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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1980 (Volume 12, Number 6) 

A rather dour Pete Townshend was featured on the November 1980 issue of Creem. He looked somewhat like a man who wished he could solve calculus problems in his head, but intuitively knew that non-static variables were beyond his grasp. In his interview with future “People” magazine music editor Carl Arrington, Townshend discussed the Meher Baba (oy to the vey), punk rock (“I had invented punk a thousand times in my head”), and the Cincinnati concert tragedy (“I think a benefit would have been a gloomy, brooding affair”). Arrington’s tone was a reverent almost to the point of hero worship. After discussing Townshend’s many projects, the author concluded, “All of these things seem to be prima facie evidence that he has that unspeakable yearning matched with genius that comes along in a musician as rarely as a Segovia or Gershwin.” That’s some pretty heavy hyperbole for the guy who wrote “Squeeze Box.” 

Dave Edmunds looked like he had just been goosed by Nick Lowe in his “Creem’s Profiles” turn.

 

Features: 

“The Records: Not Made to Be Broken,” by John Kordosh 

“Secret Affair: Mods As Sods?,” by Gregg Turner 

“Creem’s First Annual Dubious Achievement Awards,” by Rick Johnson 

“Pete Townshend: Who’s He?,” by Carl Arrington 

“Magazine Leader Admits Murdering World (No One Notices),” by Michael Davis 

“Welcome to My Nightmare: Joe Jackson vs. Success,” by Toby Goldstein 

“Punk Woodstock Meets the Ugly American,” by Dave DiMartino 

“Crouching Toward Bowmanville or Elvis: What Happened?,” by Susan Whitall 

One will rarely hear a band complain more about their record label than The Records did in their feature with John Kordosh. If the goal was to get out of their contract, it didn’t work. They stayed on Virgin Records through the release of a 1982 album and then disbanded.  

Gregg Turner was unimpressed by the U.K. mod revival band Secret Affair, stating, “Lead singer Ian (Page) is a better publicity monger than vocalist.” Ian was quite taken by himself, proclaiming, “We are doing more musically than any other band.” It’s probably hard to avoid chest beating when your albums are almost making the Top 40 charts in the U.K.  

Rick Johnson provided a list of recent pithy quotes and odd news events for his “Dubious Achievement Awards.” My favorite: “Biggest Disappointment – Roy Carr on Elton John’s ATTEMPTED suicide.” 

Joe Jackson was still very much in his angry young man phase in his interview with Toby Goldstein. Like Mr. Townshend, he could never have been accused of not taking himself seriously enough.  

Dave DiMartino and Susan Whitall provided separate reports on a punk rock festival held near Toronto. Susan Whitall noted that Elvis Costello may have been viewed as too “racist” for the Village Voice and too “fucked up” for Rolling Stone, yet “is also somebody who speaks to us in Bad Attitude, Michigan.” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Editor’s response to a letter about Pete Townshend’s “Let Me Love Open the Door” sounding like a McDonald’s commercial, “That’s nothing. Take the bun off a quarter pounder and it looks like Roger Daltrey.” 

John Wicks of the Records, “It’s really embarrassing. Everywhere we go, people say – even young kids about 16 or 17, fans who come into the dressing room to get autographs – and they say, ‘Why are you on Virgin? They’re not doing anything for you guys.’” 

Ian Page of Secret Affair, “I hate rock ‘n’ roll more than anything I can think of. I mean passionately. I think it is horribly wrong. It’s a disposable artifact.” 

Penny Valentine on Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “When rock music is this good it has an almost indefinable purity that is both exultant and painful.” 

Howard Devoto on his major influence, “I was listening to the first three Stooges albums and they were the only records that were making any sense to me, especially given the fact that I wasn’t an accomplished musician.” 

Joe Jackson, “I don’t wanna be too successful. I don’t want to feel too safe.” 

Joe Jackson, “We did a gig with the Knack, and apart from being really awful, the guy was standing onstage shouting, ‘We’re just having fun here, that’s all rock ‘n’ roll is, a bit of fun! And I just wanna hit people like that.” 

Nick Tosches on country/rockabilly singer Jimmy Logsdon, “’I’ve Got a Rocket In My Pocket,’ no only went on to become one of the most sought-after records in rockabilly history, but also inspired Iggy Pop to become the new Sinatra.” 

Summary: Lotsa bounce to the ounce in this feature stuffed issue. 

Grade: A- 

Latest price on eBay: $8.99 to “Buy It Now.” 

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