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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1988 (Volume 19, Number 6)

The post Roger Waters version of Pink Floyd, who dressed like bankers on a casual Friday, were featured on the cover of the February 1988 issue of Creem. The band’s 1987 album “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” received generally poor reviews but went Top Five in the U.S. and was certified platinum. The hook of the story was that Pink Floyd was outselling Roger Waters, who could still fill up Madison Square Garden as a trio. Nick Mason was super enthusiastic, proclaiming, “I think this is the LEAST plodding tour we’ve ever done.” David Gilmour argued that losing Waters was addition by subtraction, “Frankly, at this moment I think we gained more than we lost. Our memories of our time with Roger are sort of tempered by the last few years, and the last few years have not been a lot of fun.” Nick Mason, “We spent 18 years touring with people shouting ‘Where’s Syd Barrett?’ but so far we haven’t had one person shout, ‘Where’s Roger?’” Basically, this interview is the equivalent of hearing one side of a very bitter divorce. 

This was the final issue that included Bill Holdship on the editorial staff. Holdship had long been one of the best feature writers for the magazine and his deep knowledge of rock ‘n’ roll history was a vital asset during the 1980s. His stature as a legitimate rock ‘n’ roll historian imparted a sense of gravitas to all of his work. Holdship wrote with the perfect balance of intellect and passion and consistently conducted first rate interviews, no matter who was the subject. Although Creem was still producing consistently good issues during this timeframe, the losses of Dave DiMartino and Bill Holdship did not bode well for the future. 

Other notable changes during this timeframe, the magazine was no longer reprinting Robert Christgau’s Consumer Guide column from the “Village Voice” and John Mendelssohn was no longer writing the “Eleganza” column.  

Also, it was really weird to see a Mick Jagger interviewed buried in the back pages of Creem.  

Features: 

“Alex Chilton: From Memphis to Venus and Back Again!,” by Harold DeMuir 

“Splat! INXS Makes the Sound of Success,” by Bud Scoppa 

“Neighborhoods Watch…And Wait,” by Steve Peters 

“Jethro Tull: The Man, The Drill, The Band,” by Harold DeMuir 

“Yes: Dinosaurs Still Roam the Earth,” by Roy Trakin 

“Pink Floyd: The Sun is Eclipsed by the Moon,” by Vernon Gibbs 

“Bruce Springsteen/Michael Jackson: through time and space with the changeling gods,” by Richard C. Walls 

“Mick Jagger, Noble Savage: Primitive Cool & All,” by Syvie Simmons 

Alex Chilton seemed in a happy place in his interview with Harold Demuir, no longer being concerned about being ripped off by the music industry and concentrating on his songwriting. He was pretty humble about his past, stating he wrote “about four good songs” before 1976.  

INXS talked about the pressure of following up their 1985 multi-platinum “Listen Like Thieves” album and praised producer Chris Thomas. Their 1987 album “Kick” was even more successful than “Listen Like Thieves.” Michael Hutchence told a humorous story about opening for Adam Ant, who was less than thrilled that INXS was becoming more popular than he was. Hutchence was an interesting and passionate band leader and it’s sad to read the article today, knowing how his life ended. 

Steve Peters, who was working as an Editorial Intern for the magazine, wrote the following about the Boston based band The Neighborhoods, “If TRUE rock ‘n’ roll does indeed HAVE a future, the Neighborhoods are destined to became a vital part of it.” Hey, we’ve all been wrong about something.  

Harold DeMuir interviewed a very business minded Ian Anderson, who was running a salmon farm when he wasn’t fronting an aging rock ‘n’ roll band. 

Yes were hyping their 1987 album “Big Generator,” which included the generic rock single “Love Will Find a Way.” It would have been better if they had just covered the Pablo Cruise hit with the same title. 

Mick Jagger talked about being the parent of teenagers, working with Dave Stewart, and not wanting to tour with the Stones (“I don’t think bands should go out when they’re in the middle of a big argument”) in his rather lackluster interview with Sylvie Simmons. 

Quotable Quotes:   

Alex Chilton, “Everybody tells me how difficult I am.” 

Keith Richards, “CBS (Records) thinks Mick Jagger IS the Rolling Stones. The sad thing is Mick’s believed it all and just become too big for his boots.” 

Michael Hutchence, “You can really screw yourself up by thinking about ambition too much.” 

Hutchence, “If you wanna get political, folks, get out there and read books, read magazines, watch TV, keep your eyes open and do something about it.” 

Harold DeMuir, “In conversation, Ian Anderson comes off like an agreeably sober, no-nonsense businessman – which, in fact, he is.” 

Ian Anderson, “It’s very difficult for Jethro Tull to find a support group who the audience are not going to be rude to.” 

Ian Anderson, “I don’t really care about playing 10 nights at Madison Square Garden – that sort of thing doesn’t matter to me anymore, and anyway, we’re never gonna do it.” 

Jon Young on Squeeze, “To nice for rock, too smart for the Streisand and Sinatra set, they need a new angle bad.” 

Jon Anderson of Yes, “We’ve proved we can be commercial while still holding on to our musical ethics.” 

Chris Squire on the whereabouts of Rick Wakeman, “I don’t give a shit.” 

Chris Squire, “I could never figure out how we’d get a small corner in ‘Rolling Stone’s encyclopedia while Lou Reed rates a whole page.” 

Nick Mason, “Some reviewers find it difficult to come to grips with a band that won’t prance around onstage.” 

Richard C. Walls on his Bruce Springsteen/Michael Jackson article, “Obviously, this is a cynical ploy to sell magazines.” 

Walls, “Unlike Springsteen, who represents many things to many people, Jackson represents nothing.” 

Summary: Jesus, articles on Yes, Jethro Tull, and a Pink Floyd cover story in 1988. 

Grade: B

Latest price on eBay: $5.00 to “Buy It Now.” 
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