Creem (which is always capitalized in print as ‘CREEM’ despite the magazine’s nameplate appearing in mostly lower case letters), “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine”, was a monthly rock ‘n’ roll publication first published in March 1969 by Barry Kramer and founding editor Tony Reay. It suspended production in 1989 but attained a short-lived renaissance in the early 1990s as a glossy tabloid. Lester Bangs, often cited as “America’s Greatest Rock Critic”, became editor in 1971. The term “punk rock” was coined in May 1971, in Dave Marsh’s Looney Tunes CREEM column about Question Mark & the Mysterians.
CREEM picked up on punk rock (which many claim the magazine helped to conceptualize, if not invent) and new wave movements early on. CREEM gave massive exposure to artists like Lou Reed, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Blondie, and The New York Dolls years before the mainstream press. In the 1980s, it also led the pack on coverage of such upcoming rock icons as R.E.M., The Replacements, The Smiths, The Go-Go’s and The Cure, among numerous others. It was also among the first to sing the praises of metal acts like Motörhead, Kiss, Judas Priest, and Van Halen.
Melvins guitarist Roger “Buzz” Osborne taught Kurt Cobain about punk by loaning him records and old copies of CREEM.
Alice Cooper referenced the magazine in his song “Detroit City” – “But the Riff kept a Rockin’, the Creem kept a-talkin’, and the streets still smokin’ today”. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth said: “Having a certain sense of humor in the rock’n’roll culture – CREEM nailed it in a way that nobody else was. It informed a lot of people’s sensibilities.”