lead photo for STACKEDD (c) MDL, photos CREEM (c) CREEM Magazine
Just the Tip: A letter from our Editrix
The idea behind our Spring issue was born of a used bookstore trip when I came across a hardback copy of the Creem anthology. Upon purchase, I swung next door to Easy Street Records where I settled into a booth and devoured its contents. A lifelong lover of music journalism, I had heard Creem spoken about in revered tones by contemporary journalists, but as it ceased publication in 1988, I’d never held a copy in my hot hands.
Creem is probably most familiar to masses as the home of Lester Bangs and it was immortalized, of course, in Almost Famous. Its place in Pop Culture is cemented. As an indie zine that features our city’s scene that has a title with sexy continuations and takes all sorts of liberties with the English language, it would be hard to deny their influence. I hear there is a documentary on the Mag in the works, and it will be interesting to see how the folx involved with the publication who are still alive reflect upon it because, man- the more things change the more they stay the same.
If you pick up the anthology, you will be immediately taken aback by the era’s blatant misogyny. One need only look at the magazine’s covers to see this was a publication mostly created by and sold to white men. Occasionally, women appear on the cover- often as ornamentation. When they appear solo they are most likely to be Debbie Harry. Men of color only fair slightly better and when they appear they are most often Prince. In my research, I couldn’t find a cover that featured a woman of color. “Fag” is thrown around as a descriptor and jokes about how great it would be to fuck a 15-year-old groupie abound. Creem’s “by white boners, for white boners” mentality also extended to its iconic artwork and photography which set the modern standard for music journalism. And then I thought, “Wow, wouldn’t it be super fun to let our contributors play around with those moldy oldie rock tropes.”
When I came across this photo of Martin Mull, Brett Hamil sprang to mind. Not only is he similar in physicality but also poised, much as Mull was at this point in his career, to move up a major notch on the fame ladder.
With so much talent in Seattle right now, finding the embodiments of these classic images was simply delightful and I soon found my book littered with post-its marked with the names of local lovelies followed by a question mark. Thankfully I was able to book everyone on my far out, wish list for the photo recreations which were captured by Tina Ballew.
For our Spring Arts Section, it made sense to go with Creem’s Profiles- a series of candid shots with the subjects centered around Creem’s “Boy Howdy!” beer, accompanied by a simple, yet telling, questionnaire.
Pulling this off required a team effort.
Katie Wheeler first came up with our ‘Hey Girl!’ logo, a spin on Creem’s much-identified mascot created for the Mag by the legendary R.Crumb.
Then I created 36 cans of “Hey Girl!” beer with spray paint, razorblades, Sharpies, translucent labels and PILES of glorious, Sativa-heavy, weed.
We also had to round up the photos of Seattle’s coolest artists, the vast majority of which were taken by Tori Dickson.
Tina shot the cans. I laid out our spoof on the “Boy Howdy!” ad copy and then…
BOOM! A most excellent parody profile full of folx we love.
Illustration also was key to the CREEM esthetic. It wasn’t at all hard to “make the local connection” when we can across this gem, which accompanied Lester Bang’s piece on a post-Beatles’ era Paul McCartney. Colleen Barry gave us this depiction of “Big Mac”.
Colleen also took on this classic cover from R.Crumb and gender-flipped it, so it now begs the question- “Who’s Spoogin’ Who?”
We had a great time making this issue. Please, enjoy!