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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – June 1983 (Volume 15, Number 1)

Proving that having Prince, the first black musician on the cover in approximately a decade, wasn’t a complete accident, Creem magazine featured the…um… thrilling Michael Jackson on the cover of its June 1983 issue. (Michael still looked like a black man in 1983). Author Sylvie Simmons was on the set of the “Beat It” video and interspersed her observations of that event with an interview she had conducted with Michael in 1982, as well as a questionnaire submitted via a label spokesperson. Michael sounded like his usual self, an odd cross between a child and a man. He proclaimed that his sex appeal was completely accidental, complained about being stalked by fans, and described a childhood where performing was a mandated activity. He was tethered enough into reality to understand he was a money machine and still idealistic enough to believe he could reach any desired artistic goal. This may be one of the saner snapshots the world would get of Michael Jackson in the 1980s.  


“Little Steve & the Disciples of Soul: From Miami to the Hallelujah Trail,” by Bill Holdship 

“No Angel, But No Osmond Either,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“I Ain’t Gonna Work on Dexy’s Farm No More,” by Toby Goldstein 

“Pretenders Progress Report: Chambers on the Chaingang,” by Iman Lababedi 

“Here & Now, It’s Bow WOW Wow!,” by Richard Grabel 

“Malcolm McLaren Eats Egg Salad: Other Pagan Rituals to Follow,” by John Mendelssohn 

“Culture Clubbing with George and the Boys,” by John Kordosh 

Little Steve (Van Zandt) discussed his workout regimen on the road (“Instead of a drug connection, we have our trainer and portable gym”), complained about racial divisions on radio, and like his employer Bruce Springsteen, sounded more like a rock ‘n’ roll crusader/missionary than a mere musician.  

Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners was either a completely insufferable jerk or having a really bad day in his interview with Toby Goldstein.  

Iman Lababedi interviewed Pretenders drumer Martin Chambers (“a stolid albeit logical player”) who discussed the dismissal of Pete Farndon, the death of James Honeymoon-Scott (“death by misadventure due to heart failure, caused by cocaine intolerance”), and recording “Back on the Chain Gang.” 

Bow Wow Wow’s Annabella Lwin sounded like a defensive and world-weary teenager in the band’s interview with Richard Grabel. Alternately, Malcolm McLaren’s interaction with John Mendelssohn is filled with grand pronouncements and big ideas. He did volunteer that he was more interested in provocation than success.   

John Kordosh had the following memorable exchange with Boy George – “’OK, are you a homosexual?’ ‘No.’ ‘Are you a transvestite?’ ‘No.’ Hmm, what does that leave…’Are you nice to your parents?’” The entire piece, written at a time when BG was considered a shocking figure in America, is pure entertainment.   

Quotable Quotes:   

Robert Christgau on Toto, “For a band that crosses Chicago, Asia, and the Doobie Brothers, they have their glitzy moments.” 

Bob Dylan, “Whoever said I was a Christian? Did you see the movie ‘Gandhi’? Well, like Gandhi, I’m Christian, I’m Jewish, I’m a Moslem, I’m a Hindu. I am a humanist!” 

Bill Holdship, “Lou Reed is producing adult rock ‘n’ roll, something I’ve always thought was a contradiction in terms until now.” 

Steve Van Zandt, “I think that rock ‘n’ roll is inherently political because it suggests an individual freedom.” 

Steve Van Zandt, “When I try to sing, I think it’s Sam Cooke. If if comes out Keith (Richards), what can you do?” 

Michael Jackson, “I like doing something for everybody…I don’t like our music to be labeled.” 

Michael Jackson, “I go to museums and learn and study. I don’t do sports – it’s dangerous. There’s a lot of money being counted on, and we don’t want to risk anything.” 

Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, “What paper do you write for – the ‘Village Voice’? Have you got loads of preconceptions about Dexy’s, ‘cause I think you might.” 

Kevin Rowland, “The last place I’d look for influences is music.” 

Dave Barbarossa on Bow Wow Wow lead singer Annabella Lwin, “If you talk about sex generally she thinks everybody’s going to try and have sex with her because she’s a pop star.” 

Barbarossa on the band’s latest album, “I just hope it does really good, ‘cause I need to pay the rent.” 

Malcolm McLaren, “I’ve always preferred to use other people as my canvas.” 

Boy George, “In a country where they spawned Liberace, I’m hardly a revolutionary.” 

Summary: Two first rate features on 80’s icons MJ and BG. 

Grade: A 

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

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