Rock'n'Roll and photography fit like two peas in a pod: they exist together and thanks to each other. And CREEM Magazine, the legendary Rock'n'roll Magazine is celebrating this ode to art and music with its 50th-anniversary edition. Along with a documentary, CREEM will be releasing a 50th Edition Magazine as an homage to this straight out of Detroit publication and its rich history, featuring original articles and retrospectives that Rock'n'Roll aficionado will want to keep in their collections. With our Simple Use Camera and Lomo' Instant Square, LomoAmigo Julia Khoroshilov shot CREEM's eternal Rock'n'Roll spirit for that distinguished grainy and grungy look. We interviewed Boy Howdy aka J.J. Kramer, the producer of the documentary and CREEM founder Barry Kramer's son, to talk analog, Rock'n'Roll, and everything in-between!
Hello CREEM Magazine, it’s great to have you here at Lomography. First off, for our readers who aren’t versed in the Rock’n’Roll industry, can you tell us a bit about what CREEM is?
CREEM was a music magazine from Detroit. From 1969 to 1989, it was the go-to source for anyone that was into music. While Rolling Stone was covering film and politics, CREEM was covering everything from punk to heavy metal before anyone else. Always funny, always bratty, CREEM was made by die-hard music fans, for die-hard music fans. Everyone from Lester Bangs to Dave Marsh, to Robert Christgau wrote there, and it really put music journalism on the map.
On the eve of CREEM’s 50th birthday, what are some of the most notable moments of the magazine’s history?
CREEM is widely credited with being the first publication to use the phrase “punk rock,” which is pretty great. A lot of pioneering, female rock journalists came through CREEM’s doors which is a very cool element of the magazine’s history that doesn’t get enough attention. Jaan Uhelszki, Lisa Robinson, Susan Whitall, even Patti Smith wrote there.
Without any spoilers or divulging too much, what can we expect of the upcoming limited edition issue?
The limited-edition issue is a compilation of the best of the best from CREEM’s 20-year print run. There’s going to be a bit of everything that people remember CREEM for -- the raw, in-depth profiles, hilarious record reviews, the iconic features like CREEM’s Profiles, and a lot of your favorite rock stars. There are articles written by all the heavy hitters. Great photos too! It’s really a collector’s item. A collection of CREEM’s greatest hits.
Do you have a favorite CREEM Magazine cover or issue?
There are so many great covers, but I’ve always loved the Das Hip Kapital cover. It’s so cool and tongue-in-cheek.
What role did photography have in CREEM Magazine during its golden age of the seventies and eighties?
Photography played a HUGE role in CREEM Magazine, and everyone you can think of shot for CREEM. Mick Rock, Bob Gruen, Lynn Goldsmith, Chris Stein. The CREEM DREEM and Stars Cars features poked fun at the whole centerfold, pin-up concept, and some really amazing, iconic images came out of that. Debbie Harry shot by Chris Stein on the zebra backdrop. That stuff is so classic. A lot of people describe CREEM as being their window to another world when they were growing up. The images of these classic rock stars were a huge part of that.
As Lomography actively works to keep analog alive and running, so does CREEM by keeping its archives open, and honoring the magazine’s history with the documentary. Why do you think it’s important to keep those historical landmarks alive?
I think there’s so much about the imagery and the music and the attitude of that time that is still very inspiring to people. If someone can look to those touchstones and be inspired to make something new, that’s a beautiful thing. It’s the same with keeping the analog process alive the way Lomography does. There’s something to that, that will always be exciting to someone! It’s a way of doing things with soul that I think is important to never lose.
What do you see happening in the next few years for CREEM Magazine?
CREEM has a very loyal, very enthusiastic fan base that we love and we really enjoy putting out things (limited-edition merch, the magazine, etc.) that get them excited. That being said, I’m fired up to introduce CREEM to people who might not be as familiar with it and get them tuned-in to the culture around it.
CREEM Magazine has witnessed so many historical Rock’n’Roll moments. Do you have any advice for someone looking to be part of the Rock’n’Roll movement today?
Rock ‘n’ roll is about community and human connection. In the digital age, we’ve really lost some of that. I would say, that anyone that's looking to be a part of the rock 'n' roll movement today, get together, do something, get connected. It’s an exchange of energy, that connection over loving the same thing. It’s what starts bands, it’s what sells tickets, it’s what keeps people searching for new music. That moment of connection. Rock ‘n’ roll is church.