Creem magazine honored with commemorative sign in Birmingham
The city of Birmingham honored its rock ‘n’ roll roots Thursday by unveiling a banner to commemorate the former offices of Creem magazine at 187 S. Old Woodward.
The rock magazine was founded in Detroit’s Cass Corridor, but had offices in Birmingham during its heyday from 1973-1986.
Former Creem editor Susan Whitall — who left the magazine in 1983 to write for The Detroit News, where she is today — attended the banner reveal ceremony Thursday with Creem’s founding art director, Charlie Auringer, photographer Tom Weschler and others. They took photos in front of the site with a cutout of the late rock critic Lester Bangs, who was Creem editor in the early 1970s.
Whitall said she and the other staffers would spend late nights on deadline at the Birmingham office preparing to publish the magazine, which at the time was called “America’s Only Rock and Roll Magazine.”
“It was a culture clash,” she said. “Nobody knew we were there except the cops; there was no sign out front.”
Whitall, who started at Creem in 1975, remembers meeting members of the MC5 and other rockers who would hang around the Birmingham office.
“One time Ian Hunter was sleeping on the couch waiting for Lester (Bangs),” she said. “Mitch Ryder was there a lot; our publisher, Barry Kramer, managed him.”
The Creem banner coincides with the Birmingham Historical Museum’s current Creem exhibit, which features issues, photos, documents and memorabilia donated by Auringer.