Creem (which is always capitalized in print as CREEM despite the magazine’s nameplate appearing in lower case letters), “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine”, was a monthly rock ‘n’ roll publication first published in March 1969 by Barry Kramer and founding editor Tony Reay. It suspended production in 1989 but received a short-lived renaissance in the early 1990s as a glossy tabloid. Lester Bangs, often cited as “America’s Greatest Rock Critic”, became editor in 1971. The term “punk rock” was coined by the magazine in May 1971, in Dave Marsh’s Looney Tunes column about Question Mark & the Mysterians. The same issue introduced “heavy metal” as the name of a genre in a review of Sir Lord Baltimore by “Metal” Mike Saunders.
In the winter of 1969, Barry Kramer owned the Detroit record store Full Circle as well as Mixed Media, a head shop/bookstore and was an unsuccessful concert promoter and band manager. In a fit of pique at the local alternative paper rejecting his concert review, he decided to publish his own paper. Tony Reay, a clerk at the record store, became the first editor, naming the publication after his favorite band, Cream. Charlie Auringer became the photo editor and designer, and Dave Marsh joined soon after at age 19. The first issue was distributed only in Detroit as a tabloid-sized newspaper. A deal was struck with a distributor, but many copies were ordered by porn shops who were confused by the faintly suggestive title, who displayed it next to the similarly sized Screw magazine. Richard Siegel became circulation director and within two years CREEM had become a glossy color magazine, sized for newsstand distribution, and secured a national distribution deal.
The original offices were at 3729 Cass Avenue in Detroit for the first two years. An armed robbery of the offices convinced Kramer to move the operation to a 120 acre farm in Walled Lake, Michigan at 13 Mile and Haggerty Road. Just before the move, Lester Bangs was hired, originally to write a feature on Alice Cooper. He had been fired from rival music magazine Rolling Stone by publisher Jann Wenner for “disrespecting musicians” after a particularly harsh review of the group Canned Heat. Bangs fell in love with Detroit, calling it “rock’s only hope”, and remained there for five years.
Lester Bangs, 1981
Many of the staff members lived in the Walled Lake farmhouse, with occasional physical altercations between writers. Marsh had objected to Bangs’ poorly housebroken dog, and placed the dog’s dung on Bangs’ typewriter. This resulted in a fistfight that gave Marsh a gash on his head. Eventually, the magazine was successful enough to move to professional editorial offices in downtown Birmingham, MI. After becoming editor in 1971, Bangs left the magazine in 1976 and never wrote for it again. On January 29, 1981, Kramer died of an overdose of nitrous oxide, and Bangs died a year later on April 30, 1982 in New York City of an accidental Darvon overdose.
This geographical separation from the majority of the entertainment industry in the United States, then focused primarily in Hollywood and New York City, along with the British upbringing of original editor Reay, resulted in a certain irreverence, a deprecatory and humorous tone that permeated the magazine throughout its existence. The magazine became famous for its comical photo captions, which poked fun at rock stars, the industry, and even the magazine itself. Every year, the tall Plexiglas pyramid presented as the American Music Award was dubbed “The Object From Space”, and was attributed with the power to force celebrities to look ridiculous while holding it. The location also meant CREEM was among the first national publications with in-depth coverage of many popular Detroit-area artists, such as Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder, Alice Cooper, The MC5, The Stooges, Iggy Pop, and Parliament-Funkadelic, as well as other Midwestern acts such as Raspberries and Cheap Trick.(by wikipedia)
This is one Creem magazin from my archive, including one of the first appearences from Patti Smith as a rock n roll poet.
Fasten your seatl-belts and enjoy the journey with the time machine into the year 1971. A time when music was for many people one of he most important things of life.
And here some record ads from this magazine: