KISS Invade Toronto, by Ken Steacy

Cheap Thrills

by BK Munn

Cheap Thrills magazine began life in 1975 as a free monthly, produced in Toronto, and published and distributed by CPI (Concerts Promotions International) through independent and chain record stores in Ontario. CPI was the main local promoter for touring stadium rock acts, run by two infamous characters: Bill Ballard (son of Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard) and Michael Cohl (later to be the Rolling Stones’ main promoter, among many other things). The magazine was edited by writer Jeffrey Morgan (Creem, Rolling Stone) and started out sort of looking like the original Rolling Stone, a folded-over tabloid newspaper, until morphing into a regular magazine format, although one with newsprint covers.

Early issues of the magazine are chock-full of great concert reviews, ads for major label releases and audio gear, some local music scene updates, and unique interviews and features with big performers like Bob Marley, Lou Reed, Rush, KISS, and many more. There are also some features comics folks might be interested in: ads for stores like Silver Snail and Bakka Books, notices about conventions, and a few actual comics strips. As far as I can tell, most of the comics content was created by Dean Motter (who worked as an art director for the mag), Ken Steacy, and Derek Carter (who drew the strip “CKDD”, about a pirate radio station). The magazine has a bit of an Underground feel even though it mostly promoted huge rock stars.

Check it out: