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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1978 (Volume 9, Number 9)

Jimmy Page was the cover subject of the February 1978 issue of Creem, looking somewhat like he was morphing into Joey Ramone. (Nice bangs, Jimmy!). Page came across as a hardcore music nerd (lots of equipment talk) who knew he was lucky to be a rock star (“I could never retire because it’s so fascinating, you never know what’s coming next. It’s a challenge a mystery. It’s like dancing on the edge of a precipice”). He seemed much more down-to-earth and likable than during his aloof mystic stage.  

Black Oak Arkansas spinoff act Ruby Starr sent in a letter, noting that she was working with the Florida band Blackfoot and that, “We’re all very drunk right now, and I don’t know what I’m really trying to tell you.”  

From “Rock ‘n’ Roll News,” “’Do you have any Irish in you?’ Drummer Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy yelled to a Houston audience recently. ‘Yeah, over here’ some Texas cuties yelled. ‘Would any of you girls like a bit more?’” 

Bruce Springsteen appeared to be unfamiliar with the word “haircut” in the “Creem’s Profiles” and Dolly Parton was a full-figured gal as “The Creem Dreem.” 


“Revenge! Guilt! Frustration! Welcome to the Working of Elvis Costello’s Mind (A Tense Saga),” by Nick Kent 

“Young, Loud and Inarticulate: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” by Patrick Goldstein 

“The Tongue Has It: Dreams Realized, Generations Defined and KISS ALIVE!,” by Robert Duncan 

“God Save the New Wave (Catch It While You Can): A Consumer Guide to Toronto Punk,” by Jeffrey Morgan 

“Anthropomorphosis Was Never Like This! Or Is David Bowie Really Billy Carter?,” by Robert Duncan 

“Ask the Answer Man: Bad Karma? NO! Breakup? No! Cairo? YES!: Jimmy Page,” by Angie Errigo 

“Andy Gibb: The Bee Gee’s Smarter Brother?,” by Toby Goldstein 

“So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star: Part III,” by Richard Robinson 

Elvis Costello sounded like a man who had been rehearsing his lines for an NME interview for years. Nick Kent pretty much stayed out of the way and let Elvis spew his contempt for everyone and everything that wasn’t Elvis Costello. It’s quite a good read.  

Patrick Goldstein did a masterful job of examining Tom Petty’s rock ‘n’ roll heart, even if Tom wasn’t particularly articulate in this era. Robert Duncan raved about Kiss’s arena rock show (flashpots! costumes! blood! a pyrotechnic drum riser! the tongue!). Duncan concluded the piece by stating that Kiss were as important “to some people living in this decade” as the Beatles were to the 1960s.  Insert de-evolution joke here. Duncan also interviewed Bowie, coming into the encounter with completely negative impressions of him and leaving thoroughly liking the man. Bowie could have been an extremely effective politician.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Robert Christgau on the Sex Pistols album “Never Mind the Bollocks…”, “No matter what the chicmongers want to believe, to call this band dangerous is more than a suave existential compliment. They mean no good. It won’t do to pass off Johnny Rotten’s hatred and disgust as role-playing – the gusto of the performance is too convincing. Which is why this is such an impressive record.” 

Elvis Costello to Nick Kent, “You were obviously pretty out of it ‘cos you didn’t even notice all the other people in the (train) compartment staring at you. I was just amazed that one person could draw that much reaction from others. After I saw you there, I came up with ‘Waiting for the World to End’. (Author’s note – better known as “Waiting for the End of the World”). You’re the guy in the opening verse.” 

Elvis Costello, “The only motivation points for me writing all these songs are REVENGE and GUILT. These are the only emotions I know about.” 

Costello, “I’m never going to stick around long enough to churn out a load of mediocre crap like all those guys from the ‘60s. I’d rather kill myself…I’m not going to be around to witness my artistic decline.” 

Costello, “(Townshend) blew it by being too bright for his own good, too analytical. Actually, that’s one thing – I’m way of falling into the same trap that Townshend did.” 

Patrick Goldstein on Tom Petty, “Petty’s best compositions…are winsome, often awkward teenage romances, embracing the same vulnerable punk persona that the Everly Brothers, Nils Lofgren and countless other baby faces have mined with considerable agility and elan…Petty enjoys a completely organic mood of déjà vu, tempting us with a fragrant whiff of melody dregged up from some long-forgotten transistor radio rendezvous.” 

Robert Duncan, “It may be that the anticipation of Kiss is better than the anticipation of first sex.” 

Jimmy Page, “I felt overawed when I met Elvis, I’ve gotta own up – and whenever I’ve met any of the sort of people that I felt were heroes. It’s just natural.” 

David Bowie, “It was easier when I had characters. I could sort of talk through them.” 

Jimmy Page, “I remember going to Wembley to see Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and I thought it was the roadies on stage at first.” 

Toby Goldstein, “Nineteen-year old Andy Gibb has the sort of complexion that would make the Breck girl feel ravaged sitting in the same room with him.” 

Andy Gibb, “My brothers always talked about my work and they always seemed very positive about it. It was just always a dream for me. I just didn’t think I could do it myself. Now that I have, now what?” 

Mitch Cohen on Elvis Costello’s “My Aim Is True” album, “He has some way to go before his emotional maturity matches his prodigious artistic skill.” 

Rick Johnson on the Electric Light Orchestra’s “Out of the Blue” album, “’Two Record Set’ is one of those phrases you don’t want to hear, like ‘payment overdue,’ ‘appeal denied’ and ‘roving gangs of black youths.’” 

Summary:  The fine features on Elvis Costello and Tom Petty convey the sense that there is a bit of revolution in the air. 

Grade: A- 

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