Friday, November 30, 2007

Detroit Hack City: Boy Howdy Should Be on the Side of a Milk Carton

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Detroit and its music history, especially Creem magazine. Once upon a time, I had an option to buy the IP rights from Arnold Levitt, who had bought them from the estate of founder Barry Kramer. I couldn't get financing and let the option lapse, which ultimately allowed fringe freelance photographer Robert Matheu to do a deal with Levitt to start a poor web-only representation of what was a legendary magazine and Detroit institution. Of course, Matheu's taken the Creem legacy nowhere (which is why I won't link there), and apparently screwed other people who care about it, most notably Barry Kramer's son, J.J. Now, Matheu's written his version of the Creem story, which some friends of mine who I respect -- and Creem notables -- like Dave Marsh and Sue Whitall and Connie Kramer have called bogus. Even if I didn't believe them -- which I do -- I personally know enough of Creem's history to agree with their positions.

So, do not buy Matheu's book. Seriously. Promise me.

Then wish and hope and pray that the real Creem principals will someday lay down their arms, tone down their egos, bury their mutual grudges and get together to write The Creem History the cries out to be written. Hell, Cameron Crowe will do the movie. See, if there's one cautionary tale to come out of this unfortunate train wreck of personalities, it's that Detroiters in the music scene regard it as a zero-sum game; I can't get over unless I take you down. As if there isn't enough for all of us. There's no rising tide lifting all boats mentality around The D, I tells ya.

Back when I was looking for money to re-start Creem (think the original Creem, plus Mojo meeting Spy), I got blowback from some Creem alums suggesting I was an interloping dilettante, and who was I to invite myself into the Creem fraternity? It's similar to the carping about Matheu's book. Hey, guys, if you have the true story to tell, and want to smack down Matheu, go write your story -- the true story. Pretty please? It's not like there aren't any qualified writers involved in this sad, unfortunate nightmare.

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