Creem had it all. To fully appreciate this magazine, you also had to read it cover to cover. Sometimes you'd find the best stuff in the magazine in places like the letters section or the photo captions (which to this day remain some of the funniest ever). Creem even used to run these fake liquor ads modeled after the whiskey manufacturer Dewar's Profiles, where a rock star celebrity would champion their "Boy Howdy" beer. It was just priceless stuff.
Creem also had some great writers like Robot A. Hull and Lisa Robinson. None of these however were better than the late, great Lester Bangs. Bangs was one of those writers who seemed to write best in a sort of gonzo style seemingly born of little sleep, and fueled by what had to be a potent pharmaceutical concoction.
In Bangs prose, absolutely nothing was off-limits, including — and perhaps especially — the sacred cows of rock and roll. He once deemed Mick Jagger a "fake moneybags revolutionary," praised the "honesty" of then perceived lightweights the Guess Who, and wrote a review on the Troggs with the provocactive title of "James Taylor Marked For Death." His interviews in Creem with Lou Reed, which were more like aggro-fueled confrontations, are absolutely legendary. As a result, I instantly fell in love with this guy's writing. Bangs was proof positive that possibly the only thing as cool as actually being a rock star, was writing about them.
Of course, like most people who end up writing about rock and roll, I had to first try my hand at playing it. What they say about most rock critics being frustrated rock stars is unfortunately absolutely true. So I first tried being the singer in a rock and roll band. Although I could carry a tune, what I soon figured out was that all the long hair, crushed velvet jackets, and platform heels in the world, couldn't mask the fact that I just was not "rock star" material. Okay, so I sucked. You can sue me for it later.
So instead I started writing about it. The first thing I did was practice my ass off in my parents' basement by writing and drawing my own little rock magazine. From there, I moved on to the high school newspaper, where my column "Rock Talk" became something of a hit at school. There was an undeniable feeling of power walking down the halls at my high school, and getting the acknowledging shouts of "Hey, Rock Talk! When's the next big concert?," as I passed by.
It was also during this time that I would hang out in the hotel lobbys where visiting rock stars stayed, hoping to get an interview. I actually got lucky a few times, scoring a sit-down once with T. Rex's Marc Bolan, and partying with the likes of Uriah Heep and Rod Stewart and The Faces.