Creem Entertainment has announced a raft of new hires, led by former VICE publisher John Martin as CEO, the company tells Billboard. Additionally, BMG Cypress Ascendant Holdings — a partnership between music manager Tautua Reed, former music executive/agent Paul Coyne and investment fund Cypress Ascendant led by businessman Bill Trzos – have come on as investors in the venture.
In his new role, Martin will work alongside Creem Entertainment chairman JJ Kramer — son of Creem magazine’s co-founder and publisher Barry Kramer — as well as the magazine’s original editor Jaan Uhelszki.
Martin worked in senior leadership roles at VICE Media for 18 years, starting in sales and events before working his way up to publisher. While at the company, he co-founded Munchies, a food and drink joint venture with Bertelsmann subsidiary FremantleMedia.
Elsewhere, Creem brought on Amy Schriefer as vp of marketing, Fred Pessaro as vp of content, Dan Morrissey as executive editor, Maria Sherman as senior editor, Matt Salacuse as photography director and Dave Carnie as editor at large.
Schriefer has over 15 years of experience in creative leadership at VICE, NPR Music and Smithsonian Folkways; Pessaro boasts over a decade of editorial and production experience at publications including VICE’s Noisey, Townsquare Media, Revolver and BrooklynVegan; Morrissey comes from 20 years at Entertainment Weekly; Sherman has held editorial roles at Netflix, Buzzfeed, Jezebel and TrackRecord; Salacuse has contributed to Esquire, XXL and The Fader; and Carnie is the former editor-in-chief of skateboarding magazine Big Brother.
The new hires follow the 2020 documentary Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine, which charts the history of the iconic magazine from its 1969 launch through the death of Barry Kramer in 1981.
“Creem was always the most iconic American brand of my rock n roll infused memories,” Martin said in a statement. “After seeing the documentary and meeting JJ, I knew there was a huge opportunity to bring the company back for the modern era. In 2022 the pendulum is swinging and the vibe shift is real: young people and music fans of all ages want some cathartic release, to laugh and have fun again, and not take themselves too seriously. That’s Creem, and that’s rock n roll – a cruel temptress I found impossible to resist.”
Creem Entertainment is described in a press release as “the modern-day devil spawn of Detroit’s legendary CREEM Magazine” that promises to “deliver the best in editorial, original programming, merchandise, subscription products, and experiences to rock ‘n’ roll fans of all ages.”
Creem magazine ended its run in 1988 before returning briefly to print in the 1990s. Two other planned revivals, announced in 2003 and 2011, fizzled out due to financial problems and disputes over the company’s ownership.
Future plans for the brand will be announced soon.