America’s only rock ‘n’ roll magazine was founded in 1969 by Wayne State student Barry Kramer and Brit Tony Reray in a defeated building in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. Early contributions from legendary writers such as Lester Bangs and Dave Marsh helped to capture the high-energy sound of Detroit’s streets while simultaneously bringing a much-needed (and literate) sense of humor into rock ‘n’ roll. Think of CREEM as an art project gone awry, with all the beer-spurting frolic of a Stooges or Alice Cooper front-row circa early ’70s — when rock ‘n’ roll could mess you up.
CREEM magazine stood at the forefront of youth counterculture from 1969 to 1988 as “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine.” A product of Detroit’s revolutionary counterculture, CREEM cultivated an incredibly gifted staff of iconoclastic scribes, editors, photographers, and graphic artists whose work continues to resonate today, including: Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, Richard Meltzer, Nick Tosches, and a not-so-famous Cameron Crowe.
After a gnarly break-in, and the general down-the-toilet vibes of the Cass Corridor — and just after the arrival of Lester Bangs often cited as “America’s Greatest Rock Critic,” became editor in 1971. The term “punk rock” was coined by the magazine in May 1971 in Dave Marsh’s Looney Tunes column about Question Mark & the Mysterians. The same issue introduced “heavy metal” as the name of a genre in a review of Sir Lord Baltimore by “Metal” Mike Saunders. CREEM moved in 1971 to a bigger space in the burbs on 120 acres out in Walled Lake. CREEM rode out its glory days in Birmingham before its final move to L.A. in the ’80s.