The history of Creem, the legendary Detroit music magazine that focused on the outer fringes of rock and took pleasure in knocking artists off their pedestal, will be the subject of an upcoming crowdfunded documentary. Titled Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, the film’s Kickstarter page launched Wednesday, with Rolling Stone exclusively premiering the teaser trailer for the upcoming doc.
Barry Kramer first founded and published Creem in 1969, with his son J.J. producing the documentary alongside New Rose Films. Boy Howdy covers the magazine’s irrepressible, chaotic history – including its employment of rock critic legends like Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Dave Marsh and many more – up through Barry Kramer’s death in 1981.
“This is a story that I’ve wanted to tell my entire life,” J.J. Kramer said in a statement. “Creem is more than a magazine; it’s a living reminder of my father. This film is the perfect way to preserve the legacy that he, and the Creem community, created.”
Scott Crawford, the director of Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington DC, has been recruited to helm Boy Howdy. “Scott is a talented storyteller and a champion of independent culture,” Kramer added. “The early days at Creem were lightning in a bottle: the right people, the right place, the right time. I can’t think of anyone better to tell the story of the merry band of misfits from Detroit who got together, took no prisoners, and forever changed rock & roll journalism.”
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In addition to archival footage from the Kramer estate, Boy Howdy also features interviews with Michael Stipe, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, MC5’s Wayne Kramer, John Varvatos and Creem staffers like Jaan Uhelszki and Susan Whitall. “They were interested in music that was more far out,” Thurston Moore says of Creem in the trailer. “For me, Lester Bangs and the other writers in Creem, I equated their names with the names of the musicians I liked.”
“We were a fan mag gone amok,” Uhelszki said in a statement. “This is a film that will go a long way in defining what made Creem so extraordinary and so mad.”
The Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem Kickstarter launched Wednesday with a goal of $100,000 to complete the documentary. The project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by August 5th. Among the swag being offered for backers include reproductions of classic Creem shirts and other ephemera, your name in the credits and, for one pledger of $9,500 or more, a rare Fender Wayne Kramer Edition guitar plus tickets to the documentary’s Detroit premiere. Get all the pledge reward details at the film’s Kickstarter.
If the film exceeds its goal of $100,000, Crawford and the producers have laid out a few “stretch goals,” meaning the more money they raise on Kickstarter, the more Creem writers and photographers they’ll interview for the film.