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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1985 (Volume 16, Number 10)

March, as we all know by now, is the time to celebrate the annual Creem Readers’ Poll. Van Halen were the big winners – being the top vote getters for Best Album (“1984”), Top Group, Top Live Group, Best Guitarist, Best Singer (!), etc. The former “R&B” categories were changed to “Black” as in “Best Black Album,” “Best Black Single,” etc. Prince cornered the market on those categories. Ratt leapfrogged  “Jump” by Van Halen to get best single (“Round ‘N’ Round”). Culture Club topped the “Worst Group Category” and Boy George won the “Most Pathetic of the Year” award over Michael Jackson and Motley Crue. John Kordosh was voted “Rock Critic of the Year,” replacing Rick Johnson who had won for several successive years.  

In “Rock ‘N’ Roll News,” it was reported that Eddie Van Halen had been a special guest on several recent concerts by Patti Smyth & Scandal. Many years later, Patti Smyth revealed that she had been asked to replace David Lee Roth. Smyth in 2020, “I got a call from Ed and he was like, ‘Look, I’m not saying that I asked you to join because I don’t want Sammy Hagar to look like [he was] second choice,’ and I was like, ‘OK.’” Also, Brian Setzer had left the Stray Cats and the death of Nicholas Dingley (Razzle) of Hanoi Rocks was noted. 


“You Must Like the Church! (Or Perish Trying),” by Dave DiMartino 

“Pat Benatar,” Tropico Dancer by John Mendelssohn 

“Heavy Metal’s Revenge: Deep Purple Returns,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“Whitesnake: Absence of the Lord,” by Jim Gustafson 

“Dokken: All Bozos on this Bus,” by Bill Holdship 

“Kalamazoo – and KROKUS, too!,” by Kevin Knapp 

Dave DiMartino was an enthusiastic fan of the Church, who were years away from U.S. mainstream success with “Under the Milky Way.”  Steve Kilbee noted he was shocked in the 1970s by Lester Bangs take on David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” album. Kilbee, “You get home and Creem says, ‘Bowie Swandives into the Mung.’ (laughs) I couldn’t believe he got a bad review.” 

Pat Benatar seemed completely at ease with her stardom and as someone who would manage her life effectively when that stardom went away. A proverbial good egg. 

The early 1970’s version of Deep Purple had reunited, not for the money of course and they weren’t a nostalgia act, but due to their musical chemistry. Blackmore, “There’s still a great, I won’t say spark, because it’s a great FLAME within the Purple line-up we have.” Sylvie Simmons got some pretty amusing comments from organist Jon Lord. 

Whitesnake were a few years away from being a major AOR/MTV success in America, but you have to give David Coverdale credit, he seemed to love being interviewed and he swatted away negativity like an old pro. 

Bill Holdship found that Dokken had a very workmanlike approach to their heavy melodic sound. Holdship on the metal groupie scene, “What am I supposed to do when the guys bring two ‘Halloween Monsters’ on the bus, tell them I’m from Creem, and say the girls can be in the magazine if they’ll just show us their tits? Stand up and scream: ‘Wait a minute! You’re exploiting these young girls who seem to have little respect for themselves’? And what am I supposed to do when a Dokken member grabs my had and tried to place it on the exposed flesh of one of the aforesaid ‘Halloween Monsters’? ‘You’re supposed to squeeze hard, Bill!’ HE’P!” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Lenny Kaye, “I learned a lot about songwriting from country music.” 

Pat Benatar, “Getting pregnant is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, the most FEMALE thing.” 

John Mendelssohn on Pat Benatar, “The frightful old bore finds her the second nicest American in rock ‘n’ roll today, after Terry Bozzio of Missing Persons, whose margin of victory might owe to having Missing Persons to answer for.” Note – Mendelssohn is referring to himself as “the frightful old bore.” 

Ritchie Blackmore on Deep Purple reuniting (the early 1970’s lineup of Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover), “We just put it back together to annoy the press, basically. Give them something to bitch about. That really is our number one priority, to upset the critics.” 

Blackmore, “You can’t go onstage looking like a fat elephant – or you can; Leslie West proved that.” 

Jon Lord on Ritchie Blackmore, “We were never close friends, never will be – we’re chalk and cheese. But I like him a lot and I think he likes me enough to tolerate me.” 

David Coverdale on Detroit, “It’s the first place I ever played in America with Deep Purple. A great fucking town! I think I saw a few children of mine out there tonight.” 

Bill Holdship on Dokken, “You gotta keep in perspective that these kids LOVE this stuff. This is supposed to be fun. Don’t you remember passing out at a Deep Purple concert in 11th grade, not hearing for a week afterward, and thinking you’d seen God?” 

Don Dokken on Motley Crue, “I don’t think their musical peers are in awe of them.” 

John Mendelssohn, “Younger readers might not even realize that only a baker’s dozen years ago, David Bowie was doing precisely that which catapulted Boy George onto the covers of a million check-out tabloids – and doing it considerably better, in the sense that he was a lot prettier.” 

Summary: This was an era when Los Lobos, Husker Du, the Replacements, and R.E.M. were making outstanding albums. However, Creem was focused on Dokken, Krokus, and Whitesnake. 

Grade: B 

Latest price on eBay: $10.50 to “Buy It Now.” 

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