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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1981 (Volume 13, Number 2) 

Corresponding with the phenomenal success of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” album, which eventually sold over twenty-five million copies in the U.S., Angus Young was featured on the cover of the July 1981 issue of “America’s Only.” The accompanying article is one of Rick Johnson’s classic compilation of one-liners, including the “Juicy Rumor” that “Brian Johnson’s fingerprints were found all over Bon Scott’s neck.” Johnson, quite the historian, also noted that in 1821, the “U.K. begins using the country as dumping ground for killers, rapists, thieves, preemies, the chronically late and that sickening people in the ‘People’ commercials.” 

In a key staff change, Mark Norton was no longer working for the magazine and was replaced by Bill Holdship. With Dave DiMartino in the Assistant Editor position and with John Kordosh being a key contributor to the magazine, the next generation of the editorial staff was taking shape.  

Rick Johnson received a vaguely threatening letter for referring to Jimmy Page as “Ol’ debbil-breath” and “Mr. kneejerk hoodoo.” A person named Faye Perozich warned Johnson, “Don’t fool around in areas you know nothing about; it is too easy to get repaid.” I have no idea whether it is coincidence or not that there is a Faye Perozich who now imwrites horror themed graphic novels.  

Features: 

“The Ecstatic Aesthetics of XTC,” by John Mendelssohn 

“All Greased Up, One Taco to Go: Down on the Drag with Joe Ely,” by Rob Patterson 

“The Velvet Underground: White Light/Dark Shadows,” by Robert A. Hull 

“Everybody’s Boring But Peal Harbor,” by Iman Lababedi 

“Dave Edmunds Twangs for One,” by Toby Goldstein 

“The Todd Rundgren & Utopia Conspiracy: Swinging to the Right and Being Left,” by Dave DiMartino 

John Mendelssohn interviewed Andy Partridge, who seemed delighted by his “acid wit.” The author was less impressed with Partridge’s wardrobe and reading choices (“I love encyclopedias”). A fun, short piece.  

Rob Patterson interviewed the genre defying Joe Ely, who was somewhat like Graham Parker in that he was more interested in having earnest discussions than making good press quotes. Ely’s relationship with the Clash was noted and he would later provide backing vocals on their hit “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” 

Robert Hull wrote an in-depth think piece/history on the Velvet Underground, which competes with his history on punk/garage rock as one of his best contributions to Creem.  

Dave Edmunds was pushing his “Twangin’” release, an album with several roots rock covers that was recorded by Rockpile. Edmunds didn’t sound terribly upset that Rockpile disbanded but did note that he wanted Terry Williams (“the best drummer in the world”) in his next touring act. Instead, Williams spent most of the 1980’s as a member of Dire Straits.  

Dave DiMartino interviewed all of the members of Utopia, a fine band that nobody was listening to in the early 1980s. They did not love their record label.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Keith Richards on being an aging rocker, “I’ll be out there playing if they have to wheel me out in a wheelchair.” 

Iman Lababedi on the dB’s, “They make witty, melodic pop music. Music that blows their immediate contemporaries to smithereens.” 

Joe Ely, “I’m still a country singer…but that sure ain’t all I am.” 

Robert Hull, “The real gift of the Velvets was out-and-out cultism, the beginning of an era when private obsession and solipsism would be the rule of thumb.” 

Dave Edmunds, “That’s the Stray Cats playing on ‘The Race is On.’ I hope they get known in this country soon.” 

Kasim Sulton, “Our record company sucks. They’re the worst record company in the business. We should be a lot more popular.” 

Todd Rundgren, “Hey, are these (photos) for CREEM, the magazine that hires HIGH SCHOOL KIDS to write captions.” 

Todd Rundgren, “I do a lot of computer programming – which is gonna confirm a lot of people’s suspicions that I’m some kind of technocrat, but I can’t help it.” 

Summary:  It would be pretty hard to find two pieces as distinctly different as Rick Johnson’s comic take on AC/DC and Robert Hull’s intellectual analysis of the Velvet Underground. And, they both fit perfectly within the Creem aesthetic. 

Grade: A 

Latest price on eBay: $14.99 to “Buy It Now.” 

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