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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – June 1987 (Volume 18, Number 10)

Richard Butler, who had transitioned the Psychedelic Furs from a Velvet Underground inspired alternative act into a mainstream pop band during the 1980s, was featured on the cover of the June 1987 issue of Creem. Butler ruminated on pop star image making (“To be a good live performer, you have to project, and whatever you do projection-wise it’s going to end up being glamorous and sexy”), the group’s changing audience after the “Pretty in Pink” film (“it was much more of a BOYS band” before), and his love of New York (“It’s still mysterious and kind of dangerous – London isn’t”). In other topics, he discussed quitting drinking and smoking, being inspired by Bob Dylan and John Lydon, and writing depressing music (“Happy songs always sound like candyfloss”). Sylvie Simmons did a good job of being conversational yet also pushing the right buttons to get a very interesting interview. 

The death of Andy Warhol was reported in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News.” Also, depending on which story you wanted to believe, Kevin DuBrow either left or was fired from Quiet Riot.  

Lemmy Kilmister was a Boy Howdy! can crusher in his “Creem’s Profiles” pic. 

Features: 

“Around the Clock with the Psychedelic Furs,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“Husker Du, In Their Own Way,” by Mark Dery 

“Clap for the Wolfman, Moonlighting with Los Lobos,” by Bill Holdship 

“The Somewhat Singular Take of Billy Vera,” by John Kordosh 

“Rock Magazines,” Rick Johnson 

“Shriekback,” by Dave Segal 

“Ray Davies: Face to Face with The Lost Decade, Part Two,” by Iman Lababedi and Bob Nevin 

Husker Du talked about material from their “Warehouse: Songs and Stories” album with Mark Dery and described the artistic freedom they had as a band, which allowed them to do things like play two notes for forty-five minutes in Norman, Oklahoma. Bob Mould, “People were either pinned to the wall or they left.” The band also talked about doing AIDS charity work and trying to generate positive energy. This article reflects absolutely no tensions within the trio despite the fact they would play their last show in October of 1987. 

Bill Holdship covered the history of Los Lobos, who evolved from an East L.A. cover band into authentic Mexican folk music virtuosos during the 1970s. Los Lobos stated that they brought the song “All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints” to Paul Simon during the “Graceland” sessions and Simon refused to give the band a proper writing credit. Cesar Rosas, “He took our tracks, he took them home, added a melody, and put his vocals over them.” Any fan of Los Lobos should go out of their way to read this article. 

Billy Vera had a surprise #1 hit with “At This Moment,” a song originally recorded in 1981 and given a new life when featured in the television show “Family Ties.” This is an interesting piece on a 42-year-old musician who fate smiled upon kindly.  

Rick Johnson did Creem’s 3rd annual review of rock magazines. Some Johnson-isms: “’Spin’s not a bad mag. It looks pretentious, but only reads that way 42.7 percent of the time.” “No one will ever accuse ‘Musician’ of being relentlessly perky.” On the metal rag “Rip,” “Too bad the whole magazine looks like it just took the stairs instead of the elevator!” 

In the second part of his interview with Iman Lababedi and Robert Nevin, Ray Davies talked about performing in Beirut (“The clubs were amazing”), almost breaking up the band due to rock critics (“They’ll run the industry down, but they’ll still go to the Warner’s Christmas party and accept whatever free gifts are offered”), and not being a nostalgia act (“We’ve tried to innovate new ideas, not tread over the same ground”). The tension between the involved parties was still rather palpable. 

Quotable Quotes:   

Rick Johnson, “I’ve greeted each REO Speedwagon LP with the same joyful anticipation I would a bone marrow transplant…I think ‘Life As We Know It’ is REOs best album ever, emitting none of the overblown clunk-rock of their early LPs nor the yak mating calls of more recent vintage.” 

Mark Dery, “Husker Du is…the missing link between Lennon/McCartney and industrial din.” 

Bill Holdship, “The way a band LOOKS has always counted for a lot in rock ‘n’ roll. Which is one of the reasons the Psychedelic Furs are on the cover of this magazine and Los Lobos aren’t.” 

Ray Davies, “If you’re a creative person living in the ‘80s, it’s the lost decade; you’re living in the lost decade. People are lost. Like you, Iman, you have no country. You’re lost, right?” 

John Kordosh on the Beastie Boys live show, “Not only the worst concert I’ve ever seen, it was actually the worst event I’ve ever been to…I’m including the time I got arrested.” Bill Holdship, “The show was just a celebration of stupidity.” 

Summary:  Sylvie Simmons was the magazine’s ace in the hole during this timeframe, able to switch gears at a moment’s notice and write good pieces on acts as diverse as Motorhead, Cyndi Lauper, and the Psychedelic Furs. 

Grade: A- 

Latest price on eBay: $12.99 to “Buy It Now.” 

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