The cover illustration for the May 1975 issue of Creem is a “Gallery of Graves” that lists several rock stars who died tragically young. The cover isn’t aligned with a traditional feature; it complements the Patti Smith poem “Jukebox Cruci-Fix.” The budding punk rock goddess described a trip to Paris in her poem, in honor of Jim Morrison. The closure she sought wasn’t attainable and when asked, “Why do you Americans not honor your poets?” She concludes, “Because we don’t look back.” This is a powerful piece and my favorite of Smith’s contributions to Creem.
Here’s my favorite “Rock ‘N’ Roll News” item in the issue – “It is not true that the (New York) Dolls are going to split up with several of the members re-grouping to form a band called the Methadone Program.” “The Beat Goes On” includes interesting pieces on The Tubes and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, the stage name for Lubbock native/psychobilly pioneer Norman Odam. This is also a short submission from Eric Van Lustbander, who penned the liner notes to Cheap Trick’s debut album before becoming a successful novelist.
The Average White Band: Up from the Gaelic Ghetto by Steve Clarke
Rock Biz Goes Big Time (And Feels the Pinch) by David Marsh
Alvin Lee: Speed Fingers with a New Grip by Cynthia Dagnal
Lonely in the Spotlight: The Heavy Metal Humility of Joe Walsh by Jaan Uhelszki
Stones on the Trail: Definitive Moments from a Hard Knocks Song Cycle by Greil Marcus
Richard Blackmore Confessional by Cameron Crowe
Dandelions in the Air: The Withering Away of the Beatles by Lester Bangs
Snapshots of a Shy Coxcomb by Richard Cromelin (a piece on Bryan Ferry)
In an article reprinted from Newsday, Dave Marsh took what now looks like a quaint view of the music biz. It includes data like George Harrison priced himself out of concert market by asking $7.50 for a ticket and concert promoter Howard Stein ruminated that “rock as a phenomenon may have peaked.” In the Joe Walsh feature, the future member of the Eagles describes his ideal example of a band as…the Eagles.
Key album reviews – Peter Laughner, a key member of the Cleveland punk rock scene as a member of Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu, penned a mixed review of the “Lou Reed Live.” Trixie A. Balm wrote an appreciation for The Dictator’s “Go Girl Crazy” LP and Greil Marcus panned John Lennon’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll” (“the cuts have no groove, no flair, no novelty, no distinction, no attack”).
Elsewhere, Chaka Khan won CreemMate of the Month honors and cartoonist Bob Wilson determined that Roger Daltrey was prettier than Suzi Quatro.
John Denver, “Alice Cooper has about a year left to go with his audience, but I’ll be around long after Alice is over with.”
Alice Cooper, “I’m spiteful enough to stay around long enough to piss on (John Denver’s) flowers.”
Alvin Lee, “That big screaming rock and roll circus thing I’ve always been against.”
Ritchie Blackmore, “Hendrix gave me a faith in the music scene. And when Cream came along, I thought, ‘Well, it’s all happening again.’ Although I was never knocked out with Clapton’s playing, it was competent…He had a good sound, but Hendrix was way ahead of him.”
Lester Bangs, “They were never John, Paul, George and Ringo half so much as they were the Beatles, and THAT stood for something that they never could apart of even separately from the band.”
Richard Cromelin, “At the center of (Bryan Ferry’s) charisma, perhaps, is his maddening unapproachability. It’s something that intensifies the set’s intimate moments and which creates a delicious tantalizing craving when he grows more distant.”
Summary: The think pieces on the Stones and the Beatles by Marcus and Bangs are neither man’s best moments. Patti Smith is our MVP.
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I was happier because I knew I was happy
a snapshot of big hits and high tides, mostly high tides.
There is just a lot to love
the sound seemed to erupt from every side of the room
still on top
“danceable music for the end of days”
contracts its world in Nashisms
let’s take what we are offered
It’s the music, stupid