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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1987 (Volume 18, Number 6)

David Byrne of the Talking Heads, a band rarely celebrated within the pages of Creem, was featured on the cover of the February 1987 issue of Creem. Byrne had just directed the film “True Stories”  and the Talking Heads released an album with the same title. Author Mark Muro found a likeable oddball in Byrne, noting his personality was “Spacey but pleasant: like having lunch with a very polite man from Mars.” Byrne, reflecting on the early days of the Talking Heads, “In a small way, we tried to reinvent pop songs. We figured we’d throw out the dumb lyrics, throw out the stagey lighting, all the fake style that we didn’t think had anything to do with our daily lives, so we could make an honest presentation.” It’s a somewhat odd piece that covers the making of the “True Stories” film (Byrne, “It’s kind of laughing at people but giving them their due at the same time”) and then goes into a deep history dive on Byrne and the Talking Heads.

This was the final issue under the helm of Dave DiMartino as Editor-in-Chief. Dave brought an encyclopedic knowledge of rock music to the magazine and his sense of humor fit perfectly witht the Creem aesthetic. He was a busy lad during his Creem tenure, overseeing the flagship magazine, the Creem Metal spinoff, various artist themed “Special Editions,” and spearheading the relaunch under the ownership of Arnold Levitt. His broad taste in music was reflected in his pieces on non-mainstream acts like Captain Beefheart, Tangerine Dream, and Nick Drake, among others. He smartly brought John Kordosh into the editorial team and his early 1980’s piece on Journey is one of the most humorous in the history of the magazine. He continues to be one of the sharpest minds in the field of music journalism.

Creem conducted a Readers Poll of the “Greatest Albums Ever At Press Time!” which was won by the “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Creem, “If you would have told us this would take the honors even five years ago, we’d have never believed you. Heck, some of us remember being in college in ’77, and – forget the Sex Pistols or the Clash – lots of people acted like you didn’t bathe or something if you liked ‘punk rock shit’ like Elvis Costello!”

Features:

“Winners, Losers & Iggy Pop,” by Kris Needs

“David Byrne Gets Fidgety,” by Mark Muro

“Tina Turner Chants!,” by Daniel Brogan

“Big Country’s Bagpipe Curse! Details in This Story!,” by Karen Schlosberg

“Motorhead, Treated ‘Whimsically’!,” by Sylvie Simmons

Eternal Creem poster boy Iggy Pop was actually enjoying some mainstream success in late 1986/early 1987 with the gold certified “Blah-Blah-Blah” album and AOR hits “Cry for Love” and “Real Wild Child (Wild One)” (the latter single topped the New Zealand pop charts). Iggy discussed being away from the music industry for several years, working with former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, and discussed the tracks on “Blah-Blah-Blah” in significant detail. One hates to use the word “maturity” in describing Iggy Pop, but he no longer sounded like a sex and drug starved feral animal.

Tina Turner discussed the importance of Buddhist chanting in her life and her initial unwillingness to record “What’s Love Got to Do with It” in her interview with Daniel Brogan. Tina on her major comeback hit, “I started thinking about what attitude I should take in presenting it. And I realized this was the attitude a lot of people were taking: ‘Fellas, us girls don’t have to be in love anymore. What’s LOVE got to do with it? Just go with it.’ And, I said great, that’s a great performance attitude, that’s the way to make it mine.”

Lemmy Kilmister raved about the new musicians in Motorhead, complaining about the original members, “You had to put a pistol up their arse to get them to play any of the old songs, even ‘Motorhead,’ for Christ’s sake!”

Quotable Quotes:  

Iggy Pop, “I like housework. It’s all right. It’s calming sometimes. You know the floor’s gotta be vacuumed and thou shalt vacuum!”

Iggy Pop on his song “Winners and Losers,” “I was so determined to become a winner, so determined that I wasn’t going to join the list of where-are-they-nows.”

Iman Lababedi on Elvis Costello, “His twelfth LP (‘Blood and Chocolate’) finds him the only member of the class of ’77 (don’t give me David Byrne, I’ve heard ‘True Stories’) with any brain cells left.”

Rick Johnson on the “Heartbeat” album by “Miami Vice” star Don Johnson, “You know that Pepsi commercial where he doesn’t have to do anything but smile at the camera? He brings the same approach to his songwriting.”

Lemmy Kilmister, “Maybe people will hear the new lyrics and not think I’m just a gorilla in a leather jacket.”

Summary:  Interviews with Iggy Pop and Lemmy Kilmister are never a bad idea.

Grade: B+

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

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