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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1986 (Volume 17, Number 11)

Prince returned to the cover of the July 1986 issue of Creem. Since he didn’t give interviews during this timeframe, John Kordosh made one up, kind of like how Lester Bangs interviewed Jimi Hendrix in Creem during the 1970s. By the way, there must be a huge market for fake interviews with Prince. At the time of this writing, eBay had two copies of this issue for sale – one for $175 and another for $199. The cover piece is very clever, using a lot of Prince speak while the author played chess in hell, among other venues, with the Purple One. There is also a sidebar piece with producer/musician Pepe Willie, who had released the first recordings that Prince performed on at the age of 16 (the album was titled “Minneapolis Genuis: The Historic 1977 Recordings”). Willie, not a humble man, took credit for shaping Prince’s sound and being “totally responsible for the whole Minneapolis action.”  

“Rock ‘n Roll News” reported that the Stones wouldn’t be touring in 1986 due to tension between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger (Jagger, “There’s no point unless it’s going to be fun, and right now things are just too difficult”). Also, Dave Alvin had left the Blasters and joined X.  

Features: 

“Ozzy Drops the Bomb,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“Standing Firm, Kinda,” by Harold DeMuir 

“Thinking of Babylon, Dreaming of Prince,” by J. Kordosh 

“Rock Magazines: Why They’re So Good,” by John Mendelssohn

 

“Facing Charlie Sexton,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Depeche Mode’s Kinky Moods,” by David Keeps 

“Will Marillion Conquer America? Or the Incredible Mr. Limpet Floats Aagin,” by Bill Holdship 

“Them’s Fine Young Cannibals There!,” by Karen Schlosberg 

Sylvie Simmons interviewed an optimistic Ozzy Osbourne, who was excited about his new band, not doing drugs, and even jogging on a regular basis. Ozzy on his prior gig, “Black Sabbath had the same members all the time and that was BORING. That was the thing with Sabbath – we all wanted to split, but we didn’t know WHERE to split, HOW to split.” Ozzy also had to defend himself against charges that a teenager killed himself based on Ozzy’s music. Ozzy, “I can’t feel guilty about anything because it’s ABSURD.” This is one of the magazine’s better features on Ozzy.  

Paul Rodgers of the Firm was interviewed, and he discussed that playing music from either Bad Company or Led Zeppelin, “Wouldn’t be fair to anybody…We’d just like to make the point that these songs stand well enough on their own two feet, and they don’t need propping up.” The material may have needed a little propping up, since I can remember exactly one song by the Firm.  

John Mendelssohn contributed a piece on current rock magazines, praising “Musician” and Spin,” while describing “Circus” as “utterly witless, utterly without a point of view. It is the MTV of rock magazines.” He also noted that Creem’s missing in action (“ever hilarious”) Rick Johnson had been published in something called “Hard Rock Video.” Of Creem, Mendelssohn said, “In Richards Riegel and C. Walls and a couple of the editors you’ve got one of the fabbest foursomes in rock writing today.” 

Dave DiMartino interviewed Charlie Sexton, who was not a fan of Austin rock critic Michael Corcoran. Sexton’s solo career never took off, but he gained great respect as Bob Dylan’s lead guitarist in the early 2000’s. Completely unrelated item – when my daughter worked at an Austin Starbucks a few years ago, Charlie would order coffee under a pseudonym. Otherwise, of course, he could have been hounded for hours by fellow caffeine addicts.  

In the Fine Young Cannibals interview with Karen Schlosberg, Andy Cox and David Steele tried to distance themselves from their music in the English Beat. Steele, “It’s like if you went out with a dodgy girlfriend and then you see her three years later and think, my God, how did I go out with her!” Steele then cheerfully volunteered that the Fine Young Cannibals music was depressing, noting, “All of my favorite films are depressing; all of my favorite songs have been really miserable.” Steele doubted the band’s chances for success in the U.S., but MTV would come to their rescue.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Ozzy Osbourne, “All I am is a showbiz rock ‘n’ roll clown.” 

Paul Rodgers on music criticism, “Sometimes with us boring old fogey types, we get slaughtered merely because we’ve already been successful.” 

Rodgers on the future of the Firm, “We would not flog a dead horse, because there’s no need to do that.” 

Jim Farber on Prince’s “Parade” album, “True to form, his eighth LP isn’t just a ‘Parade,’ it’s a freak show.” 

Summary:  Although I couldn’t force myself to read features on Depeche Mode or Marillion, this is a very solid issue. Also, I didn’t recall Rock NYC guru Iman Lababedi being absent from Creem for such an extended time during the mid-1980s. Iman, come home! Creem needs you!! 

Grade: A- 

Latest price on eBay: $175 or “Best Offer.” 

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