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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1987 (Volume 18, Number 7)

When describing the music of Robyn Hitchcock, the words “mysterious,” “enigmatic,” and “surreal” are often used. Hitchcock was the guiding light of the influential late 1970s/early 1980s English rock band The Soft Boys and had developed a small, enthusiastic cult following as a solo act (and leading his band The Egyptians) during the 1980s. The editors of Creem had been championing Hitchcock’s music for at least a year before he appeared on the cover of the March 1987 issue of the magazine. Still, from a marketing/sales point of view, solely featuring Hitchcock on the cover was a pretty bold move. In the interview, Hitchcock held court on several subjects including the concept of stardom (“You’re putting yourself up for an impossible task”), avoiding cover songs (“My whole business is to establish myself as a songwriter”), and simplifying his material (“Being clever is often just having meaningless elaboration for its own sake”). An interesting man. 

With the departure of Dave DiMartino, both Bill Holdship and John Kordosh were credited as being the Editors of the magazine. Joanne Carnegie was Assistant Editor and Caraleen Vitale was the Editorial Assistant. 


“One Night in November with Robyn Hitchcock,” by John Kordosh 

“Give Human League a Chance & Learn to Control Others with the Secrets of Ancient Tibet,” by Sylvie Simmons 

“Alice Cooper Returns: Generation Landslide ’87,” by Bill Holdship 

“Jason and the Scorchers: Hick’ry Smoked Heavy Metal,” by L.E. Agnelli 

“Orchestra Manoeuvres in the Dark: They Need Your Love So Bad,” by Jon Young 

“Billy Then, Idol Now,” by Kris Needs 

The Human League had a #1 pop hit in 1986 with “Human,” the type of song that gives waterboarding a good name. Philip Oakley (“We’re really quite important”) and Susanne Sulley (“Before us, you would never admit that you were a POP group”) seemed to have overindulged in ego pills before this interview stated. 

Bill Holdship contrasted the early music of Alice Cooper that he loved (“When I graduated from high school, my prophecy was that I would someday ‘own a rock ‘n’ roll auditorium with permanent booking for Alice Cooper”) versus the generic metal band that Cooper had in the 1980s. Holdship enjoyed talking to the man (“He’s probably always been one of the nicest guys in rock ‘n’ roll”), although he wasn’t impressed by his recent music.  

L.E. Agnelli raved about Jason and the Scorchers, both as a live act and their 1986 “Still Standing” album. However, Warner Hodges wasn’t the world’s most interesting interview subject. 

Quotable Quotes:   

Robyn Hitchcock, “As a songwriter, all I’m doing is dreaming in public.” 

Hitchcock, “People do spend a lot of time actually trying to left the top off my brain to find out what’s going on in there. Whether they can scoop up and take it out of there or just take a bite – or they want to crawl into your head and sort of fall asleep.” 

John Mendelssohn on Bruce Springsteen’s “Live/1975-85” box set, “There is no more thrilling sound in modern rock than that of The Boss roaring like all 10 of the 10 Mightiest Soulmen in History of the Heroism of Little Guys – or, for that matter, of The Big Man’s sax kicking in – over the thunder of the E Street Band. Indeed, there are stretches so exuberantly performed that the little hairs on your goosebumps’ necks will stand on end.” 

Alice Cooper, “The only thing that bothered me in my whole career about my fans is that they didn’t get the joke. I didn’t really want to live in Las Vegas. I didn’t want to play golf with Bob Hope the rest of my life. But it was funny that I did.” 

Summary:  It wasn’t a coincidence that Robyn Hitchcock was signed to A&M Records after this cover story was published. Nice work by all involved parties.

Grade: B+

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