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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – September 1976 (Volume 8, Number 4)

Rod Stewart graced the cover of the September 1976 issue of Creem. The primary discussion during the interview was whether Rod had “gone Hollywood” – considering his relationship with Britt Ekland, his move to Los Angeles, the success of his solo career, and having quit the Faces. Rod denied the possibility (“I’m working class. I always will be.”) of having “gone Hollywood,” but that was never truly his goal. However, his move to the West Coast did put him much closer to Las Vegas.

This is the first issue to include “Backstage,” the one-page collection of celebrity photos and snappy captions at the back of the magazine. In the future, this would become the proverbial icing on the Creem cake.

Features:

“Rod Stewart: Britt’s Flit, Faces Split, Upper Class Twit?,” by Tony Stewart

“Zappa’s Been Workin’ on de Railroad…(De Grand Funk Railroad, dat is!),” by Michael Davis

“Alice Cooper: Colonel Sanders’ Revenge,” by Richard Cromelin

“Bernie Taupin: The Cheese Stands Alone,” by Jaan Uhelszki

“Yes: The Thinking Man’s Up with People,” by Robert Duncan

“Rick Derringer: Little Man with a Big Gun,” by Billy Altman

In one of the stranger collaborative efforts of the 1970s, Michael Davis caught Frank Zappa and Grand Funk Railroad as the final mixes were being completed for the ‘Good Singin’, Good Playin’,” album. All parties seemed to be having a wonderful time, which may have made it easier when the album bombed and the group broke up later that year.

Alice Cooper talked about his various upcoming projects and hobbies in his interview with Michael Davis. Cooper had a tour cancelled due to drinking issues during this timeframe and still, despite his professional plans, was fighting a losing battle with the bottle.

Bernie Taupin tried very hard to establish an identity outside of being Elton John’s songwriting partner in his interview with Jaan Uhelszki (“I don’t even like to think of myself as a writer”). Not sure that worked out too well for Bernie in the long run.

The Robert Duncan piece on Yes primarily focused on keyboardist Patrick Moraz, who had replaced Rick Wakemen. Moraz was unceremoniously tossed out of the band in 1977 when Wakeman decided to return to the fold. This interview will help the uninitiated understand why this was such an easy decision.

Quotable Quotes:

Bob Marley refuting a report that he had seven children by four women, “That’s not true – I have NINE children by SEVEN girls – everybody knows that.”

Rod Stewart on the Faces, “It was such an unprofessional band. I mean, how many times can you get away with being an hour and a half late at a gig for 15,000? You can’t go on doing that, year in and year out.”

Simon Frith on seeing the Rolling Stones in Leicester, “The Stones WERE the best rock ‘n’ roll band I’ve ever seen and they were hard and harsh and nonsense-free. Keith Richard is back in his chunky guitar role and Charlie Watts was wonderful beyond words.”

Don Brewer, “You gotta admit that the combination of Grand Funk and Frank Zappa is, by image, really weird.”

Frank Zappa on Grand Funk, “I didn’t know anything about ‘em except for the kind of sleaze you print in your magazine.”

Richard Cromelin, “Alice (Cooper) has assumed the aspect of a father-figure to the outrage-rock scene, leaving the toil and the hard-core destruction of sensibilities to youngsters like Kiss.”

Alice Cooper, “I’m the biggest liar in the world. I don’t believe a word I say.”

Elton John, “(Bernie) Taupin is…trashy, cheap, small-time. I managed to keep him under wraps – well out of the way – but now the little twerp wants fame, fortune, recognition of his own.”

Bernie Taupin, “I love sleazy places. When I was in New York City, Freddie Mercury and I went to this place called the Gilded Grape which is frequented by six foot tall transvestites, and I got some superb ideas for songs from there. I love writing about hookers and pimps and such.”

Robert Hull on the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Shake Some Action” album, “Ten years ago this elpee would have been just another fine record; in 1976, it sounds like a masterpiece.”

Summary: It’s pretty funny to read Grand Funk and Frank Zappa fawning over each other. Although, it may be even more amusing to read Bernie Taupin promoting himself as some kind of counter-culture badass.

Grade: B+

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