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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – August 1983 (Volume 15, Number 3)

Ray Davies of the Kinks, looking quite dapper, was featured on the cover of the August 1983 issue of Creem, flanked by inset pics of Bryan Adams and Marshall Crenshaw. John Mendelssohn, who found fame/infamy in the early era of “Rolling Stone” magazine for his love of the Kinks and his hatred of Led Zeppelin, penned the cover story based upon attending a Los Angeles Kinks show. Mendelssohn, “Playing in arenas which God had intended for basketball and Journey, the Kinks felt compelled to crank up the volume and sustain on their guitar amps to the point which they remained distinguishable from other favorites of the circuit mostly by virtue of neither Ray nor Brother Dave having the…awesome…chops that are the arena genre’s stock in trade.” It was a rather pensive look at what sacrifices the band had made for continued commercial relevance. 

The death of Muddy Waters was reported in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News.” 


“Fresh Flesh with the Flesh Eaters,” by Gregg Turner 

“The Golden Age of Thomas Dolby: Radio Silence No More,” by Michael Goldberg 

“Wall of Voodoo’s Off Sound Track Betting: Caricatures Shown Not Intended to Depict Artemia Salina,” by Richard Riegel 

“Bryan Adams: Sings Like a Butterfly – Cuts Like a Knife!,” by Jim Feldman 

“The Thompson Twins at the Seashore,” by John Mendelssohn 

“Marshall Crenshaw Has a Field Day,” by Karen Schlosberg 

“From Runaway to Metal Goddess: Lita Ford’s Got Blood If You Want It!,” by Iman Lababedi 

“Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend Molly Hatchet?,” by John Kordosh 

Gregg Turner interviewed Chris Desjardins of the Flesh Eaters, covering his musical history which included intersections with the Blasters and X. It’s a fairly lengthy piece for an unsigned band in a national magazine.  

Thomas Dolby expressed appreciation for Captain Beefheart, discussed his nomadic upbringing as the son of an archeologist, and was rubbed the wrong way when his music was described as “synthesizer oriented music” in his interview with Michael Goldberg. Perhaps he viewed his work as progressive bluegrass. Author Michael Goldberg in conclusion, “Next issue: Jerry Garcia on how the Grateful Dead aren’t hippies.”  

Writer Jim Feldman had been aware of Bryan Adams since his 1979 disco/club hit “Let Me Take You Dancing” and had the unique perspective of interviewing Adams twice for this piece – once before he got famous and then after the “Cuts Like a Knife” album had started its ascension to platinum status. 

Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins sounded equal parts articulate and condescending in his interview with John Mendelssohn.  

Marshall Crenshaw did a lengthy interview on his “Field Day” album and the piece includes a humorous cameo appearance by producer Steve Lillywhite. 

Lita Ford candidly discussed drug issues, working as a cosmetician, and taking voice lessons in her interview with Iman Lababedi. 

Given the opinions that Dave Hlubek of Molly Hatchet shared on Black Sabbath (“the Devil’s music”) and Boy George (“a fucking faggot”), it’s surprising that he never worked for Fox News. 

Quotable Quotes:   

Keith Richards on the Stray Cats, “They’re gonna be great in a few years.” 

Martin Swope on the life lessons of being a member of Mission of Burma, “I’ve learned to live on a meal a day – I imagine I’ll carry that with me for a while.” 

Thomas Dolby, “A platinum album is wonderful within the business and looks great on your wall and everything, but that actually represents a million people who have wanted that album and have played that album in their own living room and that’s very important.” 

Richard Riegel, “I like Wall of Voodoo’s sound as I’ve heard it on the two albums: Stan Ridgway’s and Chas Gray’s multiple keyboards lay out big stairstep cubes of dark-but-not-gloomy synthesizer pulse, which Joe Nanini works over your ribs with human & electronic percussion probes, and Marc Moreland twangs away at a sagebrush-echo fat guitar worthy of any of the late Marty Robbins’ dustychaps, wagonwheel melodramas. And the lyrics, all written and sung by this Ridgway chap, in a muted sarcasm that gets downright CARING at times, suggest almost a more humanist version of Devo.” 

Bryan Adams, “I’d like to write songs that are timeless, like Pete Townshend does.” 

Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, “That seems to be the biggest problem with pop music in America, people stick with the same thing until they’ve wrung every last drop of blood out of it.” 

Bailey, “I don’t think the context of rock ‘n’ roll guitar is applicable to this new generation. It’s just been done too many times.” 

Marshall Crenshaw, “I really hate the realistic approach to recording rock ‘n’ roll music. It’s like Iggy Pop says in his book – to him, good music should be like a hallucination.”  

Producer Steve Lillywhite, “This group Rush called me up. I spoke to their manager and I suddenly saw lots of dollar signs in front of my face. How many records do these guys sell – millions, right? But then I realized, I couldn’t keep a straight face working with them.” 

Lita Ford, “I get bored with just one man.” 

Dave Hlubek of Molly Hatchet, “Black Sabbath, to me – they suck a big one. I think they’re sacrilegious.” 

John Mendelsson on The Kinks’ “Arthur” album, “That astonishing collection of songs about the frustrations of English working class life that Davies sang with sufficient passion and rage to make one who’d never even been to England, and knew nothing of class, to tremble with indignation.” 

John Mendelssohn, “Prince’s is the coolest physical image in American pop music since Bob Dylan’s electric-haired troubadour in winklepickers period.” 

Rick Johnson on the Mari Wilson album “Show People,” “The only thing better than this record would be if life had a drive-thru lane.” 

Summary: As a member of the editorial staff, Rick Johnson was contributing less feature material than during the Whitall years, but that vacuum was filled expertly by John Mendelssohn. 

Grade: B+ 

Latest price on eBay: $7.95 to “Buy It Now.” 

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