“Creem gives you an exciting feeling about music”: 1970s rock magazines make a comeback | DayDayNews Music

EVery rock magazines like to believe it’s the center of their culture, but Creem is. It’s not just a magazine covering rock music, it’s not just a magazine covering rock and roll lifestyle. This is a magazine that incorporates rock music into its architectural structure.

“Creem owns this three-story building in a bad downtown neighborhood,” Johnny Badanjek, a drummer for the Detroit band, told me last year. “All the writers in the back – there will be Dave Marsh, Lester Bunce and Ed Ward. We’re on the third floor. We practice at noon, but I’ll be with Dave at 11am. come with Marsh [Creem’s editor] kept shouting, ‘Damn, bees! I want to sleep! I think I’m like an alarm clock. “

Launched in Detroit in 1969, Creem went on for 20 years, obnoxious, blaming, judgmental, possibly racist, sexist, and homophobic. It’s also fun, unafraid of fame, and a hub for writers whose names have been echoed through generations of music writing. This is largely a Detroit thing.

Dave Marsh, Barry Kramer and Lester Bangs at 3729 Cass, Creem Magazine's first office.
Dave Marsh, Barry Kramer and Lester Bangs at 3729 Cass, Creem Magazine’s first office. Photo: Charlie Orlinger

“It should be noted that Crim is a Midwestern endeavor,” the film’s director said Cameron Crowe, teenage writer for magazines“They’re not from LA or New York, which is a big part of the spirit: You don’t get the glare of people on the coast. You’re just rocking.” That’s what Creem does: just as Detroit itself values ​​high energy, high volume Like rock, so does Creem (its page is said to be the first to use “punk rock” and “heavy metal” to describe music).

“It’s about the sensitivity of Detroit,” said JJ Kramer, the son of Creem founder Barry Kramer, who will relaunch the magazine on June 1. “Blue collar, no bullshit, no fools. I don’t think it’s the same on the coast. Creem doesn’t take anything too seriously: it’s the differentiating factor.”

Especially in the ’70s, it was unique — part comedy, part ghastly champion, part provocative. For Jaan Uhelszki, one of the star writers of the time, it culminated between 1973 and 1976. Before that, edited by Marsh, it had attempted to fuse music and politics. “But after that, the idiots are in charge,” she says triumphantly, picking out some of her favorite pieces from the period, notably “Alice Cooper’s Alcoholic Cookbook” (Cooper was later treated for alcoholism) and Charles Boo Koski wrote about Rolling Stones“My favorite work. Creem isn’t just about acting. It’s all about what leads to the show. It’s all about being a music fan.”

“It’s in my blood”…Barry and baby JJ Kramer. Photo: Connie Kramer

But Creem is a product of that era. Why restart it? “It’s in my blood,” said Cramer, who is also deputy general counsel and head of intellectual property at apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. “It’s something I’ve been chasing my whole life. My dad started Creem in 1969 and published it until his death in 1981, when he left it to me when he was four. I’m my own magazine Chairman. At that time, Kerim had a hard time and was broken. But for me, there was always some kind of connection between me and my father, I didn’t know him very well. I kept chasing it, trying to protect his Legacy, and leave my own mark on it. It’s my whole adult life, putting it back together and getting to this point.”

Creem’s regression is divided into two parts. The first is a print quarterly, written mostly by new writers, although Uhelszki will be a contributor. The second – a boon for lovers of music and magazine history – is the digitization of its archives, which is being shown online for the first time: all original issues, in their original designs.

Flicking through the catalogue at the back reveals a magazine that cannot be reproduced today. It’s not just that you’re unlikely to put together such a team of writers — Charles Bukowski, Nick Tosh, Greer Marcus, Patty SmithRichard Meltzer and scores more than regulars – but the boundaries of taste won’t allow it.

Not only was Creem talking to rock stars in a way they would not tolerate today – Lester Bangs’ series of interviews with his hero Lou Reed was an objective lesson in confrontation – but they were talking about it in unabashed disrespect everything. On the one hand a community spirit is created. “Artists love Creem,” Crowe said. “Because it’s spiritual, and it’s inclusive. Even today, there’s this feeling that to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you have to be friends with all the right people. Creem isn’t like that. Creem makes you more excited about music, Rolling Stones The band felt like college.”

Lester Bunce on Lou Reed, May 1971.
Lester Bunce on Lou Reed, May 1971. Photo: Courtesy of Kerim

As the documentary Creem: America’s Only Rock’n’Roll Magazine, produced by Kramer and Uhelszki explains, that means it all happened. What happened when Lester Bangs brought his dog to the office? It fell to the floor. So what did angry Dave Marsh do to shit? Put it on Bangs’ typewriter. Drugs are rampant. Sex prevails. Everything is in fashion. But the freewheeling attitude meant that reproductions that shouldn’t have been printed even in the 1970s. You don’t have to look for examples: Randomly opened the February 1973 edition with a feature on the 10 worst restaurants in America, rife with racial stereotypes and offensive language.

“There’s something in the archives that wasn’t cool in the ’70s, and it’s not cool now,” Cramer said. “But any brand that has a legacy has this kind of discussion when it’s showing that legacy. Do you do it all? Do you rub it? I decided to show it in its entirety because it’s not cool that we have to accept this shit. Today’s Creem will talk about music in the way people think today.”

“Without consciousness,” Uhelszki said. “When I say these are the barbarian times, in Detroit, people use the N word a lot. Everyone is out of place, you can’t go back in history—that’s what music was like back then. What the archives need is a disclaimer.” What Uhelszki particularly noticed when poring through the archives was the occasional homophobia (“the assertion that male stars were gay”), but she also pointed out that Kerim – by the standards of 1970s rock magazines, of course – Be “very professional”-women”: Female writers are an important part of the magazine, and female artists are supported.

Will Creem thrive this time? Cramer said so, but he would, wouldn’t he? But the original Creem existed because both magazines and rock music represented the counterculture. This is no longer true. Many would argue that rock music is a used force these days, and launching a magazine devoted to it would be a fool’s errand. Not Kramer. “We are motivated,” he said. “The documentary was hugely popular. People kept asking me: ‘Are you going to bring the magazine back? “The combination of tradition and drive will set us apart.”

Creem’s digital archive is available now. The quarterly print magazine will launch in September.