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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1981 (Volume 13, Number 5) 

After the dissolution of Led Zeppelin, there was a vacuum in the Creem cover story slot that in 1981 appeared to be largely filled by Van Halen. Diamond Dave and guitar slinger Eddie were back on the cover of the October issue, which also included an insert pic of Billy Squier, about three years before he showed off his fancy dance moves on MTV. The cover article was another outstanding piece by John Kordosh, who loved the circus, rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere that Van Halen created. David Lee Roth had a wonderful time trashing other bands (“I don’t want people to take it personally. But, I mean, Journey stinks”), while Kordosh concluded that, “VAN HALEN GETS EVEN WITH EVERYONE BY THEIR MERE EXISTENCE.”  

The death of Harry Chapin was reported in “Rock ‘n’ Roll News.”  

Alcohol expert Angus Young was the subject of “Creem’s Profiles.” His profession? “Parlaying screaming chariots of thud into big Aussie bucks all around.” 

Features: 

“Everybody Needs Somebody to Hate: A History of L.A. Punk Rock,” by Gene Sculatti 

“Mondo Profundo: David Johansen Sings Basso,” by Bill Holdship 

“Stroking the Rock Monolith: Billy Squier Pays the Piper,” by John Neilson 

“One Hump or Two? Steve Strange Walks for a Camel,” by Toby Goldstein 

“Van Halen Gets Even with Everyone!,” by John Kordosh 

“The 61 Terrible Secrets of the Blue Oyster Cult,” by Rick Johnson 

Gene Sculatti penned a first-person account of the L.A. punk scene from 1977 to 1981, with background/analysis on acts including the Weirdos, X, Black Flag, Fear, and the Angry Samoans. Good read.  

David Johansen was like the fifth Beatle in the sense that his previous group was more interesting than his solo career. In the best part of his interview with Bill Holdship, Johansen described his love of the Four Tops. He also noted he had a much better shot at sounding like Levi Stubbs than he did Frankie Valli.  

Billy Squier was stroking his way into the pop charts in 1981 and John Neison was the man on the scene to report on Squier’s background (to include the bands the Sidewinders and Piper). The main…um…thrust of the article was that Squier didn’t want to be..um…pegged as a “heavy metal” artist. Best Casey Kasem moment ever? When he explained that “The Stroke” was about “psychological manipulation.”  

Toby Goldstein interviewed “New Romantic” figure Steve Strange, and while I’m no expect on this subject, from an image perspective he seemed to have opened the door that Boy George walked through.  

Rick Johnson scoured Blue Oyster Cult articles to write about/fabricate the band’s secret history. For example, “’We have a hard core of about a quarter million fans,’ says Eric, a total which is roughly equivalent to the number of hogs slaughtered daily in the U.S.” 

Quotable Quotes:   

Cheetah Chrome, “The Stooges were better than the Pistols – people will realize that in years to come!” 

Bill Holdship, “David Johansen…is clearly a man with a spectre hanging over his career: the ghost of the New York Dolls.” 

Steve Strange, “I don’t think politics on record can change anything. You might disagree, but I think music is just there to be enjoyed.” 

David Lee Roth, “The (National) Enquirer is the only paper I use for more than rolling joints.” 

John Kordosh, “If you want a more detailed explanation of what Van Halen does backstage after a show, just use your imagination. If you want to make sure, though, borrow somebody else’s imagination, too. Believe me, there’s almost no way you can go wrong.” 

Rick Johnson on Richard Simmons, “Possesses a personal magnetism slightly below that of a relocated witness…His wimpy/crawly voice sounds like Lassie whining through a kazoo…A hair transplant that resembles a scale model of an amoeba being electrocuted…curlytop puppetwipe.” 

Rick Johnson, “Rumor ’76: As a promotional stunt for ‘(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,’ Buck and Rick firebombed the office of a New York suicide prevention hotline.” 

Rick Johnson on BOC, “The shortest band in America? Well, let’s just say that, in the Third World, where relief agencies use height-to-weight proportions to determine who gets the food, BOC would receive Oreos, Snickers and birthday cakes EVERY day.” 

Iman Lababedi on Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Heaven Up Here” album, “A steadfast show of strength, a sweet surprise. The boozer’s guide to life during wartime!” 

Summary:  I absolutely love the Rick Johnson piece on Richard Simmons, although I’m guessing the sentence about “the studio audience, a mass of grounded airships in tights rolling around on the floor like waterbeds stuffed with mittens” wouldn’t get published today. 

Grade: A 

Latest price on eBay: Not Available. 

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