Maximum Rocknroll Number 4, Jan-Feb '83
A last minute news story makes for an interesting cover to this issue. Not sure what was originally planned, but it was cleared to make room for a brief article about a recent punk riot. A punk outside of a TSOL show in LA threw a bottle at a passing cop, who then escalated by calling in backups, including a helicopter, who sealed off Sunset Blvd in the area surrounding the club. Punk was not new anymore but was at its peak threat to society — media exploitation, attacks from the Religious Right, police brutality all very real in Punk circa '83. These themes all come up repeatedly in the magazine, alongside the editors' constant political guidance and challenges to their readers to have a coherent, radical belief system.
The cover also features the "Top 100 Records and Tapes (of) 1982", which takes the space of the typical shitworker top tens section that is absent. Curiously, the list does not contain records/tapes but songs, democratically listed in alphabetical order and no band appearing with multiple entries. It's a great list which has plenty of not-quite ready for their own record but soon to be household names appearing via demo tape or compilation (Adrenalin OD, Butthole Surfers, Die Kreuzen, Poison Idea, etc).
After the cover story, the first bit of content in the issue is this "Survey for Women" in which MRR is soliciting the opinions about women in punk. The zine took a clear initiative to reach out to and embrace the full diversity of the punk scene. Likewise, a priority was to address and confront any instances of sexism, homophobia, racism in the scene. 60+ pages later, the Record Reviews sectionfeatured no fewer than 3-4 records listed in this issue wherein the reviewer is taking the band to task for questionable lyrics (Lost Generation, Silly Killers, Descendents, GG Allin+).
Issue four had a particularly great run of band interviews. Crucifix seem in early issues to be seen as a bit of a joke among locals for their love of Discharge and over the top punk look ("We feel that if you're going to be a Punk you might as well look like a Punk") but get a glowing review here after the release of their 7". Code of Honor are one of my favorite bands, but so oddly professional in old interviews. Their LP was probably a misstep, but certainly was not a mistake. I dig their semi-schitzephrenic response below:
Also interviewed were a young Poison Idea, NY's False Prophets (from Avenue B!), Toxic Reasons, Reagan Youth, a very long and intense discussion with Articles of Faith, so many more. Crucifucks has a pseudo-interview done in a questionnaire style that did include the following bullet from Doc Dart: "Cops: I hate them - there's no excuse for them. I'd like to kill more than one. They won't fuckin leave me alone". But the centerpiece of the issue was V.Vale's conversation with Frank Discussion of The Feederz. They discuss (and reprint) Frank's infamous "Bored of School" flyer which was allegedly distributed in Phoenix area schools, sabotage in the workplace, historical radical movements and parents. It's a mandatory read. The intro mentions their upcoming EP, Soon to be Picturesque Ruins, which I assume morphed into Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss?
There are scene reports galore, of course. The most interesting bits were the complaints in the Northern California scene that there were too many shows going on at the time (12-14 the prior month!). On the other hand, you had the Dallas/Fort Worth where HC was just starting to come into its own. Hugh Beaumont Experience and Stickmen with Rayguns both got some serious column inches, which struck me as funny since both bands seem out of place in '83 but I guess the region was just running a couple years behind. The issue had features on punk in South Afric, an intro to nihilism, and another anti-punxploitation piece, this time about the Quincy episode.
As noted above, the reviews are commenting not only on the music but taking bands to task for questionable lyrics and attitudes. This issue had the now-legendary review of the Authorities single in which Tim Yo calls them out for use of the word "niggers" (or was it "piggers"? Listen and decide...and read the comments where the debate was revived 20+ years later).
Hmmm, let's see... issue had reviews of Blitz "Voice of a Generation", Cock Sparrer "England Belongs to Me", GG Allin "No Rules", Authorities 7", Big Boys "Fun Fun Fun" 12" (MRR did not approve of the funk!), Crucifix "1984" 7" ("unexpectedly great"), Dead Kennedys "Plastic Surgery Disasters" LP (approached by Tim with apprehension and respect), Descendents "Milo Goes to College" LP (called out for homophobic line), Flipper "Get Away" 7" (assholes who make great music), Husker Du "Everything Falls Apart" 12" ("even if they can't play Risk that well, they sure can play music!"), Negative Approach 7", Toxic Reasons LP, Tar Babies/Mecht Mensch split tape, plenty of regional comps/tapes. Most of the "World" section was German and Canadian with the notables being Neos 7" & return of the Finns Lama & Kohu 63.
And last but not least, this fun lil' rebuttable by Tim & Jeff in response to a flippant comment made in a Flipper interview. Can't we all just get along?