Creem Magazine, RIP 1989, is coming back. An initial reaction, of course, is “Bow Howdy!”, although there have been several returns from the grave in the magazine’s existence. Maybe this time it will take.
But I wonder.
After all, the publication, which had its run out of Detroit for 20 years, has a natural demographic that is, well, reading, if much of anything, The Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg BusinessWeek to watch their 401Ks crater.
Odds are there aren’t going to be a whole lot of them who are going to consistently keen on reading about rock history from the Creem archives or buying merch with the brand’s logo on it (unless, of course, they buy the T-shirt to do the chores on Saturday, like washing the Lincoln).
The model for its return has access to its over “69,000 articles, reviews, images, and original advertisements.” That number seems a bit high, given that if there were 12 issues over 20 years, that would be 287.5 items per issue, so clearly they’re counting every tiny bit of what was the magazine.
Yes, yes, reading Lester Bangs as well as early Greil Marcus and Dave Marsh is certainly a worthwhile use of time.
And realize that it was a time rife with wonderful music to write about. Consider only a few of the releases of 1970: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!, Johnbarleycorn Must Die, The Man Who Sold the World, Gasoline Alley, Morrison Hotel, Band of Gypsies, Back in the USA.*
But when you move from that it probably becomes an exercise in total nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. Consider, for example, that the ads are embedded: this isn’t like the posters and postcards available from Wolfgang’s Vault as much as it is a commercial chronicle of days gone by, the sort of thing that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame meets the Henry Ford Museum. Ads from major record companies decrying “The Man” were appropriate then and seem craven now. The only ad that really has legs from that period is the Maxell “Blown Away Guy,” which appeared in 1980.