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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1977 (Volume 8, Number 9)

For the February 1977 issue of Creem, Gary Ciccarelli delivered another first-rate illustration for the cover – this one of Peter Frampton is his 1970’s flowing locks rock star glory. Journalist Steve Clarke caught up with Frampton during his first U.K. tour in three years and at the height of his “Frampton Comes Alive” fame. Clarke admired Frampton’s unpretentious attitude and his broad appeal  (“The chicks like him ‘cause they fancy him and the guys like him ‘cause they wish they could look like him”). 

Quite humorously, the first letter in the “Mail” section is from a British musician named Pete Townshend. Lovable Pete felt the need to scold the magazine based upon a joke that several readers took seriously (“I am not working on a ten album set based on ‘The Bible’”). In “Rock ‘N’ Roll News,” it was reported that David Bowie may have been feeling some side effects from his “four-pack-a-day nicotine habit” and that Jackson Browne was infatuated with disco (“It’s totally infectious”). 

John Oates was bursting with pornstache pride in the “Creem’s Profiles.” 

Features: 

“Frog Prince Does His Thing: Kiki Dee Saved from a Fate Worse Than Death,” by Simon Frith & Peter Langley 

“The Runaways: Lissome Lolitas or Teenage Trash?,” by Patrick Goldstein 

“Eric Clapton is Alive, Well, and at Home with the Old Lady and Dog: Any Objections?,” by Barbara Charone 

“Nils Lofgren Sucks Eggs: Not Really, But You Read This Far, Didn’t You,” by Susan Whitall 

“The Year of the Framp: It’s My Party and I’ll Be Pretty If I Want To,” by Steve Clarke 

“The Day the Earth Stood KISS: The Creem Gene Simmons Rodent of Prey Interview,” by Robert Duncan 

“Mick Ronson and David Cassidy: Will the Odd Couple Come Out?,” by John Morthland 

Simon Frith and Peter Langley penned a nice career summary on Kiki Dee and were rooting for her success to continue after the Elton John duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Unfortunately, Kiki wouldn’t have another Top Ten single, only in the U.K., until 1993 with the Elton John duet “True Love.” Patrick Goldstein’s feature with Kim Fowley and the Runaways is just as entertaining as you would expect with Joan Jett trashing their debut album and talking about setting off smoke bombs on high school buses. 

Eric Clapton talked about hanging out with Don Williams and stealing the riff from “Layla” from Albert King in one of his typically defensive interviews (“I never even wanted ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ on the album – I didn’t want it at all. I thought it was a rip-off”). The non-egg sucking Nils Lofgren was stuck in critics’ darling limbo. He could’ve made a great sideman though.  

Gene Simmons seemed to have a significant interest in rock critics, stating that he might go to a masquerade party as Robert Duncan and pontificating the merits of being liked/disliked by Lester Bangs and Ben Fong-Torres.   

Quotable Quotes:   

Simon Frith, “I’ve decided to believe in punk after all. EMI have signed the Sex Pistols and I ain’t about to be outcooled by those dumboes.” 

Kim Fowley to journalist Patrick Goldstein, “Didn’t I meet you during my male prostitute days?” 

Cherie Currie, “This isn’t a tits-and-ass show. Most girl bands spend too much time competing with guys. We use our femininity in the act but we don’t have more balls than men – just feminine balls.” 

Eric Clapton, “I don’t listen to clever lead guitar playing anymore. I’m more interested in total songs.” 

Nils Lofgren, “I know as much about rock ‘n’ roll as anybody else, and if you really want to get a good review, you should go ask some kid who bought the record.” 

Steve Clarke on Peter Frampton, “His I’m Young and Pretty, Been in Love, Hurt, But I’m All right Now stance is actually quite intoxicating, containing a high degree of energy and freshness.” 

Gene Simmons, “If Lester (Bangs) doesn’t like us, I don’t think that’s too good for us. If Ben Fong-Torres doesn’t like us, that’s great!” 

Billy Altman on Kiss’s “Rock and Roll Over” album, “’Rock and Roll Over’ does what it says. It rock ‘n’ rolls over. And over. And over. It is loud. It is simple. And it is fun.” 

Robot A. Hull on Sparks, “Admittedly, Sparks ain’t everybody’s bowl of granola, but they do traverse the Doom Machine of mechanical Top Twenty Gonad Hits in order to reach for intense ultrasonic levels of sophisticated gaga.” 

Summary: Plenty of good content and an ad featuring Richard Hell, with instructions to “Call Hell.”

 Latest price on eBay: $9.99 to “Buy It Now.” 

Grade: A- 

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