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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1987 (Volume 18, Number 11)

Morrissey and Johnny Marr of the Smiths are the cover boys for the July 1987 issue of Creem. The photo captures Morrissey’s natural smugness, while Johnny Marr looks like he has just been bullied out of his lunch money. In the accompanying article, Morrissey described his frustrations with the band’s U.S. label failing to release singles. Morrissey, “We’ve had hit singles in every country in the world, except the U.S., where we have a massive following.” He also wasn’t a fan of the video era, commenting, “I totally and utterly despise video, more now than I ever did. It’s totally vacuous and uninteresting.” Regarding his lyrics, Morrissey said, “I’ve never been aware that any of my lyrics are controversial. But in the morbidly barren world of pop music, they tend to stick out.” (I guess, in terms of controversy, he failed to note the hundreds of times that his line “The sun shines out of our behinds” was cited in print). Morrissey was like Boy George when it came to being interviewed, a natural quote machine.

Features:

“The Smiths’ Strange Ways Have Found Us,” by Andy Hughes

“Dave Edmunds: The Man, The Legend, The Sushi-Eater,” by John Mendelssohn

“Patty Smyth: Enough is Enough,” by Deborah Frost

“Celestial Post-Cards & XTC,” by Karen Schlosberg

“Simply Red: Good Class II Xerox,” by Gregg Khruschev Turner

“Crowded House Warning!,” by Vicki Arkoff

“A Touching Tale: REO As We Know It,” by Robyn Lisa Burn

Dave Edmunds scampered off for a long meal at his scheduled interview time with John Mendelssohn. J.M., “When he finally does materialize, Edmunds offers neither explanation nor apology, but he does have an ingratiating smile, a twinkle in his eyes, and you ARE A Professional. So, instead of trying to pull his lungs out of his nostrils, you ask him if he can picture modern teens finding modern rock as thrilling as he, in his own teens, found early rock ‘n’ roll.” Edmunds spoke with pride of his production work with the Stray Cats and said that his hit version of ‘Sabre Dance’ was “TOTALLY stupid.”

Patty Smyth shared with Deborah Frost that she didn’t sleep her way to the top, because “You don’t get a lot of slime moves when you’re from New York.” As the interview progresses, you gets the definite impression that Patty Smyth wasn’t thrilled by being with the no nonsense Deborah Frost, ending the conversation with, “I have to pee really bad. My ambition is to go take a leak.”

Karen Schlosberg interviewed Andy Partridge of XTC who was promoting the Todd Rundgren produced “Skylarking” album. Partridge did note that the recording atmosphere was so tense, “I thought we were just going to split up and fall apart.”

Gregg Turner was unimpressed with Simply Red, stating, “There is nothing terribly indelible or even endearing with the hand-me-down-I’m-a-black-man readings of the real thing.” As an interview subject, lead singer Mick Hucknal was exactly as interesting as his band’s music.

After the breakup of Split Enz, Neil Finn scored a major hit with Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Finn, “I didn’t want to sit on my ass for too long after Split Enz, and brood on everything. I wanted to get on with it.”

Quotable Quotes:  

Richard C. Walls on U2’s “The Joshua Tree” album, “When I was a teenager in the ‘60s, there was a general feeling that anything was possible if you cared enough. Now, futility is a given and the best one can hope for is a little relief from one’s inevitable pain. It’s the topic of almost every song on this album.”

Richard Riegel on Patty Smyth, “Well, (the) ‘Never Enough’ (album) does represent some improvement over Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth’s ‘The Warrior,’ but that’s like saying that ham is an improvement on bologna: either way you slice it, you’ve still got nitrate-happy lunch meat.”

Rick Johnson, “Jefferson Airplane is THE most underappreciated American band of all time. Period.”

Dave Edmunds, “I suppose Sting is as big as star as there is, but he still hasn’t had the impact of an Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry.”

Dave Edmunds, “People who have been recording a long time are much easier to work with. Status Quo are just a dream – they know their limitations, they know what they do, they know what they are good at.”

Andy Partridge, “I’m beginning to get rather mercenary about art. Nearly 10 years of good albums, come on, can I have some cash, please, now.”

Summary: Good articles on The Smyths and XTC balance off the features on the less inspiring acts.

Grade: B+

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