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Maximum Rocknroll, Storied Punk Magazine, Discontinues Print Edition

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A pallet of Maximum Rocknroll issues, ready for distribution. (Photo: Kevin L. Jones/KQED)

Maximum Rocknroll, the country’s longest-running punk fanzine, announced Sunday that it will discontinue its print edition this spring.

The announcement offered scant financial details, and the monthly magazine reportedly climbed out of debt in recent years, but only three more issues will appear before it adopts a web-only format.

“Needless to say, the landscape of the punk underground has shifted over the years, as has the world of print media,” the announcement reads.

Founded by Tim Yohannan in 1982, the magazine features a mix of columnists, reviews, interviews and scene reports with an international focus. Run by volunteers or “shitworkers,” its content coordinators, who both edit and manage the publication, live rent-free at the magazine’s longtime headquarters in San Francisco but receive no other compensation.

Lauded and derided as the “punk bible,” MRR has maintained a deeply anti-corporate stance, for instance refusing to provide coverage to major label releases, and courted controversy locally and nationally since its inception, exerting a significant influence on punk ideology.

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The magazine originated as a KPFA radio show in 1977, and first appeared in print in 1982 as an insert in the Alternative Tentacles compilation Not So Quiet on the Western Front. For years the magazine underwrote local community projects such as venues 924 Gilman Street and Epicenter Zone.

In the 1990s, with circulation at its peak, Maximum Rocknroll was the antiestablishment foil to punk’s mainstream ascendance by way of pop-punk artists such as Green Day. Though the magazine’s profile has waned in recent years, it is often the only source of lengthy interviews with emerging underground artists and information on far-flung scenes.

As recently as 2012, it was the subject of a dis track by garage-rock outfit Nobunny. In 2016, it sided with 924 Gilman Street boycotters who’d accused the venue of ethically backsliding.

Record reviews, according to the announcement, will be posted online alongside the magazine’s weekly internet radio show. The magazine also promised updates regarding an archive project related to its collection of 50,000 vinyl records “and other yet-to-be-announced MRR projects.”

This post will be updated.

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