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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1980 (Volume 11, Number 12)

“REVOLTING WOMEN!” Wait…wait…that’s not right. “Women in Revolt!” was the cover concept for the May 1980 issue of Creem, featuring the ever-photogenic Debbie Harry on the cover, flanked by Pat Benatar, Ellen Foley, Rachel Sweet, and Marianne Faithfull. The cover feature is a look back at influential woman in popular music starting in the 1960s with trailblazers like Sandie Shaw (“the embodiment of 1964 mod cool”), Dionne Warwick, Lesley Gore, Grace Slick, et al. Female rockers from the 70’s were celebrated, including Suzi Quatro (“the forerunner for the likes of Tina Weymouth and Chrissie Hynde”), Patti Smith, the Runaways, and Heart, etc. Although with just one toe in the 1980s, the staff saluted, among others, Blondie, the B-52 “Girls,” and the Motels. Pieces like this remind the reader of artists they’ve forgotten or even bring to their attention new music they’ve never heard.  

Mark Norton had joined the Creem team as an “Editorial Assistant.” This is also the first issue to include contributions from the wonderfully talented writer and all-around great person John Kordosh.  

We learned in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News” that Bill Wyman planned on quitting the Stones in 1982 (“I have no intentions of being a middle-aged rock star”). He must have enjoyed the perks of stardom, because he stuck it out until 1993. Also, the death of Bon Scott was reported. In less dramatic news, Peter Criss left Kiss to start his overwhelmingly successful solo career.  

Features: 

“It’s Alive! The Inmates Exhume the Corpse of R&B,” by Rob Patterson 

“Pink Floyd Before the Wall: Come in Roger Waters, Your Time Is Up,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Women in Revolt! Real Men Shiver While Eve Trashes the 80’s,” by Susan Whitall, Dave DiMartino, and Mark J. Norton 

“Pat Benatar: Metal Queen Rules the Airwaves,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Lene Lovich: Not Just Another Funny Face,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Lizzy Mercier Descloux: Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” by Mark J. Norton 

“Pearl E. Gates: Pearl Spurns Spandex,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Rachel Sweet: Sweet, But No Patootie, Bub,” by Mark J. Norton 

“Ellen Foley: Gives Up Meat Loaf for 15-Year-Old Boys,” by Ellen Foley 

“Rave Girl to Brave Girl: True Confessions of Marianne Faithfull,” by Toby Goldstein 

Dave DiMartino wrote a concise overview of Pink Floyd’s career prior to “The Wall,” with some humorous personal anecdotes. DiMartino also interviewed a confident, young Pat Benatar. When asked if she thought about the fact that young males might be projecting their fantasies on her, she simply responded, “Yeah. I HOPE so!” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Elvis Costello on hearing Linda Ronstadt cover his material, “That was sheer torture…a waste of vinyl.” 

Iggy Pop, after firing most of his band while on tour, “You’re looking at a case of nervous collapse.” 

Dave DiMartino on his high school Pink Floyd inspired band, “The only time we played that I can still remember ended up with nine-tenths of our senior class walking out while the other tenth threw tomatoes and bagels at us. Pink Floyd wouldn’t have liked Miami either.” 

Pat Benatar, “I’m not a real aggressive girl onstage – performance wise, yes, but attitude-wise, no.” 

Pat Benatar, “Looking good is like frosting on a cake that’s good without it.” 

Rachel Sweet, when asked if she had heard the debut album by The Slits, “Yes…I think it’s garbage.” 

Marianne Faithfull, defending her lifestyle choices as a young woman, “You DON’T know how poor my mother and I were and you DON’T know how ambitious I was. I did it. I got my mother out of that house.” 

John Kordosh, reflecting on the absurdist humor of the television series “Green Acres,” “Oliver Wendell Douglas was a man surrounded by morons. But aren’t we all?” 

Rick Johnson on the Ramones’ “End of the Century” album, “Repeats and remakes and vocals in slings; dream sequence piano and sax without swing; disc jockey blabber and let’s throw in some strings! These are a few of my favorite things. Sure they are, right up there beside the Ayatollah, Marshall Tucker fans, songs about lemon squeezers, bringing up the draft…and certain people who exist solely for the purpose of asking stupid questions.” 

Summary: Once you get past Pink Floyd and Pat Benatar, almost none of the features are about artists one would typically think of as being in the Creem demographic. A brave choice. 

Grade: A- 

Latest price on eBay: $14.95 to “Buy It Now.” 

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