Maximum Rocknroll, the long-running San Francisco-based fanzine, has announced that it’s discontinuing its print publication later this year. Started as a radio show in 1977 before launching the punk zine in 1982, the group published over 400 print issues and hosted over 1600 radio episodes. The magazine will publish three more print issues in its current format before shifting to a new online format for record reviews paired with its ongoing weekly radio show.
“We are still the place to turn to 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,” the magazine shared on their website. “We certainly still do, and look forward to the surprises, challenges, and joys that this next chapter will bring. Long live Maximum Rocknroll.”
This isn’t the only recent move from the magazine. In 2016, the group launched a campaign to move its comprehensive archive to an online database. The following year, longtime writer and organizer Grace Ambrose published an essay about the magazine’s legacy titled “Investing in the Underground,” where she called it the “first widely-distributed publication to conceive of punk as a global, not solely western phenomena” and “a consistent and vociferous opponent to corporate involvement in independent music.” Their latest statement notes that a meeting about the future of the publication is scheduled for January 20.
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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.