Time was when a self-respecting Motor City rock mag wouldn’t dream of just regurgitating press releases for the highest bidder or devote its energy to anything but the shatteringest sounds on the scene. That’s when Creem, that spurting fountainhead of great rock journalism, spewed poetry and mind spasms of pure inspiration from the likes of Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Cameron Crowe, Greil Marcus and Dave Marsh — along with electrifying responses to rock ’n’ roll reality by Patti Smith Lenny Kaye, Richard Meltzer, Ben Edmonds and Metro Times’ own Charlie Auringer and Richard C. Walls, among many, many others. If you were lucky enough to have been a kid reading said mag before it ceased publication (1985 in its original Deetroit version), you found out about all the latest sweat-inducing music worthy of the hype: from the MC5 to Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Lou Reed to the New York Dolls, Captain Beefheart and beyond.
Now Robert Matheu, who at 18 was a fledgling photographer with the mag (his first published photo was a shot of Lou Reed onstage with Mitch Ryder at the Masonic Temple), is making plans to revive Creem — first as an archival Web site devoted to days and editions past (check out www.creemmedia.com) and then, next spring, in an all-new regular print edition.
Having gotten the blessing of original publisher Barry Kramer’s widow, Connie Kramer, Matheu waxes enthusiastic about this new version of one of rock’s truly classic journals: “I want to aim at 18-to-30-year-olds, because we very much plan on being contemporary. That’s what Creem’s forte always was.”
Matheu is planning to use Barry Kramer’s favorite R. Crumb art (pictured) for the symbolic cover of the revived first issue, a drawing that appeared originally on the cover of the second issue of Creem and then on its first glossy edition.
Says Matheu, “This first issue will act as a manifesto of our intentions. We’ll be working with young writers and any veterans we can get. I’m excited to be involved in bringing Creem back.”
So if you’re tired of the corporate stranglehold on what used to be people’s music, tired of endless product taking precedence over endless groove and sick of slick packaging instead of packing a wallop, keep a look out for the return of “Boy Howdy” and his crew of rock maniacs. Boy, do we need them more than ever.Hot & Bothered was written and edited by George Tysh. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org