Prince was featured on the cover of the May 1983 issue of Creem, the first time a black artist had that honor in almost a decade and perhaps a sign of the growing importance of MTV in middle America. Maybe thinking this change in direction might alienate some of their casual readers, Prince is surrounded by cover insert pics of Bob Seger, Phil Collins, and Def Leppard. Author Vernon Gibbs reported that Prince’s live show had a highly charged sexual energy (“Is he gonna be the first rock ‘n’ roll star that you have to be 18 or older to see?”). He also raved about Prince as a performer (see “Quotable Quotes”) and then interviewed none other than Morris Day of the Time for the piece.
In the leadership department, Dave DiMartino was promoted to “Editor-in-Chief,” filling behind Susan Whitall, who had left for a position with the “Detroit News.” Bill Holdship was promoted to “Assistant Editor,” Rick Johnson remained an “Associate Editor,” and the heretofore unmentioned Kim Green toiled as the “Editorial Assistant.” One reader asked, “Are there going to be any new changes for Creem?” The reply from Dave DiMartino, “It’s hard to say with the audience the way they change. In the ‘70s it was the hippie movement and jazz.”
The breakup of Thin Lizzy was reported in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News.” In sadder news, the death of Karen Carpenter “from a heart attack aggravated by anorexia nervosa” was also reported.
Future chart toppers The Bangles made their debut in the magazine, in a “The Beat Goes On” piece. Susanna Hoffs on quitting their day jobs and hitting the road, “All of this is kind of scary and not that glamorous. But right now we’re young enough and naïve enough to just be excited.”
In his “Prime Time” column, Richard C. Walls reviewed “Lie Detector,” a short-lived syndicated show hosted by F. Lee Bailey. Walls described a lie detector test taken by journeyman wrestler Cylone Negro. The title of the piece – “Cyclone No Lie! Machine Lie!”
“Members of Punk-Reggae Wedding Claim Not Always Bridesmaids,” by Richard Riegel
“Toni Basil’s Mickey Mania,” by Sylvie Simmons
“The Teachings of Captain Beefheart: A Wacky Way of Knowledge,” by Roy Trakin
“Phil Collns Does Everything Better Than Everyone Else,” by John Kordosh
“Bob Seger Big Victories: Helluva Nice Guy Goes the Distance,” by Bill Holdship
“Spot Checking Def Leppard: Metal Youths Who Shriek in Shorthand,” by Dave DiMartino
The Members, a U.K. punk rock act known in England and Australia for their hits “The Sound of the Suburbs” and “Radio,” were trying to reach the U.S. masses via MTV and their video for “Working Girl.” It didn’t work, but a version of the band still tours intermittently.
Sylvie Simmons interviewed Toni Basil at the height of “Mickey Mania.” Basil, “I wanted a cheerleading concept. I knew what stomping, clapping sounded like in a gymnasium, and I thought there’s a backbeat to a record.”
Roy Trakin interviewed the enigmatic Captain Beefheart, who complained about how difficult it was to teach his early band members his music and proclaimed that he could have been a “millionaire many times” if he would have desired to do so.
Phil Collins discussed production techniques, working with Robert Plant, and changing the sound and image of Genesis in his interview with John Kordosh. One gets the impression that Phil knew he was on a hot streak and he was going to make the most out of it.
Bill Holdship conducted a lengthy interview with Bob Seger. Topics covered included the making of “The Distance” album, replacing two members of the band (“I just needed a change for myself”), and his choice to live in Michigan (“All my friends are here”). As always, Seger sounded like a thoughtful man who cared deeply about the music that he made.
Dave DiMartino interviewed Joe Elliott a few seconds before Def Leppard became one of the biggest bands of the decade. Elliott talked about hiring new guitarist Phil Collen (“being a friend – AND a great guitarist, AND looking good, which IS important”) and his philosophy that having a short, good song was more important than solos, perhaps an indirect influence from punk rock.
Keith Richards, responding to reports that he’d become a Christian, “I haven’t FOUND God yet. I wasn’t even looking for him. If I do find him, I’ll let you all know.”
Toni Basil, “I have longevity in this business as a choreographer, much more than a singer.”
Captain Beefheart, “My friends don’t call me Captain. I don’t even have a boat.”
Phil Collins on his cover of “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “We did it as a direct replica because I was trying to get that SOUND. I didn’t want an updated version; I wanted to see if I could actually get sound like that.”
Bob Seger on the Kenny Rogers/Sheena Easton cover of “We’ve Got Tonight,” “It’s a little bit Vegasy and heavy on the syrup, but I think Kenny did a good job. It’s actually kind of soulful for those two.”
Dave DiMartino on Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” album, “It may not top ‘Disraeli Gears,’ but it sure as hell beats out anything I’ve ever heard with a drum solo.”
Joe Elliott, “Def Leppard were the actual chicken that laid the egg that WAS the New Wave Of Heavy Metal.”
Joe Elliot, “To me, punk rock – and I’m talking about the Sex Pistols – was heavy metal with singers who couldn’t sing and guitar players who couldn’t solo.”
Vernon Gibbs, “Price is every bit the innovator that Sly and Hendrix were…He’s got the guitar imagination of Hendrix, the dance bottom of Sly, the moves of James Brown, the good looks and energy of Little Richard, the multi-instrumental ability of Stevie Wonder and a falsetto that won’t put Smokey Robinson out of business but sure can hang in there.”
Morris Day, “We’re competition for him but we’d be competition for any group. Prince was the only one who was man enough to let us out.”
Summary: It’s too bad that Creem didn’t catch Prince before he was too royal to do interviews, but the cover feature is still very good.
Latest price on eBay: $8.96 or “Best Offer.”
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – June 1985 (Volume 17, Number 1)
Creem, at this point, seemed to be looking for new feeding hands to bite.
US Top Ten Albums Tracking 3-10-23 – 3-16-23
a potential top album of the year.
Dawes At Beacon Theatre, Saturday, March 18th, 2023, Reviewed
Refreshingly honest and considerate
Sneak Peaks: Upcoming New Albums 3-24-23 – 3-30-23
can they survive an entire album?
L.A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks March 20th To 26Th
Fleet Foxes are at the Belasco on Wednesday
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1985 (Volume 16, Number 12)
highlighting hair metal bands simply to make fun of them was more amusing than profitable
UK Top 10 Albums 3-17-23 – 3-23-23
In the US, Morgan will be pushing Miley out in a week or two but in the UK…?
A Superhero For Late Night TV Is On The Way
On his way to save the day… and the night
Robert Smith Is Fighting The Good Fight: Will Scalpers Always Find A Way?
How is Vividseats able to get around this technical problem?
Taylor Swift Began Her Latest World Tour Yesterday in Arizona… Here is the setlist
she really underrepresented her first ten years