Creem Overview – Creem Magazine / Boy Howdy

Creem was based in Detroit, Michigan, and later the Detroit suburb of Birmingham. This geographical separation from 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. Its location also meant it 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. 

Creem picked up on punk rock (which many claim the magazine, and especially Bangs, helped to conceptualize if not invent) and New Wave movements early on. Creem gave massive exposure to artists like Lou Reed, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Blondie and The New York Dolls years before the mainstream press. In the 1980s, it also led the pack on coverage of such upcoming rock icons as R.E.M., The Replacements, The Smiths and The Cure, among numerous others. It was also among the first to sing the praises of metal acts like Motörhead, Kiss, Judas Priest, and Van Halen. Kurt Cobain once stated to RIP Magazine that he had first learned about punk rock from reading Creem as an adolescent.

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