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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1975 (Volume 7, Number 2)

Creem celebrated the magazine’s sixth anniversary with a cover feature on Alice Cooper, the boundary breaking shock rocker of the decade. Lester Bangs referred to Cooper’s tour as a “corporately conceived nightmare” and was underwhelmed by the “Welcome to My Nightmare” album. Still, he concluded that the show worked as “straight entertainment” if not “straight rock ‘n’ roll.”  

This is the first copy in my collection and perhaps the only one that includes “Extra Creem.” “Extra Creem” was a mid-1970s “monthly supplement serving metro Detroit, Michigan, Ontario, and northern Ohio.” These ten pages include locally focused articles (“A History of Michigan Rock”), an area concert listing, and advertisements for – you guessed it – local businesses.  

I don’t know Kim Urban , but she may have been ahead of her time. In the “Mail” Section, she asked, “Is it true that Rick Johnson is being groomed to replace Lester now that the latter has clung so tenaciously to his art-imitates-nonart precepts that he’s finally become as passe as his weathered second-generation icons?” Lester’s response, “Flattery will get you nowhere.”  

In a joke that’s clearly of its era and one I still found amusing, Elton John was photographed sandwiched between Stevie Wonder and Barry White. The caption? “Elton John Mugged! Exclusive Photo!” Also, in the revolving door between musicians and contributors, former MC5 lead singer Rob Tyner penned a piece in “The Beat Goes On” about an event at the Detroit Arts Institute.  

In “Rock ‘N’ Roll News” it was reported that WWWF wrestling tag team champions Jimmy and Johnny Valiant would be making a record under the guidance of producer Murray Krugman. Krugman, who produced albums by Blue Oyster Cult and the Dictators, provided some context in 2021, “Handsome Dick and Andy (Shernoff) were like Abbott and Costello. Plus they were into wrestling, and I’ve always been into wrestling. We, in fact, PRECEDED Cindy Lauper as far as tying pro-wrestling in with rock and roll, but she got all the credit for it. I had Captain Lou, as well as Handsome Jimmy and Luscious Johnny Valiant (aka, the Valiant Brothers), the tag-team champions at the time, do all of the radio ads for the Dictators. I mean, the Dictators had so much fun making those records.”  

Features:  

Bob Seger: Beautiful (Maybe), Loser (No Way) by Lowell Cauffiel  

Leo Sayer: Nobody’s Clown by Ed Naha  

Brian Eno: Scaramouche of the Synthesizer by Frank Rose  

Grand Funk: Super Patriots Come Clean by Jaan Uhelszki  

Sparks: From Taco Bell to Fishn ‘n’ Chips by Robert Duncan and David Surkamp  

Nilsson: Drunk with John, George, Ringo And…by Adam Block  

The All-Star All-Time 1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Movie by Greil Marcus  

Crazy Teens and Killer Queen by Cynthia Dagnall

 It’s hard to remember now, but Bob Seger spent a decade as a one-hit wonder between 1968’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and his 1977 hit “Night Moves.” The Lowell Cauffiel piece on Seger begins, “One just can’t help but wonder why Seger hasn’t given up…”. Good thing he didn’t give up, Seger’s albums “Night Moves,” “Stranger in Town,” and “Against the Wind” have sold over 17 million copies. Lowell Cauffiel later became a celebrated author in the genre of true crime.  

Elsewhere, Ed Naha reported, and I’m glad I was sitting down when I read this, that Leo Sayer had groupies. The Jaan Uhelszki piece on Grand Funk highlighted a playful side off the band, to include discussing shoe bargains and joking about the silliness of signing autographs. Cynthia Dagnall was a fan of Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” album (noting it “sparkles with unmistakable British wit and invention”) but thought that onstage, they could have been “Anyband.”  

Question of the day: Is there a link between Frank Rose describing Brian Eno as the “Scaramouche of the Synthesizer” and the lyrics to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a song recorded later in 1975? The world may never know.  

Quotable Quotes:    

Bob Seger, “Initially, I set my goals very, very high. I wanted to be better than the Beatles, a more soulful singer than James Brown, and write deeper lyrics than Bob Dylan…As I’ve gotten older, I just want to do my best, what I’m capable of doing, without blowing my mind away doing it.”  

Mark Farner, “If Grand Funk broke up today, I’d just go back to my farm. That’s why I got into the music business; striving to own my own farm.”  

Donnie Brewer on famed Little Rock groupie Connie Hamzy, “You know Connie is really great. She’s pretty, and she’s definitely not dumb. I don’t think it’s sad what she does, I think she does it for the glory. I’ve done worse things for affection than that.”  

Jaan Uhelszki on Craig Frost, “He looks a lot like that first boyfriend you had in Junior High, the one that got kicked out of Boy Scouts for smoking cigarettes behind the tent.”  

Harry Nilsson, “I’m very aware of how often I have to get hits to keep that career alive, and of a debt I owe to RCA. I’ve never had a contract come out in the red, and I don’t want to break that string.”  

Ron Mael of Sparks, “I know that when someone says, ‘Kick ass, Hitler!’ they’re doing it in an affectionate way…as affectionate as you can be when you tell someone else to kick ass, Hitler.”  

Alice Cooper, “I don’t like to see Iggy (Pop) cutting himself up onstage. I had to send him to the hospital myself two or three times personally just because the guy was going to bleed to death. It started hurting as a friend.”  

Lester Bangs, “It’s easy as popping another beer to forget that Alice Cooper once seemed to stand for something genuinely outrageous.”  

Jan Uhelszki, “Bad Company are refreshingly pedestrian, without class, principles, or pretensions. They know what they want and how to get it.”  

Richard Riegel, “What everybody, even the messianic great gatsbys panting for New Beatles, has seemed to miss, is that Kiss are the authentic Punks of 1975. Nope, they don’t play ‘Louie Louie,’ and they don’t wear polkadot shirts, and this ain’t 1966, baby. But Kiss do fit the classic definition of punk rock: provincial American reinterpretation of the reigning stylistic establishment.”  

Summary: A passel of fine, fine features.  

Grade: A  

Latest price on eBay: Not Available  

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