosches became highlights of future Creem issues and were later the basis of a book with the same title.

David Lee Roth looked like the world’s most obnoxious stoner, posing on a motorcycle in the “Stars Cars” pic.


“Rubinoos: Theoretical Boys in Search of the Summer Single,” by Mitch Cohen

“Tom Robinson Band: The Song, Not the Singer,” by Simon Frith

“Survive! How I Toured with the Damned…and Lived,” by Toby Goldstein

“The Sweet Stylish Pillage of the New Barbarians or the Druids Take Some Sun,” by Robert Duncan

The Rubinoos wrestled with the concept of being a pure pop band in a disco and punk world. Despite serving as the opening act for Elvis Costello on an extended tour, they never significantly grew their fan base. Simon Frith rooted for Tom Robinson, while also noting that his vocals weren’t strong enough to front a rock band.

Quotable Quotes:

Robert Christgau on “Bob Dylan At Budokan,” “I believe this double-LP was made available so our hero could boast of being outclassed by Cheap Trick.”

Roy Carr on the film “The Kids Are Alright,” “One of the most successful and perceptive documentaries ever…The Who circa ’65 look more contemporary than many of today’s frontline figures. It’s not even that events have regressed, just that the Who are timeless.”

Toby Goldstein on The Damned, “There is a reason that terms like ‘new wave’ have not appeared in discussing The Damned, while punk is mentioned often. The Damned are the last of the self-defined punk bands. Their fans come to get crazy, not to protest or learn. The cops shake down the arriving throngs, turning away hundreds who were waiting for tickets, but are unable to prevent a sellout of the plush Lyceum. Candy-colored heads top stalklike bodies with provincial accents.”

Nick Tosches, “Wynonie Harris is remembered by those who knew him as a Wildman, a creator of lurid excess.”

Summary: There isn’t anything fundamentally broken in this issue of Creem, but there’s a lot of ink on bands/artists that didn’t align with my personal tastes. It’s not you Creem, it’s me.

Grade: B

Latest price on eBay: $12.00 to “Buy It Now.”

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