Sunday, February 2, 2014


Maximum Rocknroll Vol. 1 No. 3

The issue that MRR went global.  Until this point, the gang has clearly embraced the international appeal of punk but the scope of coverage lived in a funnel that was roughly Regional>National>UK National Acts ('77 hangers on/Disorder/Crass)>International DIY(very little covered until this issue).  But with issue #3, the folks in SF received a care package from Finland that must have blown minds.  International DIY records had, until this point, no worldwide distribution network, no magazine to promote to likeminded folks 5000 miles away — by and large, they existed only in the scenes that bore them.  And Vote's care package to MRR may have changed all of that.  Suddenly, the MRR folks were exposed to a large chunk of records that were as good or better as what they were doing at home; that, as best as they could tell, existed with the same Leftist leanings; that existed as a DIY enterprise.  A thriving, brilliant hardcore scene.  The Top Tens gushed all over this stuff, rightfully.  It is pretty funny that MRR tries to claim the Finnish sound as their own despite the Finn's claim that they were primarily influenced by UK bands: 

And if this is was going on in Finland, what else was out there?  If they weren't already, this is where MRR becomes the public record for hardcore releases — the place where every band in every country could go to let the world know they exist, and where their peers could throw $2-$3 in the mail to the other side of the world to check them out.  

The anti-MRR backlash that will never die begins in the letters section of this issue.  Maybe there was some of it in prior issues, but the first letter here is classic and could have been written at any time over the last 30+ years.  Dave Insurgent writes in that he is psyched to find the magazine as left-coast kindred spirits.  True to their word in the first issue Tim posts the magazine's finances showing that it is, this far, a break even endeavor.

In this lil' corner, they manage to slip in some art (a nice Winston Smith graphic) and some humor.  Not just the dry old folks at the protest anymore, eh?

Besides the Finnish spread and additional record review section, this issue is fairly similar to the previous issues with other content.  Bale has a two-page article advocating for DIY as the solution to "rockstaritis".  The Desperate Bicycles legend has surely grown over the decades but as documented elsewhere, their influence was immediate and Bale quotes them within — It was easy, it was cheap, go and do it!  He was writing at a point when major labels were starting to look for a hardcore breakout and bands like the Misfits and Damned were beginning to mimic   a classic rock touring structure and others like Dead Kennedys and Black Flag were trying to find something more ethical/equitable/sustainable.  His five point plan to combat rockstaritis: 1) Realize that punk musicians are people, therefore anyone can do it. You can do it. Kill the pedestals. 2) Abandon groups that lose touch of DIY roots. 3) Transfer your support onto newer groups who are in touch.  4) Pay no mor3e than $5 for a show*.  5) No fixed guarantees — a percentage of the door is the ethical thing to do.
Clearly, the zine was doing wonders for the SFHC marketing department.  The scene report here is a who's who of bands moving to or thinking about moving to the Bay Area.  NOTA writes in with a one-band scene report for Tulsa ("We have one hardcore group (which is me and the boys)...").  Plenty of locals are interviews: Intensified Chaos, The Lew, Capital Punishment, The Afflicted, plus near locals 7 Seconds and The Wrecks.  I should mention this pretty funny review of a Crucifix/Discharge show:

But let's throw out everything mentioned so far, the real gem of the issue is the NY scene report which was a review of a show by Lucifer's Imperial Heretical Knights of Schism / Blood Clot / MDC / Reagan Youth.  The openers were an unknown act featuring singer Mike (Beastie Boys), drummer Dave (Reagan Youth) and friends and were clearly there to provoke.  Named after a Rastafarian principal, their set began with Mike reading from a pamphlet entitled, "What is Rastafari?" while the band made some noise behind him.  Not too thrilled with this act, members of the Bad Brains emerged to announce that Schism's set was over.  Dave Insurgent and the Bad Brains contingent argued until Dave MDC joined in to call out Bad Brains for their shitty treatment of Texas punks among other indecencies (their actions directly led to the demise of 171A Studios and Rat Cage records).  At this point Dave and Schism were pelted with eggs thrown by the Rastas.  Where the hell did they get eggs from????  

There were no shortage of demos reviewed in this issue as kids around the country were beginning to see the magazine as a vehicle to expand their hometown into something more visible.  Great, great bands coming out of the woodwork this way: Crucifucks, NOTA, No Thanks, Poison Idea...  Also one for The Gerbils "GM Working Man" in Detroit described as thrash with Screamers-like synth.  A total unknown to me, but I NEED TO HEAR THEM NOW!!!!  Finland reviews include Bastards, Kaaos/Kadgers, Kohu 63, Lama, Riistetyt, Rattus, first 3 Terveet Kadet records.  We also see that Anti-Cimex have submitted their first single for review (and get compared to SF's War Zone!) as have Jezus & the Gospelfuckers.  Some devestating stuff.

The zine ends with a punk's story of going to the movies to see "Class of 1984" and the audience reaction to them.  The move, starring Michael J Fox among others, is perhaps the most exploitative of any movie from the era, painting punks as racists, rapists, a new organized crime family.  I saw this movie very recently and was shocked...I can't even imagine seeing it as a punk in '82.

*That's about $12 today.  

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