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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1987 (Volume 18, Number 9 – misprinted as “No. 8” in the Contents Section)

The Beastie Boys, quite the controversial act in 1987, donned strait-jackets for the cover of the April 1987 issue of Creem magazine. Author Chuck Eddy, in his first major feature for the magazine, was pretty even tempered considering two Beastie Boys broke into his hotel room one night when he was sleeping and dumped water over his head. Eddy quickly captured the historical perspective, “Like Gigolo Al (Jolson), and like Bob Wills and Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones and the disco Bee Gees as well, the Beastie Boys are white people making what is supposed to be black music. Like Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, who wrote all the Coasters’ hits and whose ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ MCA (Adam Yauch) claims did not influence the group’s very similar ‘Girls,’ and like the Dictators, whose ‘Go Girl Crazy’ anticipated punk and whose White Castle infatuation MCA claims had no effect on his crew’s own sliders-by-the-bag-fetish, the Beasties are young middle-class Jewish males chronicling the dilemma of urban-American teen hooligancy.” See more in “Quotable Quotes,” this is one of the best features in late era Creem.

At this point, the magazine had relocated its headquarters from Birmingham, Michigan to Los Angeles. Bill Holdship and John Kordosh continued in their roles as Editors, Joann Carnegie remained Assistant Editor, and Vicki Arkoff replaced Caraleen Vitale in the Editorial Assistant slot.

In “Rock ‘n’ Roll News,” it was reported that Marianne Hatfield, who published a magazine titled “Rock Rag,” had been bullied into leaving Goshen, Indiana, after being repeatedly harassed by the Christian community in that town.

Features:

“Lay It Down, Clowns! The Beastie Boys Take Over?,” by Chuck Eddy

“Tippecanoe and Timbuk 3,” by Dave Kendall

“Ray Davies: Face to Face with the Lost Decade,” by Iman Lababedi and Bob Nevin

“Gene Loves Jezebel Desire You!,” by Harold DeMuir

“To Sir, With Love,” a Sylvie Simmons article on Bob Geldof

“Heavy Metal Must Be Destroyed!,” by Rick Johnson

Dave Kendall penned a short piece on Timbuk 3, who were trying to develop their own path to long-term success in the music industry. Lead singer Pat MacDonald would later have credits on songs recorded by Cher, Aerosmith, and Billy Ray Cyrus, among others. MacDonald in 2004, “I’ve probably had 50 songs commercially released on major labels that I co-wrote and have not seen one penny from any of them.” Maybe he didn’t need those shades after all.  

Ray Davies did not react well when either Iman Lababedi or Bob Nevin commented that they didn’t care for his latest album. Davies, “My music is very personal to me, so I feel on the defensive. I don’t feel I have to justify it. I just feel you are not educated enough yet and I’m here to educate you.” He also referred to John Mendelssohn as “embittered” and said he would like to make long time Kinks drummer Mick Avory a pop star. This isn’t one of Ray’s more interesting interviews, as he kind of had a self-pitying mood throughout.

Bob Geldof returned in 1986 with a solo album titled “Deep in the Heart of Nowhere.” Citizens of Norway and Ireland were excited with this development, making “This is the World Calling” a #1 pop hit in their countries. The rest of the civilized world was less enthused.

With “Heavy Metal Must Be Destroyed!,” Rick Johnson returned with the type of piece he often wrote during the Susan Whitall era of Creem. Johnson, “You may find this hard to believe, but there was a time back before the age of dual-pronged nail clippers when heavy metal had a VISION. It was a STUPID vision, but at least there was a ring of authenticity to it.”

Quotable Quotes:  

Chuck Eddy on the Beastie Boys, “I’m no queer but I know that these are not the prettiest men I’ve ever seen.”

Eddy, “The current interest in early ‘70s rock is no retreat; fact is, punk promised more and failed more miserably than any other rock ‘n’ roll ever has. When Red Kross covers Kiss, when ‘Walk This Way’ goes Top 10, when the Golden Palominos hire Jack Bruce, it’s no retreat – rather, it’s a necessary return to unfinished business. If the Sex Pistols had never happened, we’d probably be better off than we are now.”

Eddy, “If being ‘offended’ is what bugs you, you don’t love rock ‘n’ roll.”

Iman Lababedi on The Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” album, “Listening to the Beasties rap all over their rock rhythms, I found myself laughing out loud and gasping in disbelief. I’d thought rock couldn’t shock me anymore…Beyond social redemption, often beyond contempt, the Beastie Boys are getting away with murder. And you thought only the government could do that.”

Pat MacDonald of Timbuk 3, “People in the music biz figure there’s only one formula for success.”

Bob Geldof, “I NEED this to be a success – not just financially, but mostly for the good of myself. Pop singing is what I do.”

Rick Johnson, “Here in the rump end of the ‘80s, however, heavy metal has become as safe as such marginally obscene words as dickweed, kumquat and pusillanimous.”

Johnson, “Your average metal maniac gives the ‘new’ Van Halen the same fun rating as taking a secret to the grave.”

Johnson on Ratt, “An empty skull is the devil’s bait shop.”

Summary:  To echo Richard Riegel’s thoughts on Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” that Beastie Boys piece is forever.

Grade: A

Latest price on eBay: $20.00 to “Buy It Now.”

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