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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – August 1980 (Volume 12, Number 3)

The Pretenders, with hard living, style conscious bassist Pete Farndon more front and center than Chrissie Hynde, captured the cover of the August 1980 issue of Creem. Chrissie Hynde talked about her arrest in Memphis (“It WASN’T MY FAULT!”), singing with Iggy Pop (“one of the highlights of my life”) and finding success at the age of 28 (“If I was gonna lie about my age, I’d say I was 34!”). A fine interview conducted by the editor Susan Whitall, when the Pretenders were one of the hottest young bands on the planet.

From the “Mail” Section: Reverend Mark Blackwell of Lockhart, Texas wrote in to cancel his daughter’s subscription, noting, “After I took the time to look into what your magazine is all about, I do not feel this is what I want in my home, or for my teenage daughter to read…I do pray that you would with the help of Jesus Christ turn your talents to good.” Maybe it wasn’t coincidental that the first item in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News” was about the impending release of Bob Dylan’s “Saved” album.  

Bob Seger had the cheesiest smile imaginable in his “Creem’s Profiles” pic. He looked like a man who had obtained his ultimate ambition.  

Features: 

“The Lord Giveth While the Cramps Taketh Away: Strychnine Zombies Leave the Swamp,” by John Mendelssohn 

“Joe Perry Project Takes Off,” by Dave Zimmer 

“The Public Image Has Cracked: John Lydon’s Legacy Lingers,” by Jeff Hays 

“Leisure Time with the Proletariat: Gang of Four Face the Capitalist Threat,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Warren Zevon: Life in the Mental Combat Zone,” by Toby Goldstein  

John Mendelssohn made his debut in Creem with his feature on the Cramps and every word written by the author and spoken by the band is a delight to read. 

In his interview with Dave Zimmer, solo rocker Joe Perry seemed much happier and excited about music than he ever did with Aerosmith. Alternately, John Lydon sounded like his usual cranky self (“I haven’t the slightest interest in (the Sex Pistols) and that is fact”) in his interview with Jeff Hays. 

In the other features, Warren Zevon sounded defensive and Gang of Four were surprisingly easy going and articulate. 

Quotable Quotes:   

Tonio K., “Label two, record two.” 

John Mendelssohn, “All that the parents and teachers of the very late 1950’s dreaded most, the Cramps are, and in spades.” 

Lux Interior on being inspired by the New York Dolls, “I didn’t know how to play an instrument, but neither did they!” 

Joe Perry on touring clubs, “I’m not looking to play the rock ‘n’ roll game anymore and get the most exposure in front of the most numbers.

 Joe Perry, “There would be no Van Halen if it weren’t for Aerosmith.” 

John Lydon on Malcom McLaren, “When he started acting like God I’d tell him to shut up. It was easy for him to manipulate the likes of Paul (Cook) and Steve (Jones). He was laughing in their fucking faces and they didn’t recognize it.” 

Dave DiMartino on the Gang of Four, “They’re the best new band to emerge from Britain in two or three years. At least.” 

Andy Gill, “America IS such a violent society and everybody sort of seems to ACCEPT it.” 

Warren Zevon on his live show, “It’s pretty strenuous, it’s a little taxing, but it strikes me as being very funny. It’s intended to be. The ‘New York Times’ didn’t think so – oh, never mind.” 

Mitchell Cohen, “Won’t Pete Townshend make a terrific old English curmudgeon 20 years down the line, dregging up mod memories for the BBC/PBS?” 

Rick Johnson on Journey, “Dry heaves conceptualized.” 

Summary: Another eminently entertaining outing. 

Grade: A- 

Latest price on eBay: $11.40 to “Buy It Now.” 

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