Relaunched Creem To Revive Irreverent Style

When Creem relaunches on newsstands next year, the rock magazine hopes to bring back the sarcastic wit and intelligent, observant voice that Creem CEO/publisher Robert Matheu says has been lost in muc

When Creem relaunches on newsstands next year, the rock magazine hopes to bring back the sarcastic wit and intelligent, observant voice that Creem CEO/publisher Robert Matheu says has been lost in much of today's national consumer music magazines.

In an exclusive interview with, Matheu revealed details of the relaunch of Creem, which is expected to publish about 10 issues per year.

"We're probably going to get a lot of abuse," laughs Matheu when talking about bringing back the humorously irreverent attitude that Creem was known for in its heyday. "Some publicists and record company people may not like what we have to say about some artists, but those are the people who won't get what Creem is all about."

Creem has undergone several incarnations: The magazine launched in 1969, went out of business in 1988, was revived from 1990 to 1994, and then became a Internet-only publication ( in 2001. During the 1970s, the magazine was responsible for nurturing the careers of notable rock writers such as Lester Bangs and Cameron Crowe and photographers like Neal Preston and Ebet Roberts. Crowe's experiences with Bangs and Creem were featured in Crowe's Oscar-winning 2000 movie "Almost Famous."

Creem was also a pioneer in giving many artists early coverage in a U.S. national consumer magazine. Those acts include Kiss, Led Zeppelin, the Clash, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, the Stooges, Van Halen, the Ramones and Ted Nugent. Matheu was part of Creem's history as a writer and photographer, and he vows to keep the spirit of the old Creem alive in the new incarnation.

He intends for Creem to stay true to its rock roots. Pop and rap acts, such as Christina Aguilera or Jay-Z, are unlikely to make the cover of the new Creem, Matheu says. Although the magazine will feature other forms of entertainment besides music, Matheu asserts that Creem will stay as close to music as possible.

The CEO/publisher says that Creem will position itself to have a core group of readers of 18-to-24-year-olds, but that older readers drawn to the Creem name could likely be a significant part of the readership. "We're letting our readers dictate what stories will be in the magazine," adds Matheu, who says that Creem's Web site receives about 1 million hits per month.

Los Angeles-based Matheu says that it is still undetermined where the new Creem will be headquartered but he is not ruling out the possibility of bringing Creem back to Detroit, the magazine's original home base. As previously reported, Matheu has appointed journalist Brian J. Bowe (who has been a professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan) as editor in chief of the revived Creem, which is planning to have a staff of 20 to 25 people.

Matheu says the revamped Creem is seeking new writers, and that regular writers/contributors will most likely include veteran music journalists Dave DiMartino, Bill Holdship, Jeffrey Morgan and Richard Riegel. Bowe is using Creem's Web site to find and develop new talent, and Matheu says that anyone interested in writing for Creem should contact Bowe through the Web site.

Talent and compatibility will be key factors in deciding who will be part of the new Creem staff, Matheu adds. "We're getting overwhelmed with people contacting us already to work for Creem, but there may be just one out of 25 people that will get our interest. We're approaching it the same way people would approach finding the right people for a band."

Matheu laments that today's entertainment journalism has become too tightly controlled by publicists, and that journalists' access to artists has become much more restrictive than it was when Creem started. He aims for the new Creem to resist the hype that is often spoon-fed to the media by publicists, and he says that Creem will have its own voice when informing readers about artists.

Creem will bring back its famous Boy Howdy mascot/logo, but Matheu says that the relaunched magazine will not be stuck in Creem's past. "I want to answer to the collective consciousness of what Creem was all about. We're going to be contemporary but we're trying to stay away from what people think we're going to do."


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