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Jahfin

Creem Magazine

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From The New York Times:

Rock Magazine Creem Plans Return to Print World

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT (AP) — An iconic, sardonic rock 'n' roll magazine with Detroit roots that ceased regular print publication more than 20 years ago is planning a comeback.

The publishing team behind Creem said it's restarting the presses in mid-to-late September for the magazine that officially shut down operations in 1988 and has been online only since 2001. They envision the quarterly publication as part of a broader music network that includes mobile apps and streaming music videos — all with the aim of attracting old and new readers.

The magazine most associated with its editor, the late wild-haired, prolific critic Lester Bangs, has been down the revival road before.

It had a brief return in 1990, and talk of another surfaced in the early 2000s, after the release of Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical movie "Almost Famous" renewed interest in Bangs and Creem. Though better known for his Rolling Stone connection, Crowe wrote for Creem as a teenager with Bangs as his editor.

That revival didn't happen, but those involved with Creem now say the evolution of the Internet and a desire among music fans for "something real" make this reboot more realistic.

"We just feel the timing is now," said Jason Turner, board chairman of Creem Enterprises Inc. "There's so much amazing music happening today but there's no filter, no curation happening. We think Creem is a great brand to do this under."

The magazine was launched in Detroit in March 1969 by the late Barry Kramer, a small-time retailer who owned a record shop. One of his clerks at the record store proposed they publish a local music magazine. Within two years, it went national.

Turner, who said he's been working with Creem since 2001, said the mission is to blend new and old. Barry Kramer's son, J.J., is a director in the venture, and Turner said readers can expect a return to Creem's "long-form journalism" in the print publication.

Turner said the limited-edition print magazine — pegged at about 150,000 to 200,000 copies — will be targeted to Creem's "built-in audience." The online operation is intended "to bring that demographic down and bring it back to that music culture we feel is missing or diluted," he said.

He declined to discuss financing until a full announcement comes in the weeks ahead.

Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, said reviving Creem is a great idea but one that will be "tougher than tough" to execute. He cites the failed revivals of Life, Look, Saturday Evening Post and others, and the rare exception of Vanity Fair.

Trying to cater to diverse demographics in an age of fragmentation will be Creem's biggest barrier to re-entry.

"Having it both ways is the imaginative business plan, the dream business plan for any entrepreneur," Husni said. "Yet ... in my career following this business for 30 years I've yet to see someone fulfill that dream."

For all of the changes in the publishing industry, Turner sees an online world of music journalism that's scrappy, fanatical and entrepreneurial — much like Creem was in its early days.

"Everyone asks us, 'Who is your Lester Bangs?'" said Turner, who was born the year Creem was founded. "We have to write with personality and we think some of the best ways to find up-and-coming writers is to open it up to users to contribute," he said.

Creem is building up its editorial operation in Los Angeles, while the business group is in New York. As for Detroit, well, it's got the web development — but Turner would like to make it the site of Creem-sponsored shows and maybe a museum somewhere down the road.

"We're going to continue to honor Creem's lineage," he said.

___

Jeff Karoub can be reached at http://twitter.com/jeffkaroub.

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This is just too damned cool for words. I hope they manage to keep the magazine somehow like it was, tough to do today though.

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Creem was my BIBLE during the 1970s and into the mid-80s. I have every issue from 1969 to 1986

As much as I want this to work, I remember what it was like the last couple times they tried to come back. Sometimes you can't go home again.

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"We just feel the timing is now," said Jason Turner, board chairman of Creem Enterprises Inc. "There's so much amazing music happening today but there's no filter, no curation happening. We think Creem is a great brand to do this under."

Ever hear of the internet? The timing was then, not now. Music magazines are going away.

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What I got out of the article is that the focus is going to be on the website, the magazine will only be printed in limited editions as a supplement to the website.

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But hasn't that website already been up and running for 10 years? If it hasn't caught on by now, what makes them think today is different?

Besides, there aren't that many great young music writers out there. It's not like the Seventies, when Creem had Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Nick Tosches, Dave Marsh, Susan Whitall, Jaan Ulhelski, Cameron Crowe, Patti Smith, Billy Altman, Nick Kent, Lisa Robinson, Bill Holdship, J. Kordosh, and for the loons, Rick Johnson.

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But hasn't that website already been up and running for 10 years? If it hasn't caught on by now, what makes them think today is different?

I would guess, that in conjunction with the re-launch of the magazine that some work will be done to expand the website as well. Archiving every old issue would nice for a start.

