Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism? Pt. II

This trashiness was linked to Detroit. In their March 1970 editorial “The Michigan Scene Today,” Barry Kramer, “Deday” LaRene, and Dave Marsh wrote: “It was rock and roll music which first drew us out of our intellectual covens and suburban shells” because “life in Detroit is profoundly anti-intellectual” since its “institutions are industrial and businesslike.” This setting, according to the editorial, gave birth to a … Continue reading Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism? Pt. II

Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism?

“The writers [Creem] propelled to stardom — Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, and Nick Tosches being three of the most celebrated — explored rock with a bombast that was smart but anti-intellectual, ‘amateurist and faux lowbrow,’ positioning themselves between the studious class of New York writers and the deference that came out of San Francisco.” “If Goldstein represented the quandary of what critical practise should be … Continue reading Was Creem a Bastion of Anti-intellectualism?

Critical Collage: Rush vs. the Critics

A by no means comprehensive or conclusive survey of a Canadian power trio who once upon a time (much less so now) got under the skins of more rock critics than any other rock or pop artist going.

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Creem, June 1981

“For the record, those three are drummer Neil Peart, who writes all the band’s lyrics and takes fewer solos than might be expected; guitarist Alex Lifeson, whose mile-a-minute buzzing is more numbing than exciting; and bassist, keyboardist and singer Geddy Lee, whose amazingly high-pitched wailing often sounds like Mr. Bill singing heavy metal. If only Mr. Sluggo had been on hand to give these guys a couple good whacks…”
Steve Pond, review of Rush live in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone, 1980

Geddy Lee’s high-register vocal style has always been a signature of the band – and sometimes a focal point for criticism, especially during the early years of Rush’s career when Lee’s vocals were high-pitched, with a strong likeness to other singers like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. A review in the New York Times opined that Lee’s voice ‘suggests a munchkin giving a sermon.’ Although his voice has softened over the years, it is often described as a ‘wail.’ His instrumental abilities, on the other hand, are rarely criticized.
Wikipedia entry on Rush

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Mark Coleman and Ernesto Lechner, The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, 2004

Continue reading “Critical Collage: Rush vs. the Critics”

Nina Hagen vs. Journey

But I hedged my bet right from the beginning too, and kept my day job at the welfare department all the way through, as I was a family man and it provided regular income and medical coverage, etc. That job also gave me another kind of coverage, as a rock critic, as since my writing didn’t furnish my primary income, I could be very choosy … Continue reading Nina Hagen vs. Journey

Disco Bubblegum

“There are many substantial reasons for linking disco with bubblegum; the comparisons, endless. Like [Kasenetz and Katz]‘s clapping sound, Euro- and pop-disco are essentially mediums for a producer’s special sound, whereas the performer’s role remains secondary. Disco combines a constant beat with simple lyrics; like bubblegum’s skip-a-rope dynamics, its function is strictly to provide rhythms for people entangles in the exercise of dance. Furthermore, many … Continue reading Disco Bubblegum

Creem Magazine Review (YouTube)

Less a review, than a tribute, but not bad (there’s no info I can see about who made the thing). There are a couple minor factual quibbles, and it’s a little odd that he quotes stuff from Christgau and Marsh that have no connection to Creem. But a couple lines in it made me laugh (“these were some dead honest, music-lovin’ motherfuckers”), and I learned … Continue reading Creem Magazine Review (YouTube)

Carola Dibbell on Fiction and Music Writing

An interview with Carola Dibbell at Black Clock: BLACK CLOCK: You wrote rock criticism on and off for thirty years and have spoken before about the leakage between fiction and music writing. Can you explain what you mean by that? What role has music played in your fiction? CAROLA DIBBELL: In the early seventies, I was surprised and impressed by the rock writing in Dave … Continue reading Carola Dibbell on Fiction and Music Writing