This issue of Creem includes one of the most famous stories in the history of the magazine, the lengthy verbal boxing match between Lou Reed and Lester Bangs. The entire piece is fascinating, with Bangs challenging Reed in a way he had probably never been challenged before and Reed stating that Lester was wasting his talents. Bangs, probably a being a bit hard on himself later in life, said that Reed was correct and had done him a big favor by shooting straight with him. In some ways, this is an examination on what happens when hero worship goes sideways. Reading the piece now is like entering a portal into a different place and time in our universe.
Speaking of different places and times, Lester also addressed his use of the words “fa**ots” and “ni**ers” in response to an offended reader. Bangs stated he didn’t think the terms were derogatory and that “many people take these words far too seriously.” Four years later, Bangs penned “The White Noise Supremacists” for the “Village Voice” and admitted he had been completely wrong on that issue.
In the “Rock ‘n’ Roll News” section, there is an item on “Creem’s own” Lisa Robinson getting her own syndicated radio show. Lisa moved into cable television in the 1980s, hosting “Radio 1990” on the USA network, and recently hosted a program on Sirius XM.
Future Eleganza columnist John Mendelssohn on the woman who started that column, “The rich are different than you and I.” Elsewhere, Mick Jagger voiced his displeasure with Mick Taylor, who quit the Stones without giving a notice.
There is also a record review from “Trixie A. Balm,” a pseudonym for Lauren Agnelli. Agnelli would later become a member of the CBGBs era punk act Nervus Rex and the well-received 1980s folk revival act the Washington Squares. Her interview many years later with Linsey Buckingham is a classic case of oil meeting water.
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: There Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Gang-Bang (To Blow Away the Blues)…by Lenny Kaye
BTO Rules for the Road: The Family That Plays Together Stays In Together by Jaan Uhelszki
Let Us No Praise Famous Death Dwarves: Or, How I Slugged It Out with Lou Reed & Stayed Awake by Lester Bangs
The Who Punch Out: Pete Townshend as Sparring Partner by Bruno Stein
Discover America! Bad Company Did…and Look Where It Got Them by Steve Clarke
The feature on Bachman-Turner Overdrive is primarily about Randy Bachman having a curfew policy for his entire band, because bad things can happen to rock stars in public. Pete Townshend, being his ever-lovable self, completely dismissed solo albums released by other members of the Who.
Of course, nothing else compares to the Bangs/Reed slugfest, where issues discussed include David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and knowledge of street drugs. One of my favorite exchanges occurs after Lou stated that Bowie had written “some really great songs.” Bangs, “Anyone can write great songs! Sam the Sham wrote great SONGS! Did Bowie ever write anything better than ‘Wooly Bully’?”
Jimmy Page on Los Angeles, “The last time I was in L.A. there was this incredible groupie feud which was getting down to razor blade sandwiches. The competition thing out there is incredible.”
Alex Harvey, “Rock and roll takes a certain amount of ignorance. You make up for it in enthusiasm.”
Randy Bachman, “I treat rock and roll like a business. If I was an executive, I wouldn’t ball my secretary on the desk.”
Lester Bangs on Lou Reed, “Ego? It may not be the greatest word of the 20th century, but it’s sure the driving poison in the vitals of every pop star. Who else but Lou Reed would get himself as fat as a pig, then hire the most cretinous band of teenage cortical cavities he could find to tote around the country on an all-time death drag tour?…Lou Reed is a completely depraved pervert and pathetic death dwarf and everything else you want to think he is. On top of that he’s a liar, a wasted talent, an artist continually in flux, and a huckster selling pounds of his own flesh. A panderer living off the dumbbell nihilism of a 70s generation that doesn’t have the energy to commit suicide.” (This entire piece is imminently quotable).
Pete Townshend on his bandmates, “We’re not married to one another. We’re all married like nuns are to God – you know what I mean? – or to Jesus, but we’re married to the Who. Instead of having any relationships between on another, we’re married to this thing called the Who.”
Bangs on the George Harrison album “Dark Horse,” “The key word and bottom line to this music is competence, because that is all that can be said for the exertion involved in the sounds that emanate from albums like ‘Dark Horse’.”
Summary: A must own issue.
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“can’t we at least be the Black Iggy Pops.”
Eileen Shapiro: “Portfolio Of A Rockstar Journalist” With Philip Bailey Bringing Earth, Wind, And Fire
Jazz has always been my first love as a kid
some big country and Americana names
free for all has always been the idea behind EPR
The power-pop sensibilities of the Black Lips
Bey with a double header
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1976 (Volume 8, Number 5)
the man who made the world a safe place for Richard Simmons.