Rock fans of a certain generation will remember one of the essential magazines of the genre, namely CREEM, which launched in 1969. It featured write-ups by some of the great rock journalists of the era including Robert Christgau, Lisa Robinson, Greil Marcus, Cameron Crowe, and Lester Bangs.
If you need a refresher, here’s a great scene from Crowe’s movie, Almost Famous with the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman portraying Bangs and his unique take(s) on music.
As rock journalism, CREEM was as in-your-face as the music itself. It cheekily (but justifiably) dubbed itself “America’s Only Rock n’ Roll Magazine.”
Sadly, like many print magazines, CREEM folded its tent in 1989, leaving behind an astonishing 20-year archive of rock history. But the great news is, that the archive is being made available to fans digitally. We’re talking 69,000 photos, articles, reviews, and a lot more. It’s like a deep dive into one of rock’s most interesting periods.
CREEM will also return in September as a new luxe quarterly print version that explores the current music scene with the same ferocious honesty as the original version.
Access to the CREEM archives launched on June 1 and is free with a paid subscription to the print magazine. Just for fun, the editors shared with us a few things they learned as they combed through 224 back issues.
10 Things We Learned From Going Down the CREEM Rabbit Hole
1. According to Rod Stewart, the world is divided between people who can wear a scarf well…and those who can’t.
2. Gene Simmons’ tongue wasn’t a prosthetic nor an implant, although that was the most asked question.
3. Sleep is underrated as inspiration: Rush’s “La villa Strangiato” was lifted out of Alex Lifeson’s nightmare. Lou Reed had trouble finishing “Candy Says,” but after three days, he dreamed the last elusive lyrics. To name only a couple.
4. Lester Bangs actually won most of his skirmishes with Lou Reed: “Lester had a knack for kicking me when he knew I was down,” lamented Reed in 2000.
5. Rock stars never pick up a tab at a meal. Always bring your credit card.
6. Don’t diss Joan Jett’s music or she’ll write a letter to you: “Come us see us sometime and we’ll kick your ass in.”
7. Alice Cooper says: “If you want to lose weight, eat something you don’t like very much.”
8. Ladies always love the frontman best. Although with Led Zeppelin it was a toss-up.
9. Most rock critics do want to be rock stars, usually guitarists.
10. Artists always remember the bad reviews, seldom the good ones.
-The CS Team