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CREEM: AMERICA'S ONLY ROCK 'N ROLL MAGAZINE (2020) Documentary on the famed magazine (1 Viewer)


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Sep 2, 2019
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CREEM: AMERICA'S ONLY ROCK 'N ROLL MAGAZINE (2020): Creem was always like Rolling Stone magazine's snotty bratty little brother. Scott Crawford's documentary is a bit like that as well - quick and cheep. Only 75 minutes long it gets the story told (HBO's Rolling Stone: Stories From The Edge doc was 360 minutes long by comparison). Rolling Stone strained to be legit, Creem was sex, drugs and louder, faster rock.

Creem lasted for 20 years on the newsstands, but the Doc basically concentrates on the first third of that history. Many of the surviving members of the staff are on hand to be interviewed and tell stories. There is a bit of actual footage from the period (much of it captured on grainy videotape), but the talking heads, magazine scans and vintage photos carry the load here.

What really emerges is a portrait of three men: Publisher and founder Barry Kramer, editor Dave Marsh and bad boy critic Lester Bangs. In true rock 'n roll fashion, Kramer and Bangs both crashed and burned before they hit 40 (Bangs was only 33). The other heartbeat of Creem was that it was from Detroit, and not L.A. or NYC. Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the MC5 and Motown gave it a 'middle of the country' soul. The original Creem office was in a nasty part of the inner city, which makes the two years at a virtual commune far outside the metropolis seem even more of an oddity.

Crawford's Doc can't escape the feel of a Boy Howdy! production with half the Creem employees and Kramer's family producing it*. Still, the friends and family don't skimp on the dirty laundry. Even in their 60s and 70s, the staff still has the attitude - much like the magazine they helped bring about.

* Boy Howdy! was the defacto logo for the magazine much like Alfred E. Neuman for Mad - they even touted a faux beer with the label!

This CREEM documentary is currently available to stream on Kanopy (free with a library card!). It's also available to rent on Amazon Prime and Apple iTunes. It's also on DVD.


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