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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1980 (Volume 12, Number 7) 

Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen was featured on the cover of the December 1980 issue of Creem, along with small insert shots of John Cougar and the B-52’s. Nielsen displayed his marketing prowess, wearing a cheap trick pin on his ballcap and sporting a logo displaying bowtie. Nielsen discussed the band’s work ethic, his deep roots in Rockford, Illinois, working with producer George Martin, recording with John Lennon, and the departure of Tom Petersson. This was obviously a very busy time for Cheap Trick and due to the relative commercial disappointment of the ”All Shook Up” album, this was Creem’s final major piece on the band. As usual, it’s another very solid contribution from Rob Patterson.  

In the “Mail” Section, someone using the name “Barracuda” had thoughts about Rob Halford’s sexuality, commenting that he would “look tougher in a tutu” and asked if some of the photos of him were “locked in the closet.” 

John Bonham’s passing was acknowledged with a small photo tribute.  

Robot Hull celebrated the enthusiastic amateurism of The Shaggs in “The Beat Goes On,” even though their album was “a grotesque experience.” 

As “The Creem Dreem,” Grace Jones wasn’t just another pretty face. 

Features: 

“Motels’ Check-Out Time: Martha Davis Feeds Her Family,” by Dave DiMartino 

“The Hermit Trembles: Peter Noone Looks Back,” by John Mendelssohn 

“Candy Stripers Are Go: Zen Rudism and the Art of Cheap Trick,” by Rob Patterson 

“Teacher’s Pet from the Black Lagoon: Wimp Rock Will Never Die!,” by Rick Johnson 

“John Cougar: X-R7’s Entire Midwest Metropolis,” by Richard Riegel  

“Surpriiiise! Your Mom Likes the B-52’s,” by Mark Norton 

Dave DiMartino felt that the Motels were a promising act, comparing the songwriting of Martha Davis to Leonard Cohen decades before that was a hip namecheck. The interview had that tinge of excitement of a band on the brink of success.  

Peter Noone discussed his history with Herman’s Hermits, while hyping his short-lived band The Tremblers. It’s a good piece on Noone’s history and it is interestingly structured, since the entire piece is basically an oral history with no input from author John Mendelssohn except a short introduction.  

Rick Johnson’s feature on “Wimp Rock” gave Macomb’s favorite son a chance to explore “Great Moments in Wimp History” and to give a “Special Career Achievement” award to Paul McCartney. A typically Johnson-ish snappy line, “(The) Beatles perform ‘Till There Was You’ on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ creating several million Rolling Stones fans.” 

Richard Riegel wrote about his personal history with John Cougar, including panning his debut album in Creem. Cougar sounded more like a blue-collar worker (“We can eat in the car. Don’t make me no nevermind!”) than a rock star in his pre “Jack and Diane” period. In a weird side note, Cougar’s band at the time included classically trained pianist Doc Rosser, who is now imprisoned on child pornography charges. In less disgusting news, Richard Riegel and Cougar/Mellencamp developed such a close relationship that the heartland rocker would later invite Riegel to listen to his recording sessions to provide feedback on his songs before they were released, an offer that Riegel declined.  

Mark Norton described the broad-based appeal of the B-52s and did a short, lighthearted interview with the band.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Robot A. Hull, “The Shaggs’ naivete and outright stupidity are what make them so endearing.” 

Martha Davis of the Motels, “I’m just a MOM. Trying to support my kids. It’s that simple you know.” 

Rick Nielsen, “We have a goal to make good records – to do whatever we do well.” 

Rick Nielsen, “John (Lennon) probably thought I was Ozzie and Harriet’s kid or something until I got to the studio.” 

Rick Johnson, “There’s nothing wrong with Barry (Manilow) that hormones won’t cure.” 

Rick Johnson on the year 1961, “This is the last year for many centuries that you could turn upside down and it still reads the same!” 

Kate Pierson, “We’re a big favorite among the two-year-olds, the Crib Club.”  

Jeff Nesin on The Car’s “Panorama” album, “With this record the Cars confirm their position as the Eagles of the new wave and there’s so much backhand in that compliment there’s no room for the compliment at all.” 

Summary: Boy Howdy! did Susan Whitall put together a solid team of writers. 

Grade: A 

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

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