Maximum RocknRoll was an off-shoot of a Berkeley punk radio show in the early 1980s, but it is in its zine form that MRR exerted its greatest influence and became as close to an institution as punk ideology allows. It was founded by Tim Yohannon in 1982 as the newsprint booklet in Not So Quiet On the Western Front, a compilation LP released on the then-Dead Kennedys’ label Alternative Tentacles. The compilation included 47 Nevada and Northern California bands.
The first issues focused on more-local bands like musical and subcultural fixtures MDC. The coverage soon expanded to the entire continent and, by issue five, cover stories included features on Brazilian and Dutch underground punk. In the ’80s, MRR was one of the very few US fanzines that insisted on the international scope of the punk movement, and strove to cover scenes around the world. Today the zine has surpassed its 300th issue, and continues to include international content and a strong political bent. As one of punk’s largest zines, its reviews sections - MRR reviews records, demos and other fanzines - is one of the most comprehensive. It also reviews books, films, and videos.
MRR has a large and dedicated all-volunteer staff. MRR reinforces the values of the punk underground by remaining independent and not-for-profit in contrast to the small number of the major media conglomerates which fund most mainstream artists. Every month, MRR publishes many submission-based band interviews. In addition, scene reports from across the globe keep the worldwide punk scene connected.
MRR has always had a policy of not giving coverage to, nor accepting advertising from, bands that record on major labels; that policy was soon extended to bands that are “produced and distributed” by or otherwise a subsidiary of a major label. For many years the magazine turned a large profit, but much of that money was “invested” into community projects, the most notable of which was probably the “Gilman Street Project”, which created 924 Gilman Street, one of the world’s most important and longest-lasting, punk rock clubs using a mostly volunteer staff (security are paid a percentage of each evenings door). MRR also directly sponsored The Epicenter Zone, a record store and show space in San Francisco. Furthermore, the zine gave thousands of dollars to other “projects” and clubs around the world.
Since Yohannan’s 1998 death, the magazine has continued to operate on essentially the same economic principles. There have been eleven different content coordinators and two distribution coordinators in that time.
Edited by [deleted user] on 1 Jul 2008, 05:45
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