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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1981 (Volume 12, Number 12) 

Relatively young lion Eddie Van Halen made the cover of the May 1981 issue of Creem with a corresponding headline, “Heavy Metal Guitar Heroes, Feedback Attack!” There were also cover inset pics of the old guard heroes Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Brian May, and Keith Richards. The corresponding story was one of Rick Johnson’s list articles, where he tossed different sized tomatoes at different subjects. Johnson pegged Brian May as being, “The ideal specimen of Genotype Cointoss.” I remember sitting at my dinner table in Rector, Arkansas and asking my father what “Genotype Cointoss” might mean. He just sighed and gave me a look that communicated there was absolutely no hope for humanity. See more of Reek’s conclusions in the “Quotable Quotes” section. 

From “Rock ‘n’ Roll News”: “Graham Gouldman of 10cc to produce the next Ramones album? Huh?” Some of us are still scratching our heads over that one. Also, the breakup of Rockpile was reported, as well as the death of 1950’s rocker Bill Haley.  

Robert Hull penned a piece on Half Japanese in “The Beat Goes On,” introducing Jad Fair’s delightful weirdness to the world. Also, Rock NYC founder/editor/guru Iman Lababedi debuted with a “BGO” on the Nitecaps and a feature interview with Paul Simonon of the Clash.  

Features: 

“Turning Transatlantic: British Vocabulary Building with Squeeze,” by Toby Goldstein 

“Clown Time is Over: In Which Our Hero Leaves His Sullen and Much Misunderstood Posture of Callow Youth Behind And Becomes – What Else – A Long Term ARTIST!,” by Jeff Nesin 

“The Teardrop Explodes, But Can Julian Cope?,” by Chris Saleswicz 

“Echo and the Bunnymen Vs. The Atomic Carrots from Space,” by Richard Grabel 

“Sector 27 Record in America: Take Me to Your Leader, Parts 1 & 2,” by Richard Riegel 

“Bob Geldof, Frank Sinatra Not Linked,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Heart & Mind: The Paul Simonon Interview,” by Iman Lababedi 

Toby Goldstein interviewed Squeeze’s Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook. They discussed working with Elvis Costello as producer of their “East Side Story” album, adding Paul Carrack (of Ace’s “How Long” fame) into the band, and not understanding the appeal of theatrical acts such as Genesis and Yes. 

Jeff Nesin penned an astute essay on Elvis Costello, concluding that the singer had the ambition to be a Long Term Artist, a phrase he defined by comparisons, “Lou Reed is a Long Term Artist and Marvin Gaye is a LTA, too. The Sex Pistols were diametrically opposed to LTAhood…Will (Costello) be able to keep the largest part of his audience? (Could be difficult). Will he be able to expand his audience? (Interesting possibility). We’ll all be watching.” 

Julian Cope sounded like a very excitable puppy in his interview with Chris Saleswicz (Cope, “One reviewer wrote, ‘It’s about time Julian Cope started writing real acid lyrics.’ So I went out and tried acid.”)  

Dave DiMartino’s interview with Bob Geldof (“I’m the Frank Sinatra of rock ‘n’ roll – except I don’t have the Mafia to back me up”) made me very happy that I’ve never been in the same room with Bob Geldof.  

The always shy Iman Lababedi thought that the Clash’s “Sandinista” album was “simply awful,” asked Paul Simonon if he took drugs (“Yes”), whether the band was rich (“No”), and what the Clash were trying to achieve (“God, I don’t even think we know”). Iman thought Simonon was “remarkably pleasant” and it’s a much better, more in-depth interview than the preceding sentence would lead you to believe.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Jimmy Destri of Blondie on searching for a producer, “I’m looking for somebody who can mix drums like Mike Chapman, do horn arrangements like Quincy Jones and drink like Nick Lowe.” 

Chris Difford, “I’ll write a song about divorce soon and see what happens. Play with the devil.” 

Jeff Nesin, “Elvis Costello did not invent the modern song – he just writes and sings them very well and knows where to look for this year’s model.” 

Nesin, “Costello once vowed that he didn’t intend to be around for his own decline – which is witty and eminently quotable, but is, frankly, difficult to arrange.” 

Julian Cope, “These days you’re not supposed to know what love is, but I fall in love every week.” 

Julian Cope, “Scott Walker, though, had the most disarming sounds you could hear on his records, with the most beautiful melodies.” 

Ian McCulloch, “We should be in the charts. The charts change. The Doors used to get in the charts.” 

Bob Geldof, “Will they play us on FM? No, because the formats have now changed to AC/DC and Judas Priest. When FM has gone over to that, and AM is playing the Top 20, what’s left for us?” 

Dave DiMartino, “Geldof is the lazy rock journalist’s dream; ask one question, and you needn’t ask another for 20 minutes.” 

Johnny Fingers of the Boomtown Rats, “Mind you, when I read the ‘NME’ and they’re slagging other bands I enjoy it.” 

Rick Johnson, “Both in sound and image, the guitar IS rock ‘n’ roll – this is sex, this is RELIGION! The rhythm section may be the power behind the throne, but only the guitar player gets to hump the princess.” 

Rick Johson on Jimmy Page, “Ol’ debbil-breath.” 

Johnson on Keith Richards, “Crafty grappler in a perpetual grudge match with himself.” 

Johnson on Robert Fripp, “I wish that his fingers could reach an out-of-court settlement with the rest of his hand.” 

Johnson, “Ian Dury is to ugliness what Alan Alda is to blabbermouths.” 

Summary:  Very solid pieces on The Clash and Elvis Costello and I could use another round of my mom’s mashed potatoes to pair with my “Genotype Cointoss.” 

Grade: A- 

Latest price on eBay: $12.95 to “Buy It Now.” 

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