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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – August 1987 (Volume 18, Number 12)

Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy of the Cult, who had just rewritten “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones and called it “Love Removal Machine,” were featured on the cover of the August 1987 issue of Creem. Journalist Kris Needs raved about the Cult’s live show and covered their history, evolving from an early ‘80s goth act into a Rick Rubin produced arena metal band. Rubin saw the Cult as an extension of AC/DC, Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, stating, “I wanted ‘Electric’ to be a classic rock album for the 1980s.” Chris Duffy, describing their ambitions, “To be realistic, we’ve got to get across to bulk America.” Kris Needs was a big gaga over the group, proclaiming that they would fill “Led Zep’s long vacant boogie shoes” and “be HUGE.” While the Cult did release two platinum selling albums in the U.S., the constant comparisons to Led Zeppelin by the band and the author come across as retroactively inane. In reviewing the “Electric” album, Richard C. Walls concluded that they were a “well-polished mediocre band destined to sell a lot of records this year.” 

In “Rock ‘n’ Roll News” we learned that Roger Waters was having legal issues with the rest of Pink Floyd (what a shocker) and that a teenage record store clerk had been arrested in Florida for the crime of selling a 2 Live Crew album.  


“The Cult: Whatever Happened to Southern Death?,” by Kris Needs 

“Double or Nothing? It’s the Thompson Twins,” by John Kordosh 

“Suzanne Vega and the (Un)common Folk,” by Mark Jenkins 

“Hipsway Takes the Plunge, Crotch Deep in the Hoopla,” by Bud Scoppa 

“Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Less is More, More or Less,” by Bud Scoppa 

“Bachelor #2: Bob Pfeifer,” by Bill Holdship 

“Lou Gramm: A Jaunt to Dimension Solo,” by Chuck Eddy 

John Kordosh asked the Thompson Twins if they “get a thrill out of hearing your records on the radio?” Tom Bailey’s response, “Thrill? We get a CHECK!” There is more entertaining banter between Kordosh, Bailey and Alannah Currie throughout the piece and one learns what the British slang “lovefish” means. 

Suzanne Vega discussed being inspired by Lou Reed and updating the folk tradition in a short interview with Mark Kemp.  

Tom Petty, who was no longer cover material, talked about learning new tricks from Bob Dylan, who was the co-writer on his 1987 hit single “Jammin’ Me.” Petty noted the tune was originally penned for Dylan’s “Knocked Out Loaded” album, but didn’t make the final cut. As for new music, Petty had been listening to Hank Williams, Jr. and the Beatles and he knocked Husker Du and R.E.M. (“I don’t think they’re very good on the guitar”). Petty came across as a mixture of a candid guy and a “get off my lawn” old man. 

Bill Holdship interviewed Bob Pfeifer about his album “After Words.” Pfeifer, “I guess the album’s about composites of people I’ve had relationships with…I think I’d love to have, let’s say, monogamy in a relationship.” 

Lou Gramm complained to Chuck Eddy that he didn’t have enough songwriting input when he was fronting Foreigner and was enjoying solo success with his hit “Midnight Blue.” Eddy, “Jerks who lump Foreigner into the Boston/Styx/Journey/Toto limbo are jerks, and they miss the point, because Foreigner had way more imagination, not to mention oomph, than those other brand-name crews.” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Ira Robbins, “No one who really cherishes the traditional precepts of rock ‘n’ roll – energy, guts, excitement, teenage-hood, recklessness, rebellion – can fail to grip what’s so important about the Replacements.” 

Richard Reigel on Bryan Adams, “Unfortunately, I can’t add a thing to Michael Davis’s review of Bryan Adams’s ‘Reckless’ (album), as published in the April ’85 issue of this magazine…Davis hit the totem pole right on the head when he described fair-haired Byran’s sound as ‘a sandpaper sandwich made with a whole lotta bread.” 

Rick Johnson on Peter Wolf’s “Come As You Are” album, “Wolf is in top voice throughout, howling like a man who’s having his tonsils put back in. In fact, before playing ‘Thick As Thieves,’ you might want to have a fire wall constructed around your eardrums.” 

Suzanne Vega, “My music is much more confrontational than the folk music of the ‘60s. It has more to do with facing – not escaping – the urban experience, the harsh realities of like in tough New York neighborhoods.” 

Lou Gramm, “It was like Mick Jones wanted us to be Adult Contemporary, and I didn’t even feel like an adult.” 

Summary: The open secret about Creem – the writing is often much more interesting than the subject.  

Grade: A- 

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