A new publishing team is gearing up to bring the iconic rock magazine Creem back to newsstands this fall, according to a recent interview in the Associated Press. Those involved with the reboot state that the Internet media revolution has left music fans desiring “something real’’. “We just feel the timing is now,’’ Jason Turner, board chairman of Creem Enterprises Inc., told the AP. “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.”
As many Crawdaddy! readers will probably already know, Creem was born in 1969 and rose to greatness in the ’70s under the iconoclastic leadership of editor/critic Lester Bangs. Through the no-holds-barred vision of Bangs and Dave Marsh, the magazine gained notoriety not only for its passionate, in-depth, and often humorous coverage of monumental rock talents before any mainstream outlets took note, but also for developing a stable of some of the greatest rock journalists ever to wield the word, including Greil Marcus, Robert Chrtistgau, Richard Meltzer and Patti Smith. There was also of course some contribution by a bright young lad by the name Cameron Crowe. The original magazine ceased publication in 1989.
Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical Y2K hit movie “Almost Famous” sparked a brief revival of interest in the rich lore of Creem, prompting organizers to erect an online edition of Creem in 2001. However, for the generation that has taken root in the online spectrum that’s developed since then (Spinner, Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc), the Creem brand hasn’t exactly been a major player. For the old magazine’s new organizers to imagine that a print edition would feel somehow “realer” to today’s young music fans seems to ignore the fact that the Internet is the “realest” thing going, especially with other longstanding print publications shuttering left and right. Couple this with the fact that the style of writing for which Pitchfork is often lambasted is essentially a derivative of the sarcastic personality of Creem, and you’ve got holes in the notion that today’s far-flung music spectrum truly lacks a “filter.”
“Everyone asks us, ‘Who is your Lester Bangs?’’’ Turner told the AP. “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.” That may be true, although it doesn’t bode well for the idea of truly differentiating Creem from the rest of today’s herd, given that its “users” are also inevitably users of the competition. As the Creem team has been loath to answer questions about its funding, it bears recognition that their apparent strategy of crowd-sourcing could potentially be one of financial benefit as well, as “users” will often have a different standard of compensation than, say, seasoned, professional journalists.
The print magazine, which they hope to have out by late September, is reported to be limited to 150,000 to 200,000 copies, will feature long-form articles, and is intended to appeal to readers that still remember the days when print magazines were the dominant format for the consumption of music journalism. Their online presence, meanwhile, is intended “to bring that demographic down and bring it back to that music culture we feel is missing or diluted,’’ says Turner. The editorial staff will be based in LA, the business group will be in New York, and its web operations will be housed in Creem‘s original home city of Detroit, where they hope to sponsor the occasional rock show and possibly open a museum to “honor Creem’s lineage.”"