SAN FRANCISCO BASED punk magazine Maximum Rocknroll has announced that the publication will cease print publication after 37 years once the final three issues have rolled off the presses.
After starting life as a radio show, the first print issues of MRR appeared in 1982. The new fanzine developed its growing readership through a focus on DIY, independent punk rock and an interest in punk cultures across the globe. MRR became a landmark (and a stalwart) publication within the scene, notable for its lenghty band interviews, extensive scene reports and huge reviews section.
Unsurprisingly, over time the magazine was embroiled in a number of controversies and subject to some sustained criticism from within the scene and without. But despite the emergence of rival titles (which adopted different perspectives on the question of what the global punk scene was about), MRR retained its focus on “anti-corporate ideals, avowedly leftist politics, and relentless enthusiasm for DIY punk and hardcore bands and scenes from every inhabited continent of the globe” across more than 400 issues.
Through the eighties, nineties and beyond, MRR covered countless anarcho-punk bands in its pages, and included a well-remembered series of articles on the 1980s’ UK anarcho-punk scene authored by the sadly-missed Lance Hahn; each of them an early draft of a chapter for his unfinished manuscript for the book Let the Tribe Increase.
An open public meeting (being held today) will discuss MRR‘s future plans, including online, digital and on-air outlets for news and reviews.
In the spring of last year, MRR announced plans to launch (what would, over time, grow into) a comprehensive free-to-access and fully-indexed online archive of the magazine, following two years of fundraising. The project hit a major early stumbling block in September 2018, when the company chosen to generate metadata-tagged PDFs from the first batch of print originals went out of business without warning. Work on the project has continued, but the setback has left the team unable to provide a launch date for the new service.
Clarification on the impact (if any) that the end of print publication will have on the MRR archive project is expected shortly.
The statement from the editors explaining the reasons for the print closedown is reprinted below:
It is with heavy hearts that we are announcing the end of Maximum Rocknroll as a monthly print fanzine. There will be three more issues of the fanzine in its current format; later in 2019 we will begin publishing record reviews online alongside our weekly radio show. Readers can look forward to more online content, updates regarding the archive project initiated in 2016, and other yet-to-be-announced MRR projects, as well as new ways for punks around the world to get involved. We will be having a public meeting at 2:00pm on Sunday, January 20 at the MRR compound to discuss the future — please write firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Maximum Rocknroll began as a radio show in 1977. For the founders of Maximum Rocknroll, the driving impulse behind the radio show was simple: an unabashed, uncompromising love of punk rock. In 1982, buoyed by burgeoning DIY punk and hardcore scenes all over the world, the founders of the show — Tim Yohannan & the gang — launched Maximum Rocknroll as a print fanzine. That first issue drew a line in the sand between the so-called punks who mimicked society’s worst attributes — the “apolitical, anti-historical, and anti-intellectual,” the ignorant, racist, and violent — and MRR’s principled dedication to promoting a true alternative to the doldrums of the mainstream. That dedication included anti-corporate ideals, avowedly leftist politics, and relentless enthusiasm for DIY punk and hardcore bands and scenes from every inhabited continent of the globe. Over the next several decades, what started as a do-it-yourself labor of love among a handful of friends and fellow travelers has extended to include literally thousands of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of readers. Today, forty-two years after that first radio show, there have been well over 1600 episodes of MRR radio and 400 issues of Maximum Rocknroll fanzine — not to mention some show spaces, record stores, and distros started along the way — all capturing the mood and sound of international DIY punk rock: wild, ebullient, irreverent, and oppositional.
Needless to say, the landscape of the punk underground has shifted over the years, as has the world of print media. Many of the names and faces behind Maximum Rocknroll have changed too. Yet with every such shift, MRR has continued to remind readers that punk rock isn’t any one person, one band, or even one fanzine. It is an idea, an ethos, a fuck you to the status quo, a belief that a different kind of world and a different kind of sound is ours for the making.
These changes do not mean that Maximum Rocknroll is coming to an end. We are still the place to turn if you care about Swedish girl bands or Brazilian thrash or Italian anarchist publications or Filipino teenagers making anti-state pogo punk, if you are interested in media made by punks for punks, if you still believe in the power and potential of autonomously produced and underground culture. We certainly still do, and look forward to the surprises, challenges, and joys that this next chapter will bring. Long live Maximum Rocknroll.
Poison Girls feature – Maximum Rocknroll – #379 – December 2014