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THE ABRACADABRA OF ABBA

Gushing with enthusiastic naivete, here come those sibilant Swedes again, blanketing the globe with the affectionate harmonies of polar sirens! With the abracadabra of inventive wizards, Abba has hatched a presence that has been felt and absorbed on practically every inch of foreign soil. And the uproar continues.

Abba believes in ancient visions of American teenagehood; they romanticize infatuation and stolen kisses... and, like their Spector-born predecessors, they possess the big voices and the big production know-how required to promote their fantasies and win audiences. Abba’s innocence, in fact, was never more conspicuous than during their appearance on Saturday Night and Wonderama. The artificiality of Frieda and Anna’s go-go boots and miniskirts looked bonkers compared to the cast’s usual routines.

In contrast, Abba’s Sunday morning stint on Wonderama (New York’s Kiddie Club) was a sugar coated delight of pre-pube choreography (gyrating forth the gummy bubble fans of the Wombles and Hudson Brothers with host Bob McAllister oohing and aahing at the female Abbas’ leggies). The difference here being that Abba survives only as alien rock ‘n’ roll force, contained in a time warp, rippling through the seventies.

Abba's Arrival album front and back covers



WILL THE REAL EDDIE HASKELL PLEASE STAND UP?

Alice Cooper  Billion Dollar Babies Babies On Fire Circus World

Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies

"One of these days somebody's gonna have enough guts to take a machine gun and fire into all the sicko creeps we got running loose in this fine nation of ours. You bet, ratatat kapowee, and that'll be the end of 'em, buster."
– Sgt. Carter

ZOUNDS!! HERE'S a new group that'll blow ya right into the stratosphere with their kooky costumes and really weird psychedelic music. Imagine a band that plays with babies like they were handling silly putty and designing an album in the shape of a wallet. Isn't that too much, groovers?!

Like, deejays and flashy rock critics and promo men across the country are getting hip to the pulsating vibrations of this rather kinky new group. Not to mention the flood of press raves which usually tend to read something like this:

Clear the air – Alice Cooper has arrived!! With just two hit singles under their belts – ‘School's Out’ and ‘I'm Eighteen’ – they're already sweeping teens off their feet in every major country. And with the immediate release of their latest elpee, they're bound to eventually conquer the Universe!



BAPTIZED BY TONY JOE WHITE

Tony Joe White album cover for The Train I'm On front and back


DOWNHOME MUSIC is where it's at. Clarence Carter. J.J. Cale. Tom T. Hall. They all sound laid back to me, and they are artists who can be extremely addictive.

Like immersion baptisms. See, someone ducks your head underwater and the water gets up your nozzle and you try to get out of it but the preacher won't let you so you give in and eventually you are drowning for your sins. But you come back for more. You steal an automobile and you're right back there next Sunday afternoon standing with the rest of the congregation on the banks of Honey's Pond. You are there because it has become a home for you – you feel secure in the hands of the Lord.

Tony Joe White would know what I'm talking about. All his songs sound the same. But when you hear that gruff voice of his pouring out of the radio talking 'bout the gator gettin' your granny you kind of slide back and scratch your stomach and your eyelids go ping! Tony Joe White has that much power.





THE PLEASURES OF THE RIFF IN THE 1970s

 

Rick Derringer: Sweet Evil

Rick Derringer Sweet Evil album cover

Know absolutely zero zilch about this Rick Derringer cat 'cept the basic facts, mac – like he was once in the McCoys (Rick's been told much too often that he was the Real McCoy), moved on to sharing the spotlight with the Albino Twins and finally got the gumption to get his own ego in fancy neon (even teamed up with Brillo Queen Cynthia Weil, so what), and that's the History of Li'l Rick D. (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About This Boy). So don't wanna be pushy here, y'understand, cause this ain't no pitch to hype ya to the Auto John, but, franko, this mama mia is one spicy meatball. A plus plus, for dazzling stars, give it a bullet and you can dance to it too.

Listen, man, I been riding the bus to oblivion, watching androids eat their thumbs, can't stand this dismal pace, vegetating in a lethargic trance, until suddenly a screeching comes across the sky...ZZZZZZRRRRRRRRR...come on do the jerk, get outa that slump, fluffhead, get right with Derringer! Keep away from those rock mastodons muzzled by mercenary appetites; they only turn their listeners into lampshades. Derringer weakens your will to resist by sucking you into the Pleasures of the Riff.



WHEN ROCK WRITERS RULED THE EARTH

Creem magazine cover Tom Petty The Police Blondie

JASON GROSS of POP MATTERS recently asked me what advice I would give to a young writer wanting to make it big in the rock-crit biz. I thought about it, and here's what I said--

ROBERT HULL (writer, sharing his musings regularly at POPKRAZY, an online hangout for brain-damaged popcult fanatics)

When I was 18, I was getting published by Creem because Lester Bangs liked the fact that I was so prolific (I had sent him about 50 record reviews, each one single-spaced on a letter-sized page).

These days, the best way to appear prolific is to blog yourself to death on your own site. I honestly don’t know what music journalism is anymore. There is so much content available that to try to break through the mess seems daunting.

Nevertheless, I would attach myself to several blogs/sites, then write in a unique style, be serious but funny (and genuine), and try not to imitate anybody.

[Any young (or old) up-and-coming neer-do-well is welcome to blog at my site called POPKRAZY. Just as Creem and Lester gave me a chance, I’d be honored to do the same. (POPKRAZY is a nonprofit zine/site focused on all aspects of pop culture from the days of yore.)]

But whatever you do, WRITE. Don’t just talk about writing. Let it loose!



MAGAZINES that ROCK (part one)

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WHAT'S THE BEST ROCK MAGAZINE OF ALL TIME?

Blondie on the cover of Creem magazine

Captain Beefheart on the cover of MOJO magazine