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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1980 (Volume 11, Number 9) 

Debbie Harry towered over Meat Loaf on the cover of the February 1980 issue of Creem. Both were part of the cast of “Roadie,” a 1980 “musical comedy film” that was neither a commercial nor critical success. Dave DiMartino wrote the cover feature on location in Austin and pondering the wandering plot concluded, “’Roadie will apparently make a lot more sense when it’s on the screen this summer.” Roger Ebert gave the movie one and a half stars, so perhaps that sense was never made. DiMartino interviewed Meat Loaf, who talked about vocal issues impacting a follow-up album to “Bat Out of Hell,” and various members of Blondie. Debbie Harry seemed rather uninterested in being interviewed and concluded the interview by telling Chris Stein, “I LIKE Creem magazine, I just know that whatever you say, it’s always turned into some kinda slapstick thing. So I’m just being short and lettin’ ‘em do their worst with whatever I say.” 

The truly attentive reader will note that the feature on The Shirts was penned by Ed Kelleher. Kelleher, using the pseudonym Eduard Dauphin had been writing about b-movies in Creem for several years. It was a subject he knew well; he wrote four screenplays for horror flicks. Upon his passing in 2005, Matt Schudel of “The Seattle Times” stated that the films were “so outlandish and amateurish that they have become favorites of aficionados.” Kelleher was also a playwright, a novelist, worked as a publicist for Melanie, and worked as an associate editor of Film Journal International.  You can read about these subjects and more here

A rumor that John Lennon was contemplating a return to the recording studio was reported in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News.”  

Local Detroit rock act The Mutants were featured in “The Beat Goes On.” Future Creem editor, brilliant humorist, and all-around good guy John Kordosh (working under the pseudonym “John Amore”) was a member of that band.  

Pat Benatar looked quite limber as “The Creem Dreem.” 

Features: 


“Police Report: Message from Three Bottle Blonds,” by Susan Whitall 

“B-I Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Go: Rockabilly’s Rabid Moment,” by Robot A. Hull and Joe Sasfy 

“The Rat Who Would Walk on Water/Bob Geldof Interview,” by Charles Shaar Murray 

“The Shirts – Out on the Ropes in Brooklyn,” by Ed Kelleher 

Susan Whitall interviewed all three members of the Police, who were articulate, candid, and had a playful camaraderie. I’m not sure when Sting’s ego swelled to the size of a medium planet, but it seems to have been sometime after this interview.  

Robot A. Hull continued with his fine pieces on music history, this time with an article on rockabilly music that focused on Sun Records.  

Bob Geldof came off as a man who never met a tape recorder that he didn’t love in his interview with Charles Shaar Murray.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Andy Summers on British journalist Steve Clarke,”Ah, he’s full of shit. He can’t write, either.” 

Stewart Copeland, “The Clash were the creation of the press…it turned out the press were right and the Clash were an important group…We played the Roxy and the Vortex and all those punk venues but we stuck to paying what was at our level. We didn’t step backwards to jump on the punk bandwagon.” 

Sting, “We played a gig in West Virginia to FIVE PEOPLE the day we were No. 1 in England with the album and the single.” 

Robot A. Hull, “Sonny Burgess’ ‘We Wanna Boogie,’ so drunk and loose not even Krazy Glue could keep it together, is perhaps the best example of (Sam) Phillips’ feel for the impromptu.” 

Robot A. Hull, “Only Creedence Clearwater Revival ever succeeded in molding the sound of Sun rockabilly to the formula of AM radio.” 

Charles Shaar Murray, “Any way you want to slice it, pal, The Boomtown Rats are probably the biggest group in the U.K. right now.” 

Annie Golden of The Shirts, “You’re from Creem, eh? I suppose you’re going to write a sarcastic, cynical story about a woman singing with an all male band, and then illustrate it with photos that have smartass Creem captions.” 

Chris Stein of Blondie, On the political level, one of MY goals is to try to synthesize different kinds of music that’ll bring people together. I definitely see a return toward R&B and soul music. I think the fuckin’ anti-disco movement is a bunch of bullshit with VERY heavy racist overtones.” 

Robot A. Hull, “For over 30 years, George Jones has been country’s greatest singer, universally admired by both country fans and performers alike in much the same way that soul addicts love Otis (Redding). In fact, Jones’ style – clean vocals clipped through clenched teeth – has always epitomized white soul.” 

Rick Johnson, “The Beat’s debut album is as easy to like as babysitter breasts. Strong tunes, tight playing, bright production and an overall snappiness comparable to Islamic justice.” 

Ira Kaplan on the Buzzcocks’ “Singles Going Steady” album, “Pete Shelley builds a powerful argument for himself as the master of modern pop; only Elvis Costello can keep pace with Shelley when it comes to couching instant classic melodies in decidedly unpretty rock ‘n’ roll arrangements.” 

Summary: There’s an interesting contrast here between bands looking for press (The Police, Bob Geldof) and someone who no longer needs it (Debbie Harry). Very good issue. 

Grade: A- 

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

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