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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1977 (Volume 9, Number 7)

Jefferson Starship returned to the pages of Creem for the second feature of the year in the December 1977 issue. At this point, the band, or at least Grace Slick, were deemed cover worthy. Sadly, there was nothing newsworthy in the article, unless you are interested in reading about Craig Chaquico paying for a sexual act with a woman who had “like a rubber arm.” Hopefully, that wasn’t the only rubber involved. 

The death of Marc Bolan was reported in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News.” Although he was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. (1971’s “Get It On”), he had fifteen Top Twenty U.K. pop singles with the final one being 1976’s “I Love to Boogie.” Gloria Jones, who originally recorded “Tainted Love” in 1964 and was known as “The Queen of Northern Soul,” was Bolan’s long time romantic partner. Sadly, she also was driving the car in the crash that resulted in Bolan’s death.  In lighter news, Jackie Fox was leaving the rock ‘n’ roll life for law school and Rick Nielsen’s pet tarantula had survived a bout with “swine flu.” 

Frank Zappa perfected the “eccentric, homeless look” in the “Creem’s Profiles,” while shirtless rock stars Robert Plant and Rod Stewart were stalking a soccer field as “The Creem Dreem.” 

Features: 

“Robin Trower to Rock: Get Back to Where You Belonged,” by Susan Whitall 

“Catch a Wave? No, West Coast NEW WAVE! CREEM’S Punk Guides Stagger On…,” by Jack Basher 

“The Starship in the Seventies: Slick Licks and Skateboard Tricks,” by Howard Klein 

“The Grateful Dead: Remembrance of Past Hippies,” by Jack Basher 

“So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star, Creem’s Irreverent Guide to the Music Business,” by Richard Robinson 

Creem’s three month look at punk rock continued. After pieces on the U.K. and New York City punk scenes, it was time for a look at the West Coast “New Wave” scene. First generation punk bands the Nuns, the Avengers, and the Germs are featured in the piece. Vom gets a special mention as “a critic’s band in the truest sense of the word,” since the line-up included Richard Meltzer, Gene Sculatti, Metal Mike Saunders, and Gregg Turner. For the most part, the bands included in this piece had much less long-term impact than the acts in the U.K. and New York overviews.  

Robin Trower, who had released an album with MOR soul influences (“In City Dreams”) somewhat predicted his own demise, stating that rock music needed to change. The Grateful Dead “think piece” is a swing and a miss. The author even states, “OK – I don’t have anything to say about this band, right? But CREEM needs more words.” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson, “We’re boring old farts.” 

Susan Whitall on the Babys, “They make look English glitzy, they may sound like a mutation of Free, but there’s nary a trace of the usual English rock group misogyny.” 

Simon Frith, “It took two late events to make me hear Elvis Presley as the finest rock ‘n’ roll singer there ever was: the 1968 TV Special was an amazing revelation that Elvis’ power came from his own art and not from the tailored image and the fans’ frenzy; and Greil Marcus’ “Presliad” in (‘Mystery Train’) made me listen to Presley’s voice (rather than to its associations) and realise that his art didn’t vanish with the uniform.” 

Robin Trower, “Rock’s been pretty much the same thing for about 10 years. It’s time for something new.” 

Robin Trower, “Black music is the big thing artistically in this century. I would say, to a young musician: forget about rock – go back to black music. Check it out, and you’ve got the whole story, almost.” 

Joe Fernbacher on Richard Hell & The Voidoids “Blank Generation” album, “A primer for the intellectuality of the new punk. No longer can destruction and ignorance be the bywords of the blank generation.” 

Richard C. Walls on the Talking Heads “77” album, “(David) Byrne’s voice sounds like he’s trying to swallow his nose from the inside. It’s a good sound and it jumps, hops, skips and slips in and out of erratic staccato phrasing…Lotta low-keyed humor here. Lotta commercial potential and subtle kicks, too. But not a bit like the Carpenters.” 

Summary:  This issue could have used a little more sizzle and a little more steak. 

Grade: B 

Latest price on eBay: $14.99 to “Buy It Now.” 

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