You probably don’t need me to tell you who Raymond Pettibon is, but for the record, I’m talking about the legendary artist who broke out in Southern California’s early-’80s punk and hardcore scene, with his distinctively inky illustrations that graced many a show flyer and L.P. of the era. Perhaps you’d recognize the iconic Black Flag bars (Pettibon’s older brother is guitarist Greg Ginn), or the two sunglasses-wearing hipsters (based on the witnesses in a sensational 1960s British murder trial) from the oft-parodied cover of Sonic Youth’s 1990 masterpiece, Goo. Or maybe you’ve stumbled upon Pettibon’s contemporary work at such distinguished haunts as the Museum of Modern Art or David Zwirner Gallery.
In any case, here’s an exclusive first look at an original Pettibon piece that will soon appear on the first rebooted issue of Creem, the trailblazing rock-and-roll mag that’s about to come roaring back to life after 33 years:
“I don’t remember if I ever had any aspirations of making a cover for Creem, but there it is,” Pettibon tells Vanity Fair. “My thought was of the many garage bands that drew inspiration from Creem. The band depicted—two members thereof—could be from anywhere. They could be breaking big as this issue goes to print. That could be your band, on the cover of Creem.”
Founded in 1969 Detroit as an irreverent, subversive alternative to Rolling Stone, Creem championed the cool-kid music of the era, eschewing the typical boomer fare of F.M. radio for the likes of the Stooges, the MC5, Roxy Music, T. Rex, the New York Dolls, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Blondie, and others, as well as early metal acts like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper. Editors and writers included Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Robert Christgau, Patti Smith, and Dave Marsh,who is credited with introducing the term “punk rock” in a 1971 article about Question Mark & the Mysterians. The magazine survived throughout the 1980s, giving exposure to the decade’s storied new wave and alternative acts, before shutting down in 1989 following financial struggles.
Attempts to revive Creem in the ’90s and aughts were unsuccessful. But now the magazine is returning as a website and quarterly print publication under the banner of Creem Entertainment, led by chairman JJ Kramer (son of the late Creem cofounder and publisher Barry Kramer), CEO John Martin (formerly publisher of Vice), and Jaan Uhelszki (one of Creem’s original founding editors and a pioneering female rock journalist). Subscriptions to the print magazine, set to debut September 15, come with access to Creem’s complete digital archive, with all 224 issues of its original 20-year run. The relaunch comes on the heels of Creem: America’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll Magazine, a 2020 documentary that Kramer and Uhelszki coproduced for director Scott Crawford. “I view the documentary as very much the beginning, not the end,” Kramer told The New York Times ahead of the film’s theatrical and streaming premiere. “We’re all looking for something to capture our attention and our passion, so to me that feels like a really strong signal that the world might need Creem more than ever.”