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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1987 (Volume 19, Number 3)

Creem magazine celebrated the legacy of the Velvet Underground by featuring Lou and company on the cover of the November 1987 issue. The cover feature is actually a series of pieces with Bill Holdship interviewing Lou in the main event and additional interviews with John Cale (by Roy Trakin), Nico (by John Neilson), Sterling Morrison (by Thomas Anderson), Maureen Tucker (by Thomas Anderson), La-Monte Young (by John Neilson), and Doug Yule (by Thomas Anderson). Lou talked about his goal with the band (“I wanted to expand the perimeters of what a rock ‘n’ roll song was about”), his preference for simple song structures (“The thing I always liked about a Lou Reed song is the fact that anybody should be able to sit down and play it”), and his admiration for jazz musicians Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. He also talked about his “Lou Reed persona” and how his interviews from the 1970s were “him playing games with people.” Lou seemed to really appreciate that Creem was doing a major feature on the Velvet Undergound and this is an outstanding interview. 

In “Rock ‘n’ Roll News,” we learned that legendary songwriter Boudleaux Bryant had passed away and that Keith Richards had penned a solo record deal.  

The lead letter was penned by me, but the ending makes no sense because I either screwed it up (most likely) or it was edited incorrectly. I was not amused that Tom Petty had insulted my beloved Husker Du.  

Features: 

“We Have…Simple Minds,” by Craig Lee 

“Steve Earle: The Cosmopolitan Cowboy,” by Cynthia Rose 

“Bridge Over Roger Waters,” by Jim Farber 

“Cruzados: Time for Waiting,” by Bud Scoppa 

“U2 In Ireland: Aggressive Pacifists in a War-Torn Land,” by Andy Hughes 

“Some Kinda Love…20 Years of the Velvet Underground,” by Bill Holdship 

“Even More More of the Monkees!,” by John Kordosh 

“The Meaning o’ the Universe: Echo, God & the Bunnymen,” by Dave Segal

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds had a live album to promote (“There were lines at most of the European record shops the day it came out”) in his interview with Craig Lee. He discussed his thoughts on spirituality, the ecology, and avoided talking about his then wife, Chrissie Hynde. On the success of “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” Kerr reflected that, “The record company and the movie company got behind it with a sledgehammer.” 

Steve Earle talked about splitting the difference between rock and country music, being influenced by Bruce Springsteen (“It’s really DISGUSTING how good he is!”), and how Nashville was an anti-singer/songwriter environment. This is a good, short piece.  

Roger Waters complained about his old band mates still using the name Pink Floyd and distanced himself from “The Wall” movie in his interview with Jim Farber. He has always seemed like the last person in the world you would want to get stuck on an elevator with.  

The Edge and Bono talked primarily about what was then still a very violent climate in Northern Ireland in their interview with Andy Hughes.  

The Monkees still seemed to be very much enjoying their reunion tour in their interview with John Kordosh. The band also discussed making another film, which sadly never came to fruition.  

Quotable Quotes:   

Jim Kerr, “Why did the Who get gradually worse? Because it was tied in with concepts of success and the lifestyles and habits connected with it.” 

Thomas Anderson on Brave Combo’s “Polkatharsis” LP, “Carl Finch plays some of the best Tex Mex accordion this side of Steve Jordan…Who can resist an album featuring a song called ‘Crazy Serbian Butcher’s Dance’?” 

John Mendelssohn, “I interviewed Black Oak Arkansas once for ‘Rolling Stone.’ I’d hardly driven across the threshold of their rented West San Fernando Valley ranch when members of their huge extended ‘family’ started sticking zucchini-sized joints in my mouth. By the time I was shown into their rehearsal room, I could barely remember how to blink. Boy, did they sound great! And, boy did I need a snack! What we talked about mostly were the deep feelings of brotherhood that would unite them forever. Within about 18 months, half of them had been fired, and the remaining two quarters were suing one another.” 

Steve Earle, “The radio stations in South Texas are geared to a different deal. They go for a danceable brand of country, people you rarely hear so much elsewhere, like Johnny Bush or Ray Price – I cut my teeth on real hard country from that kind of radio.” 

The Edge, “There’s a hell of a lot of people who see religion as a social thing, or in certain parts of the world, Northern Ireland included, it’s a racist thing – a chance to be on one side or the other.” 

Lou Reed, “Lester Bangs was one of the only writers who ever captured that real energy of rock ‘n’ roll in his writing.” 

John Kordosh, “The Monkees are entertainers in the best sense of the word.” 

Summary: What’s not to love? Lou Reed, the Monkees, and me! 

Grade: A- 

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