Sunday, January 5, 2014


Maximum Rocknroll Vol. 1 No. 0

MRR's debut fanzine, which was an insert to their Not So Quiet on the Western Front compilation album and not actually a zine proper, is a pretty fierce proclamation that "We Are Here."  We - the Northern California Underground / the entity of MRR / punks in general...  All still running strong, still inspirational forces, still rad beyond belief most of the time (can't all be rad all of the time).

But before the album—and still to this day (although not continuously)—Maximum Rocknroll was a weekly radio program which in the early days aired Tuesday nights on Berkeley community radio station KPFA.  Hosted by a gang of fanatic record collectors and dedicated to the most maximum of rocknroll, the show was and is an important resource to hear punk, proto-punk, hardcore, and any related genre or proto-genre.  Michael LaBash has been running an essential blog that makes many of the early radio programs available as MP3s.  It is simply mind blowing that he was able to tape, retain, and digitize all of these, so please spend a few weeks over at his website.

Tim & The Gang (Tim Yohannon, Ruth Schwartz, Jeff Bale & cohorts) made a ton of early color xerox fliers to advertise the program, which are easily among the finest of early punk ephemera:

The vaults of the MRR website has a few more examples of early MRRRadio fliers, which you can find here and here.  I have a copy of one more, which was used as letterhead by Tim sending a note to a Los Angeles record store.  A nice note, and prime example of his legendary record collecting habits.

Not So Quiet On the Western Front was a thorough and awesome documentation of the local scene.  The fine folks behind the radio program assembled 47 bands from the region and crammed them into two LPs.  Comps as this tend to have the "gimme your shortest song" mentality in an effort to get as much on as possible, and I do not know if MRR took this approach but they managed to have a pretty good OPS+ with very few duds.  Crucifix, Code of Honor, Church Police, Flipper, MDC, Dead Kennedys plus a million—er, 42, more—present quite a diverse punk ecosystem.

Vol. 1 No. 0 itself gave each band one page to use as their insert.  Some graphics, contact info, lyrics, not room for much more.  Just a quick "here we are, this is what we're about, we took a graphic design class & have access to some history books —check it out!".  (MRR's archives dug up this early draft at cover art when the comp was going by the name "May I Have the Next Thrash?").  But more important than that, by naming and numbering the insert, the compilers were announcing that their scene was more fluent and vibrant and brilliant than just an album.  It was worth a bi-monthly broadcast to the world.  "Listen to us now, then pay attention to us hereafter..."

No comments:

Post a Comment