Besides, there aren't that many great young music writers out there. It's not like the Seventies, when Creem had Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Nick Tosches, Dave Marsh, Susan Whitall, Jaan Ulhelski, Cameron Crowe, Patti Smith, Billy Altman, Nick Kent, Lisa Robinson, Bill Holdship, J. Kordosh, and for the loons, Rick Johnson.

Rather than shooting Creem down before they've even gotten out of the gate, I think it's only fair that folks give them a chance first. I would think the bigger question would be, what music are they going to cover? I have no problem keeping up with new music that moves me but it seems like there's a gap between the artists I keep up with and what is covered in the mainstream press. Hopefully, Creem will help to close that gap.

Edited by Jahfin

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I was a rabid fan back in the day; I still have every issue from 1980 to 1988. It will be interesting to see what develops. Like Strider, I'm more inclined to think that the time of rock journalism has gone by -- but then I'm old and tired. Perhaps the young folk will like it.

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I was a rabid fan back in the day; I still have every issue from 1980 to 1988. It will be interesting to see what develops. Like Strider, I'm more inclined to think that the time of rock journalism has gone by -- but then I'm old and tired. Perhaps the young folk will like it.

I'm 48 years old and still read a lot of articles about music whether they be online or in magazines (Rolling Stone, Mojo, Uncut, etc.) the time for well done rock journalism has no more passed than the time for good rock n' roll.

Edited by Jahfin

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I'm still obsessed with music, don't get me wrong - most of my Internet travels are to music/band web sites. I read a lot of musician and music biz biographies as well. Perhaps I should have written more precisely that my interest in rock criticism has waned, not rock journalism per se, tho I rarely buy music mags anymore. My brain is not quite in gear today.

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Dude, I'm not trying to shoot Creem down before they start. I think it would actually be great if it could work again. But that's a big "if", considering the changes in not just the music biz, but the media and the fans as well.

Creem had a singular brand of knowledgeable wide-ranging music/pop culture coverage(their special "Drug" and "Booze" issues were legendary) mixed with a combination of sly, sophisticated wit and snarky, puerile humour. They would simultaneously praise and take-the-piss of bands...and it WORKED! Who doesn't remember those wacky captions that always made the photos better?

But anyone who spends any amount of time on Youtube or any internet message board, knows that the comprehension-level and ability to understand irony or sarcasm of today's readers is negligible. If Creem tried today what they did in the Seventies, the reader-response would be bogged down with pedantic responses from fan-boys and girls who got their feathers ruffled.

And if they're not going to go that route, then it calls into question just WHAT Creem meant to all us readers back then. Because with Mojo, Paste, LA Record, Pitchfork, Allmusic, Filter, American Songwriter, and more, there's plenty of straight music coverage already. Creem WASN'T just another Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy or Circus. They were DIFFERENT.

It takes a certain type of writer to pull off what the Creem writers and editorial staff(just WHO was responsible for those photo captions anyway?) did back then...Chuck Klosterman comes to mind as one current writer who could tread that fine-line...and it takes a certain type of reading public to GET IT.

Alas, I just think Creem's time has passed. But I'd LOVE to be proved wrong.

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http://www.detnews.com/article/20110715/ENT05/107150432/Reports-of-Creem-print-revival-may-be-premature

Reports of Creem print revival may be premature

Susan Whitall/ The Detroit News

The wire service report was picked up all over the country, including the New York Times: Creem, "an iconic, sardonic rock magazine with Detroit roots," was planning a comeback in September.

But not so fast. Despite a claim in the Associated Press story Tuesday that Creem founder Barry Kramer's son J.J. is involved as a director, it appears that isn't the case.

In the AP story, Creem Enterprises Inc. CEO Jason Turner said he planned to print Creem, which had a colorful, irreverent run through the '70s and early '80s with editors including Dave Marsh and Lester Bangs, as a limited edition quarterly, although he wouldn't disclose the project's investors.

What gave the project some credibility to longtime Creem watchers was that according to Turner, J.J. Kramer was involved in the project.

That confounds Kramer, an attorney now living in Columbus, Ohio.

"There was a time when that was a possibility," Kramer told The News today of any involvement by him with the Turner-led Creem revival. "That time has passed. I have no interest in being involved."

Jason Turner did not immediately return a reporter's call.

This isn't the first time Turner has announced a reboot of the magazine. The last time was in 2006, but while there is a website, the print edition never materialized.

