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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – September 1986 (Volume 18, Number 1)

First let me praise the cover design for the September 1986 issue of Creem, which is an improvement via simplification. The subject, in this case Old Reliable Bob Seger, is no longer fighting for attention with an inset pic of another act. The lettering style for other featured acts is standardized in a visually effective manner. A different color frame provides contrast to the subject. This visual style would be used primarily for covers through early 1988. (Note, on the issue I have, someone has penned a “5” on Bob Seger’s head. Perhaps they were trying to answer the question Seger asked on his 1968 single “2 + 2 = ?”).

Seger was interviewed by Roy Traykin and noted his songwriting was less autobiographical than many listeners assumed. Seger, “If you try to write something completely personal, it’s usually too melodramatic, goofy, or way over the edge.” As a middled aged rocker, Seger missed the simplicity of his early years in the business and commented, “I hate to say it, but I probably don’t speak to the people that read CREEM. I’m too old for your magazine. I speak to the people that read Time and Newsweek.” Whether or not you enjoyed the final product, you have to admire the serious approach that Seger took to his songwriting and performing.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll News” reported on the potential departures of Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor from Duran Duran. The pretty Taylor boys took extended breaks for their well-paying gig and returned years later, because money changes everything.


“Leather Studded Dudes Or…Judas Priest?,” by Sylvie Simmons

“Bob Seger: The Creem Interview,” by Roy Trakin

“With Special Guest Star Keith Richards,” by Gary Graff
“Pet Shop Boys: Out of the Doghouse,” Harold DeMuir
“Feargal Sharkey: Big Voice, Big Sound, Big Deal!,” by Jon Young
“It’s Really Pogue, Man,” by Richard Grabel

“Drinking (And Drinking Lots More!) with the Replacements,” by Bill Holdship

Sylvie Simmons starts her piece on Judas Priest by asking Rob Halford, “Are you a gay right-wing biker into S&M?” Rob’s response, “Well, that’s pretty much the way Judas Priest LOOKED for a number of years, isn’t it?” Rob then noted the band was working on updating their look “to make it a bit more stylish.” The conversation then turned to the need to do that, since so many bands had copied Judas Priest’s look and sound. Halford also opined that “the true definition of heavy metal comes from England.” As always, he was a good interview.

Keith Richards discussed working with his idols and the “Dirty Work” album in his 785th interview with Creem.

Shane MacGowen explained the formation of the Pogues to Richard Grabel, “I was just a helpless drunk lying around in the gutters of London, and I got together with a lot of other helpless drunks who were lying around the gutters of London, and we formed a band.”

Bill Holdship and John Kordosh had questions regarding whether the Replacements were a bit “contrived” before meeting them. This is an interesting piece in terms of the dynamics within the band and the give and take during the interview. After their interview and their live show, Holdship concluded, “On this particular night, the Replacements are one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands in the universe.” From this point forward, the magazine championed the Replacements at every possible opportunity and deservedly so.

Quotable Quotes:

Rob Halford on living in Phoenix, “Where else can you go for a swim on Christmas Day while your turkey’s in the oven?”

Halford, “I’m looking forward to that part of my career when people will hear that I CAN do a little bit more than just yell at the top of my voice.”

John Mendellsohn on androgyny in rock, “Think of MOST of your top British groups of the ’60s having managers who regarded a pretty boy’s anus as a more pleasurable place to deposit their penises than women’s vaginas and understand how glitter or glam came to be.”

Keith Richards, “We don’t plan cover (songs). We play them when the band first gets together and is all rusty. We go through the Otis Redding songbook.”

Richards, “The Beatles and ourselves had gotten so pissed-off buying albums that had three singles and a bunch of toss-offs. We wanted to make every song a single, a Mazarati or something like that.”

Paul Westerberg, “We’re making money, but we don’t see it because you got like lawyers and accountants and fuckheads.”

Westerberg on punk music, “We’re as rooted in that as the Beatles were in Chuck Berry. We can’t shake it if we tried. I mean, we were PUNKS. We weren’t PUNK ROCKERS.”

Tommy Stinson to Bill Holdship and John Kordosh, “You guys are great guys, you remind me of Siskel & Ebert, but I still don’t trust you.”

John Kordosh to Paul Westerberg, “Look, Bill’s gonna write it, and he’s not a mean writer. I’d be more inclined to do a hatchet job. No on you guys, though, because you’ve given me so many beers without bitching about it.”

Dave DiMartino on Tom Petty’s “Pack Up the Plantation” VHS release, “Tom Petty is boring and this tape is boring…He glorifies the Old South and its ‘rebels’ and forgets that when he was growing up in Florida people with Confederate license plates were probably trying to run him off the road when they weren’t calling him a long-haired faggot.”

Summary: It was pretty funny for Sylvie Simmons to press Rob Halford on his sexual orientation and every feature on the Replacements belongs in a proper Creem anthology.

Grade: A-

Latest price on eBay: $6.99 to “Buy It Now.”

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