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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1982 (Volume 14, Number 5)

Robert Plant, largely absent from the music business since the death of John Bonham, returned to the cover of the October 1982 issue of Creem. At this point, Plant was evolving from young lion to elder statesman in the rock community. He discussed the process of putting together the musicians for his “Pictures at Eleven” album, put to bed any speculation on a Led Zep reunion (“you don’t replace anybody”). Other subjects included avoiding cover songs (“it would have almost been too easy”), his vocal range, and his tendency for optimism. As always, Plant was an engaging interview subject.

Features:

“If you Read Nothing Else, At Least Read This! Not Another Squeeze Story!,” by Dave Dimartino

“Laurie Anderson Unchained: Is That a Big Science in Your Pocket or What?,” by John Neilson

“Ferry Crosses and Mercy: Roxy Music Sees Avalon,” by John Mendelssohn

“Circle Jerks: Love the One You’re With…,” by Sylvie Simmons

“Moby Grape into the Void: Robert Plant Takes Root in the ‘80s,” by Susan Whitall

“Motorhead Gives Good Show! Headbangin’ with Lemmy & the Boys,” by Sylvie Simmons

In a lengthy interview with Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford of Squeeze, the songwriter duo alternately discussed their appreciation of Elvis Costello’s production on “East Side Story,” their admiration for the Human League and ABC, the best way to sort albums (alphabetically versus by genre), and the stupidity of a song like “Partytown” by Glenn Frey. Dave DiMartino implored Creem’s readers to enjoy the band’s work on its own terms and stop the overblown comparisons of the songwriters to Lennon and McCartney. That problem worked itself out pretty quickly with Squeeze’s continued (subpar) albums.

John Neilson was impressed by the humor in Laurie Anderson’s work and she tried to make his job easier by noting, “You probably need a nice pithy statement that looks good in quotes.”

Bryan Ferry discussed his frustrations on the lack of U.S. success for Roxy Music, then moved to personal issues such as being newly married, angst about potential fatherhood, and his desire to be…not joking…a farmer (“ideally a very rich one”). Of all the things one can imagine, Bryan Ferry wearing bib overalls while tending to sick cows is quite a stretch.

Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks discussed the band’s music as being a stripped down version of heavy metal and their live shows as catharsis for frustrated young males in his interview with Sylvie Simmons.

Sylvie also interviewed Lemmy of Motorhead who discussed the departure of Eddie Clark and the addition of Brian Robertson. This interview took place well before Motorhead reached universally beloved status, so Lemmy had to defend himself on grounds that the music was simplistic, repetitive, and that they were a heavy metal act. Lemmy also volunteered that he had taken amphetamines for so long that a doctor refused to give him a blood transfusion on the grounds that “his metabolism is so fucked up by now that new blood would probably kill him.”

Quotable Quotes:

Chris Difford, “I feel a certain allegiance with the Kinks – who for the most part weren’t awfully big in Britain, but were widely accepted in the States. Which is similar to our situation now.”

Laurie Anderson, “(It’s) a big mistake to call TV communication – it’s really P.R., it’s sales…it’s money. It doesn’t have much to do with communication.”

John Mendelssohn on Bryan Ferry, “He is deeply British, and profoundly decorous, and so embarrassed to be talking about himself yet again.”

Bryan Ferry, “We hadn’t been thinking in terms of America at all for the past few years. It isn’t that we wouldn’t love to have a big audience here. It’s just that we’d given up on that ever happening.”

Keith Morris, “I don’t want to become a star. Not being chased by millions of girls – I’ve never looked forward to that.”

Susan Whitall, “It should be noted this 15th anniversary of the summer of love, that Creem and Led Zeppelin, born within a paisleyed year of each other, have had a happily symbiotic relationship yea these many years…The band was never dismissed as mere HEAVY METAL (and by definition useless), perhaps because of the traditional Stooges-bred Creem writer’s benevolent attitude towards loud noise.”

Phil Taylor of Motorhead, referring to himself and Lemmy, “How else could two horrible reprobates like us get to visit America if it wasn’t for this? If it wasn’t for rock ‘n’ roll, how could we exist.”

Rick Johnson on the Rolling Stones’ “Still Life” album, “Stack it up with the A-side of a Van Halen LP and you’ve got the kind of ass-whomp where buttocks fear to tread.”

Michael Davis on the Louis Jordan album “I Believe in Music,” “A close listen reveals that people as heavy as B.B. King, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry had a lot of exposure to him, but the best way to enjoy this record is to drop the academic approach in the nearest paper bag and just get juiced and loose. To paraphrase the man, pass the tequila and I’ll feel ya.”

Summary: The Robert Plant cover story was like a warm reunion with an old friend.

Grade: A-

Latest price on eBay: $19.77 or “Best Offer.”

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