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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1984 (Volume 16, Number 5)

Michael Jackson and David Lee Roth were featured on the cover of the October 1984 issue of Creem, along with the concept/statement “Duets from Hell: The Next Big Thing!” Using his typical screwball comedy approach, Rick Johnson admitted that the cover feature was mainly filler. Johnson, on getting direction from “CREEM’S Fearless Leader” (Connie Kramer), “The author is as grateful as a murder victim whose killer was caught from the skin found beneath the deceased’s fingerprints.” The story imagines duets from unlikely pairs such as Belinda Carlisle & Joe Strummer, Keith Richards & Latoya Jackson, and Toni Tennille & Billy Idol. Note at the end of the piece, “If you’re one of the people who bought this magazine exclusively for the cover story, the author would like to personally apologize to either of you.”

In the “Mail” section, a female reader from Syracuse had an interesting dilemma. “Wondering” asked, “Since each issue of CREEM comes in the mail the same time as I get my period each month, if I get pregnant will CREEM stop coming? Or, if my subscription runs out, does it mean that I’m pregnant?”

R.E.M. had become relevant enough to have multiple items about them reported in “Rock ‘N’ Roll News” and also were the subject of the “Creem’s Profiles.”


“Their Country, Ratt or Wrong,” by Steve Gett

“Talking About the Music with Joan Jett,” by Jim Farber

“They Want to Spoil the Party – So They’ll Stay,” by Bill Holdship

Joan Jett was feeling the stress of having a gold album being considered a disappointment. Jett, “Everybody looks at you and says, ‘Write us another ‘I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll.’ I feel like shovin’ ‘em against a wall and saying, ‘you write another ‘I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll.’” This piece includes Kenny Laguna being quoted much more on the business side of the equation than Joan Jett discussing music.

The interview with Joe Strummer was the first in three years by a member of the Clash, who were upset that the magazine wouldn’t guarantee them a cover slot. Bill Holdship felt the band probably fit into the category of “armchair activism,” but conducted a good, lengthy interview that touched upon the political climate of the time, the departure of Mick Jones, and whether the band was still “The Clash” with the change of personnel.

Quotable Quotes:

Robert Christgau, reviewing Lou Reed’s “New Sensations” album, “Reed has settled into a pattern as satisfying as what he did with the Velvets, though by definition it isn’t as epochal.”

Jason Ringenberg of the Nashville Scorchers, “If you ever come down to Nashville, I’ll get you the best $25 hooker that money can buy.”

Andrew Eldritch of Sisters of Mercy, “We listen to the Stooges, the MC5 and a lot of Motown stuff. Detroit has a lot to answer for in my life. I can’t wait to see the place – 40 square miles of urban wasteland. That’s great! That’s an achievement.”

Cynthia Rose, “It’s hardly a surprise to find Frankie Goes to Hollywood hitting No. 1 with ‘Two Tribes’ – a suss, if rather deplorable, merchandising of Americaphobic apocalypse porn as disco.”

Stephen Pearcy, “I listen to people like Judas Priest, Zeppelin and though I hate to say it, Aerosmith.”

John Mendelssohn, “Billy Idol is to the Sex Pistols what Conway Twitty was to Elvis, the Monkees were to the Beatles, Grand Funk was to Hendrix/Cream, Kiss was to Alice Cooper, and Motley Crue to Kiss. He’s the new wave/punk Fabian, a zero-talent little nobody who’s parlayed a pretty face into superstardom.”

Jeff Nesin on Prince, “Definitely a wizard, a true star for the ‘80s.”

Summary: Bill Holdship’s piece on “The Clash” and John Mendelssohn’s “Eleganza” column definitely carried the day in this issue.

Grade: B

Latest price on eBay: $9.99 to “Buy It Now.”

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