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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1983 (Volume 14, Number 9)

It was back to the future for the February 1983 issue of Creem, with 1970’s superstar acts Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac on the cover. Led Zeppelin got the cover slot by merely releasing their “Coda” album. Billy Altman’s review of same, “One of the great things about Led Zeppelin – and there were certainly many – was their utter chutzpah in the face of all taste, until they ironically became the face of heavy metal taste itself…Their world ends not with a bang but with class – and with a winner.”

In the other cover story, John Mendelssohn spoke briefly with the male representatives of Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey Buckingham discussed his preference for creating music in a studio, by himself, versus working with Fleetwood Mac or performing live. John McVie said as little as possible to author John Mendelssohn, but did note that he enjoyed “a good dump, sailing and sex.” It’s hard to believe that Christine McVie divorced a man so filled with romance. For his part, Mick Fleetwood wasn’t in it for the money. It is perhaps a happy accident that he owns a tourism supported restaurant in Maui these days.

Albert Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult sent in a letter applauding the contributions of Richard Meltzer to the magazine. Meltzer’s work as an occasional lyricist for the band wasn’t mentioned. Vickie (Jackie) Blue of the Runaways also sent in a letter, expressing disappointment that her former band wasn’t getting enough credit from the magazine as “one of the main fore-runners of women in rock and roll.”


“Take the El out of Motels and It’s….Motes?,” by Sylvie Simmons

“The Psychedelic Furs: Sugar Cubes for the New Depression,” by Bill Holdship

“A Morning Walk with Steve Winwood Or Why There’ll Always Be An England,” by Jeff Nesin

“Rediscovering Paradise: Eddie Money Plays It Straight and Takes Control,” by Toby Goldstein

“Fan Mail from Flounder: A Flock of Seagulls Answer All Your Questions…and More!,” by Jeffrey Morgan

Martha Davis had ushered her band into the Top Ten singles chart in 1982 with “Only the Lonely” and repeated that feat in 1983 with “Suddenly Last Summer.” Davis chronicled a tough year, breaking up a romantic relationship with guitarist Tim McGovern, which resulted in him leaving the band, and having studio musicians record the “All Four One” album. Motels saxophonist Marty Jourard argued that he couldn’t be happier with the band’s slicker, more professional sound.

Bill Holdship was impressed by the Psychedelic Furs live show (“Along with Elvis Costello, it’s the best rock performance I’ve seen this year”) and revisited their first few albums which he found dark but imbued with a sense of hope. Richard Butler did his part, giving serious, thoughtful responses throughout the interview.

Jeff Nesin chatted with Steve Winwood, who discussed his studio work (he wasn’t performing live concerts at the time) and reflected back on his time with Blind Faith.

Eddie Money shared the negative aspects (car accident, wasted money) of an undisciplined lifestyle with Toby Goldstein.

Quotable Quotes:

Martha Davis, “In terms of that slutty image, I don’t think I’ve changed much onstage.”

Richard Butler, “What I find optimistic are people who think for themselves and make their own minds up about things. That’s what our basic message is all about – encouraging people to think for themselves.”

Richard Butler, “I think Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd was more anarchic musically than most of the punk bands combined.”

John Mendelssohn on Stevie Nicks, “There are those who enjoy her most when someone else is singing, leaving her free to make a very big production of playing a tambourine that you wouldn’t be able to hear if you were in her dress with her.”

Mick Fleetwood, “I certainly enjoy having money, but I’d hate to think it was part of my character.”

John Mendelssohn, “The night CREEM was in the audience, it ought to be noted, the blasé Mr. B. (Buckingham) came across as nothing less than one of the most wonderful live performers in pop today. Vaguely Chaplinesque in ill-fitting trousers and a rumpled fedora perched atop his dark chestnut curls, he howled joyously, stamped his feet like an ecstatic infant, duckwalked as though kneeless, and generally seemed to be having as much fun as it’s possible to have without passing out, or being Bruce Springsteen.”

Steve Winwood, “That’s one thing I did throughout the ‘70s. I got to know people who knew nothing about the rock ‘n’ roll business. That was very valuable to me. It helped me to no end to know people who’d never heard of Steve Winwood or Traffic.”

Eddie Money, “You don’t have to be rich to get drunk and drive off a bridge…At least I’m not like the lead guitar player in the Pretenders; at least I’m around to talk about it.”

Richard Riegel on Prince’s “1999” album, “I farted when I read the early Prince publicity that compared him to Jimi Hendrix, and yet the album that ‘1999’ most suggests to me is ‘Electric Ladyland,’ in the way the four sides don’t obey any grand thematic design, as much as they just get in yer face with potent gem after hidden gem.”

Michael Davis on Motley Crue’s “Too Fast for Love” LP, “That these guys can’t play, sing or write very well may work in their favor and they do think big – big stage shows, big hair-dos, big bucks behind ‘em, so they’re not likely to go away today or tomorrow. Whether they become Kiss-for-the-‘80s or just another bunch of would-be superstars remains to be seen.”

Summary: John Mendelssohn’s presence in Creem would continue to grow over the next several years, bringing me endless amusement and joy.

Grade: A-

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