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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1983 (Volume 14, Number 10)

The results of the 1983 Creem Readers’ Poll showed a great divide between the unwashed masses and the writers for the magazine. The top three albums as voted by the public – Van Halen’s “Diver Down,” The Who “It’s Hard,” and The Clash’s “Combat Rock” – were all positively sandblasted in the Record Review section of Creem. However, they all did well enough commercially to be embraced by the general public and hardcore fans of each act. The Rolling Stones, as always, swept the R&B categories, this time with a live single (“Going to a Go-Go”) and album (“Still Life”). Prince finished in 5th place in both R&B categories. Van Halen took the Boy Howdy! beercan for “Top Group” and Eddie V. took the “Best Guitarist” award. It wasn’t all love and kisses for Van Halen, they also topped the “Worst Group” Category and David Lee Roth cemented his status as “Most Pathetic of the Year.” Rick Johnson won the “Rock Critic of the Year” award for the third consecutive year. Comment from a reader, “I met Rick Johnson’s parents the other day. They seem to be a nice couple of guys.”


“Gabriel Goes Africa: Pete of the Jungle Shocks the Monkey,” by Don McLeese

“I Find Missing Persons,” by John Mendelssohn

“Britain’s Unity Rockers: The English Beat’s Soul Salvation!,” by John Neilson

“Worms on a String: Ric Ocasek Revisited,” by Michael Goldberg

“Where’s Your Head at Adam Ant,” by John Kordosh

“Tearstained Memories: Learning Lessons of Love from ABC,” by Toby Goldstein

Peter Garbriel gave a serious, thoughtful interview to Don McLeese, giving off no aura of being a pretentious, progressive rock artiste. McLeese was also impressed with Gabriel’s live show, a well-received event where the singer worked around equipment issues in the rock ‘n’ roll hotbed of Bloomington, Indiana.

John Mendelssohn interviewed Terry Bozzio of Missing Persons, who he named “the nicest guy in show business.” Mendelssohn was less impressed by Dale Bozzio “whose own musical expertise extends no farther than the second or third page of Lene Lovich’s ‘How To Sing New Wave.’”

Dave Wakeling of The English Beat talked about political systems, socialism, racism, and the impact of the Beatles on mainstream society (among other topics!) in his interview with John Neilson. In a short interview with Michael Golberg, Ric Ocaskek was selling his solo album (“Beatitude”), complaining about being approached in public, pledging his allegiance to the Cars, and smoking too many cigarettes.

Pretty boy Adam Ant was very focused on having success in America (“It’s the biggest market”), while touring and enjoying the MTV driven success of “Goody Two Shoes.” He was equally articulate and defensive (“I’m not very fond of my contemporaries in England”) in his interview with John Kordosh.

Martin Fry discussed his big ambitions for ABC and how tired he was of being compared to other U.K. acts in a fun interview with Toby Goldstein.

Quotable Quotes:

Robert Christgau on Toni Basil, “The only woman ever to offer to take it up the ass on Top 40 radio…”.

Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo, “Australia is very, very stunted…they are very conservative. The biggest selling commodity in Australia is mediocrity.”

Peter Gabriel, “My normal attitude is to try to make the music that most excites me, and then put on the businessman’s hat and try to flog the hell out of it.”

Peter Gabriel, “Historically, music is based on theft.”

Terry Bozzio, “We are calculating in our approach to the business end of things.”

Dave Wakeling, “So that was how we ended up being at all connected with ska – we wanted punk and reggae and ended up with a fast reggae beat. Ska wasn’t really one of our major influences.”

Ric Ocasek, “I was looking at the hardcore scene, in a way, and I was watching these guys dancing with themselves and slam dancing and beating each other up and I was thinking, ‘My god, how far do we have to go to get noticed?’”

Adam Ant, “I think good entertainment is escapist.”

Adam Ant, “I prefer someone like Gene Vincent or early Elvis Presley to the stuff I see now.”

Toby Goldstein, “Martin Fry, author of 95% of ABC’s first-person lyrics, would find it the ultimate flattery for a song like ‘Poison Arrow’ to be quoted in hate letters, love letters and other angst-laden missives. The idea of a song like that incisive, painfully sincere tune recalling emotion-choked episodes in listeners’ lives is immensely appealing to him.”

Martin Fry, “I’d like our songs to be larger than life, to be grotesque and glamorous.”

Martin Fry, “We get painted in a corner alongside not only the Human League but Soft Cell, and those atrocious nitwits, A Flock of Seagulls, and second-rate, second-division acts like Billy Idol and Talk Talk.”

Summary: It’s an interesting contrast that the readers were still focused on more traditional guitar rock bands and the features in this issue included ABC, the English Beat, Adam Ant, and Missing Persons.

Grade: B+

Latest price on eBay: $9.99 to “Buy It Now.”

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