I spent much of the holidays obsessively poring over my favorite
Christmas gift, a hard-bound, coffee-table collection of the best of Creem magazine,
published last year by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins.
As someone who admired the magazine's enthusiastic but irreverent take on the punk explosion of the '70s, I would have preferred to see more punk and less Bob Seger, Grand Funk Railroad, and John Cougar Mellencamp. But there's plenty of priceless material here nonetheless:
An amazing/embarrassing Marc Bolan interview from 1973, in which Mr. T. Rex repeatedly goes out of his way to slag David Bowie as lacking in charisma, destined for obscurity, and not "even remotely near big enough to give me any competition" (Bolan wasn't exactly Nostradamus, now was he?); a Lester Bangs-penned profile of Iggy Pop, in which the World's Forgotten Boy takes his shots at Bowie for lousing up the mix of the Stooges' Raw Power, by branding him "that fuckin' carrottop"; a never-before-published 1982 photo of Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, in frilly white dress and long, auburn wig, draped across a car, a full five years before Tawny Kitaen put Whitesnake on the map in similar fashion; and plenty of rude Creem Profiles and Backstage photo captions.
My favorite remembrance comes from Bill Holdship, currently with Current sister paper, the Detroit Metro Times, who recalls taking a phone call from Billy Joel, who angrily complained about a Creem photo of Christie Brinkley, accompanied by the caption: "Dating a moron? Why I am!" Joel told Holdship that when the magazine made fun of his girlfriend "them's fighting words!" Holdship, to his credit, explained to Joel that the photo was making fun of HIM, not Brinkley.