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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1987 (Volume 19, Number 2)

Pouty Robert Smith, who had become the recurring Robert Plant cover boy of late era Creem, was back in gloom on the October 1987 issue. The Cure were enjoying their first U.S. Top 40 hit with the splendidly fun “Just Like Heaven” and this was a band made for the MTV era. Deborah Frost conducted a very indepth Q and A with Smith that covered his childhood, early influences, his image, the controversy over the song “Killing an Arab,” and the “Kiss Me…” album. This is an interview that any serious fan of the Cure should seek out.

Joe Fernbacher reviewed the “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me” album as an era defining release, stating, “This merry mix of sonic sutures stitches up all the inherent optimism, confusion, brutality, contradiction and (on rare occasions) contrition of the present incarnation of the blank generation.”

The Replacements looked like the rock stars they should have been in their “Creem’s Profiles” turn.

In the “New Beats” section, there is a small piece on the Washington Squares, a folk trio that included sometime CREEM scribe Lauren Agnelli.

Features:

“This Aerosmith Species,” by Chuck Eddy

“John Barry: The Man with the Golden Baton,” by Iman Lababedi

“LL Cool J Takes the Rap, Beats the Rap, Raps It Up, Raps Around the Clock, Encourages Bad Puns,” by Jon Young

“John Hiatt: ‘Have A Little Faith…’,” by Bill Holdship

“Marshall Crenshaw: Still Likes Girls…and 11 Others,” by Laura Fissinger

“Genesis: In Defense of Genesis,” by Chris Welch

“Chris Isaak Has It All Backwards,” by Bud Scoppa

“Warren Zevon: Buy This Magazine Because of Him!,” by Sylvie Simmons

Aerosmith were on the verge of their comeback run with the 1987 album “Permanent Vacation,” but Chuck Eddy was much more impressed with their history than the current album at the time this article was published. As for the band, Steven Tyler talked about his love of funk music and Joe Perry espoused the virtues of clean living. It’s a good piece.

Iman Lababedi chatted with John Barry on recording Louis Armstrong (“It was such a privilege to work with him that I almost cried”) and his work on film soundtracks. Barry had this to say on working with established pop bands, “When you’re dealing with a group, you’re dealing with a situation already in progress. There’s a lot of in-house politics and that can make life difficult.”

In a short interview with Jon Young, LL Cool J explained that he wasn’t simply a product of Rick Rubin’s fertile mind (“he didn’t make my record, he did it WITH me”) and thought the Beastie Boys were good for rap “because it opens up new doors” for the genre.

Bill Holdship was a big fan of John Hiatt’s “Bring the Family” album and Hiatt seemed like he was at a good point in his life and career in this interview.

Marshall Crenshaw praised Ed Sanders, Iggy Pop, Kathleen Turner, and expressed his appreciation for fan mail in his interview with Laura Fissinger.

Phil Collins was very much on the defensive (“We’ve never done things just for the money and never will”) in his short interview with Chris Welch.

Chris Isaak joked about hating Mel Torme and wanting to become a Frank Sinatra-type bully in a fun interview with Bud Scoppa.

Warren Zevon talked about working with R.E.M., his thoughts on Linda Ronstadt’s versions of his songs, and enjoying Tom Cruise dancing to “Werewolves of London” on screen in his interview with Sylvie Simmons.

Quotable Quotes:  

Chuck Eddy, “Where I come from, Aerosmith is the environment…And, they had words – verbose, detailed, raunchy language that came across like ‘Too Much Monkey Business,’ ‘The Naked Lunch,’ ‘The Jumpin’ Jive, and ‘Narrative Poetry From Black Oral Tradition’ tossed together into a classified documents shredder and then burned in a hashpipe.”

Joe Perry, “There’s probably 300,000 hard-core Aerosmith fans out there, but there’s people who’ve never heard of Aerosmith, who don’t know where Cinderella copped their style. That pisses me off a lot.”

Richard C. Walls on L.L. Cool J’s “Bigger and Deffer” album, “But I don’t think he’ll make it, I don’t think the pales will take it/’Cause he energizes rap with life but don’t shake it and don’t break it/He don’t mix it up with metal, or white boy gross-out antics/And tho’ he’s in fine fettle he won’t sell it to the frantics.”

Rick Johnson, “Motley Crue are truly a bunch of fun-lovin’ guys. They run around in outfits that’re about a grade short of bacon on the USDA scale. Their composite driving record puts them in a special category usually reserved for the deceased. And like the man said, when they’ve got a hammer, EVERYTHING looks like a nail.”

Robert Christgau on The Cult’s “Electric” album, “One reason it’s a great joke is that in 2087 almost nobody will be able to tell it from Aerozep. The other reason it’s a great joke is that right now almost anybody can.”

John Hiatt, “It’s hard to talk about music. It’s like talking about God. It’s more of a feeling kind of thing.”

Marshall Crenshaw, “I used to subscribe to CREEM back in the early ‘70s, when Lester Bangs was an editor. I was a bigger fan of his than I was of most ‘70s rock groups – but we won’t go into that.”

Dave Marsh, “My whole attitude is ‘fuck Chuck Eddy.’ If Bon Jovi makes a great record, then you’re damn straight I’m going to talk about what it means politically. And it WILL mean something.”

Summary: Lots and lots of meat on the bone in this issue.

Grade: A

Latest price on eBay: $20.00 or “Best Offer.”

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