Creem Magazine was launched out of Detroit's Cass Corridor in 1969 by the elder Kramer, a Wayne State student. Despite the affection of musicians and fans, it was sold out of bankruptcy court in 1985 and popped up as a Los Angeles-based publication before folding again.

Director Cameron Crowe, who got his start writing for Creem in the 1970s, revived interest in the defunct magazine with his 2000 movie "Almost Famous," with actor Philip Seymour Hoffman portraying Bangs, showing him in his modest Birmingham home in several scenes.

swhitall@detnews.com

(313) 222-2156

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Thanks for the update. I'd read some info on the Turner character just recently that sounded less than favorable. In lieu of a relaunching of the magazine I still think it would be cool to have a complete archiving of all of the old issues online. Of course, that would probably come at a price.

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One thing I don't miss about the magazine was the occasional but infuriating sexism. They could be really nasty and dismissive of female musicians. I was reminded of it recently when my bro bought a book compilation of Creem articles - the one w/ David Byrne on the cover. I just don't have the time or patience for that bullshit anymore. The great thing about the internet is the increased availability of all kinds of music and information - you don't need the intermediary of rock "journalists", i.e. failed musicians with crippling self-esteem issues, anymore.

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I don't remember Creem being any worse than Rolling Stone or other mags at the time...and Rolling Stone is STILL pretty sexist.

Sure, Creem had the Tart of the month(Blondie, Nancy Wilson, Bebe Buell), although occasionally it would be a guy, but you can't fault them for knowing their audience: mainly teen-age boys like me, who liked a little sex with my rock and roll.

What I remember most, though, is that Creem had more female writers than any other music mag of the time. Susan Whitall, Lisa Robinson, Patti Smith, Jaan Ulheski. And who doesn't remember Lynn Goldsmith's photographs?

Meanwhile, I can't recall a single prominent woman writer for Rolling Stone. Ben Fong-Torres, Jann Wenner, John Mendelsohn, Hunter S. Thompson, Cameron Crowe, Jim Marshall, David Fricke...those are the writers I remember from Rolling Stone. Not a woman among them.

So Creem may have been sexist with the pinups and all, but at least they allowed women to write for them, and they gave more attention to women in rock than any other magazine.

It was in Creem that I first read about the Cowsills, Patti Smith, Runaways, Blondie, Pretenders, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Girlschool, Go Gos and more.

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Creem is how I learned of the MC5, the Dead Boys, the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Wayne/Jayne County, the Ramones, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Robert Gordon (never even heard his music until I got XM), the Talking Heads, etc. In other words, much of the Detroit and CBGB's underground scene but I bought it for the Zep, Sabbath, Nugent, Alice Cooper, Frampton, Kiss, etc. content. Most of those bands didn't even get any airplay in my area even though I'd consider the local rock radio station at the time (WQDR in Raleigh) to be pretty progressive. Those artists may have gotten a bit of coverage in Rolling Stone, Circus, Rock Scene and Hit Parader but nothing like in the pages of Creem. A lot of that stuff is still not my thing but at least I was exposed to a world beyond what my local album oriented rock station had to offer.

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favorite beer?

BOY HOWDY! Always enjoyed those fake ads. I actually had a can of Boy Howdy, but it got stolen

CREEM was very rock & roll, and there's not a lot of that around anymore. I can't imagine a Creem cover featuring Jay Z, it would just feel wrong

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Boy Howdy! logo_BoyHowdy_trans.png

That reminds me...Led Zeppelin won a shitload of those Boy Howdy! Beer Can awards in the 1970's...where are they? Who has them? I'd KILL for one!

tumblr_lise978QIl1qekzpqo1_500.jpg

Another cool section of Creem besides the Letters to the Editor, Eleganza, Tart of the Month and the Monthly Calendar centerfold...STAR'S CARS!

jperry-cvette.jpg

Rockets_1980-01.jpg

The Rockets

January 1980

These Rockets are powered by the highest technology available: certifed Motor City diesel fuel. Tank capacity unlimited, this red monster rates high in carbonation and low in nitrosamines, putting the Rockets' red glare back where it belongs. Riding comfort? This dinosaur seats one in the front and five in the back, bonus bottle-opener optional. Steamlined, mainlined or pipelined, a fill-up with Stroh's guarantees a Detroit rock 'n' roll pedigree. A feisty brew for a feisty crew, yeah—but Boy Howdy it ain't!

Photo by Robert Matheu

Edited by Strider

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