Creem Magazine’s Legacy: 70s vs. 80s

In the alley behind CREEM's Cass Corridor offices, 1969Detroit’s Metro Times has a great two-part feature by Bill Holdship on the life, death and strange resurrection of America’s only rock and roll magazine, Creem. The first part, Sour CREEM, traces its origins from the Cass Corridor through its heyday at the 120-acre Walled Lake compound, “where all the staff lived communally on the farm in one big house,” and beyond…

[Lester] Bangs and [Dave] Marsh got into a fistfight so bad one day that Marsh ended up with a gash in his head. Seems the tidier Marsh, tired of Lester’s dog pooping everywhere, placed the dung on Bangs’ typewriter. Strangely, their relationship was much better from that day forward.

Part Two is up now: CREEMed, wherein a new CREEM anthology results in a battle over the magazine’s legacy between its original ’70s staffers and the crew that ran the magazine in the ’80s through its 1988 demise.

You can read some of the first-hand quotes from the 70s gang, inclusing Dave Marsh and Susan Whitall, via this New York Observer piece, New Creem Retrospective Outrages Magazine’s Alums, which neatly sums up as, “Seems to me there’s an underlying, more interesting battle going on here–a sideshow to Matheu vs. the Creem critics–that being seventies Creemsters vs. eighties Creemsters.”

In response to Whitall’s claims that the 80s version didn’t have “that genius, that spark, that ire, that the first Creem had,” Metro Times‘ Bill Holdship says, “CREEM didn’t have the same genius in the ’80s … mainly because, as far as I’m concerned, Lester Bangs was the only real genius to ever pass through CREEM.”

Lester Bangs says it all...

Gotta love a good catfight between writers. Need more? Read Bill Holdship’s defense of John Cougar’s essential Creeminess. And read the comments here for more insider jibe-trading.

Via mcr.

6 thoughts on “Creem Magazine’s Legacy: 70s vs. 80s”

  1. Well, I have to say that I agree with the idea that 70s Creem kicks 80s Creem’s ass…even though I do think Lester Bangs is overrated. He was great, but, um, not the god he’s held up as. (Full disclosure: I’m a definite Dave Marsh partisan–people should check out some of his collections. And, of course, Rock and Rap Confidential kicks ass.)

  2. Man, I do miss Creem. Had it not have been for Creem and Lester Bangs I’d never have heard “Metallic K.O”, never have bothered with Lou Reed, dismissed Patti Smith as a Jim Morrison wanna be, probably missed punk all together and stuck with prog rock instead. God Bless Creem.

  3. Bangs is like one of his heroes, Kerouac, when they are on, they are brilliant, when they are off, they are long winded and boring. Creem changed my life, I had a subscription from roughly 1976-1981 and without it I would have never know that I had really found something when I found (a then long out of print) copy of The Stooges “Funhouse” at Salvation Army. Buying that album changed my life and reading Creem opened musical horizons for me. Beacuse of Creem I was one of the few people listening to Punk Rock in my high school. I also had no problem reconciling my love for both Metal and Punk. Long live Creem.

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