Monday, August 10, 2020

Boy Howdy: The Story of Creem Magazine


After watching music documentaries the past two Fridays -- The Go-Go's (terrific), David Foster (boy, was that guy responsible for a lot of horrible music) -- I know what we will be doing at the end of this week:


"Creem: America's Only Rock 'N' Roll Magazine""
Capturing the messy upheaval of the '70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, the film explores Creem magazine's humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later.  Fifty years after publishing its first issue, "America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine" remains a seditious spirit in music and culture.
Complete viewing details HERE.

My Creem experience mostly revolved around -- surprise! -- Blondie. When I wasn't picking up new issues at our local Alpha Beta supermarket, I was saving up my babysitting money to purchase back issues with Debbie Harry on the cover, which was harder than it sounds what with having to get money orders and stamps, too!



My brother Bill also rushed out to buy Lester Bangs's book about Blondie, that read more like a roast. (The book was ripped to shreds for photos, so I barely noticed!)


The Airship remembers:
The story goes that Lester Bangs, beloved rock critic of the era when rock critic was a viable career, turned out what was supposed to be a quickie, for-fans bio of Blondie in a weekend. While his peers question that timetable, it’s strange that there’s less opposition to the notion that "Blondie" is for fans, or by a fan, period. While Bangs admits in the book he thought the band was fun when he first saw them, he spends most of the book’s 96 pages shitting on the band in the kind of thorough, passive-aggressive manner usually reserved for people trying not to sound bitter as they describe the ex they still passionately loathe who did them wrong in high school. It’s a fascinating little piece of rock history (that, while long out of print, is easily found used online), because it’s a book that was intended to be a puff-piece but came out as an exploration of how Blondie broke Bangs’s heart.


Can't wait to spend the evening with that one!


Other fond Creem memories







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