Maximum Rocknroll Issue #1
Maximum rocknroll is a widely distributed, monthly not-for-profit fanzine based in San Francisco, USA. It features interviews, columns, and reviews from international contributors. Along with HeartattaCk and Punk Planet—who ceased publishing in 2006 and 2007 respectively—Maximum RocknRoll is considered by many to be one of the most important presences in punk, not only because of its wide-ranging coverage, but because it has been a constant and ideologically influential presence in the ever-changing punk community for three decades.
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 Yohannan 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 evening's 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.
Over its years of publishing, MRR has featured a number of prominent writers, musicians, and personalities as columnists, such as Mykel Board, Jeff Bale, Chris Bickel, Jennifer Blowdryer, Anonymous Boy, Mike Bullshit, Eugene Chadbourne, Felix Havoc, Larry Livermore, Kent McClard, Nick Pell, Jack Rabid, Ben Weasel, Matt Wobensmith, Wells Tipley, George Tabb, Jen Angel, and editor Tim Yohannan. Its pages have served as the springboard for a wide variety of artists like Ted Rall and Dan Henk.
The fact that MRR has become so large has not been without controversy; the zine has many critics on a number of issues. Editorial policy has sometimes been accused as narrow-minded or even elitist, causing some labels to boycott advertising in the zine or sending releases for review. The fact that punk is often considered as a movement opposed to authority and large institutions (see punk ideology) has also been an argument used to criticize the zine, which has sometimes been referred to as the 'Bible' of punk. This criticism spawned the creation of Punk Planet and HeartattaCk.
Musicians have also spoken out against the magazine. Jello Biafra claimed the magazine's criticism of him inspired people to assault him at a 1994 performance at 924 Gilman Street, though his assailants were not known to be affiliated with MRR in any way. He also claimed that their narrow definition of punk music amounts to a new form of political correctness. According to Biafra, "If 'Holiday in Cambodia' were released today, it would be banned from Maximum Rock N'Roll for not sounding punk." Jared Swilley, bassist in Atlanta punk band Black Lips, has criticized the magazine saying in an interview with Clash that it is the "most bullshit piece of fuck garbage poor excuse for a magazine ever. They’re like: ‘Oh, we want to keep everything ‘authentic’…’ And I’m like, fuck them! Don’t use a computer, don’t use a car, don’t drink Coca-Cola. Move to a field, grow your own food." The song "MRR" by Fifteen criticizes Maximumrocknroll for petty articles and reviews and being "Big Brother's little brother". 
- ^ Bad Subjects: Interview with Jello Biafra
- ^ http://www.clashmusic.com/feature/black-lips
- ^ http://www.skatedork.org/fifteen/releases/hush.htm
- maximumrocknroll.com - official website, includes the online version of MRR Radio.
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