Continuing with our MRR Archives series in celebration of our 30th Anniversary, here is the complete download of our second photozine, a special All-European issue produced in collaboration with Germany’s TRUST fanzine, Welcome to Cruise Country (see below for link). For this archive post, we sent some questions to our friends Dolf Hermannstädter and Jan Roehlk at the still-thriving TRUST fanzine HQ about the photozine and the current state of punk zinery. Danke schön, Jan und Dolf!
How did you first learn about Maximum Rocknroll?
Dolf: It was back in 1983. Dave Dictor of MDC sent me an issue after I wrote him a letter. He also included a copy of Ripper. If I remember correctly I was more turned on by Ripper. ;-)
Jan: I got to know MRR through a review in a local fanzine in the beginning of the ’90s. I had a subscription, then canceled it and only read it once in a while because I was a little overtired about the millionth crust band interview (sorry!) but renewed a subscription again and this time kept it.
Was MRR an inspiration for starting TRUST?
Dolf: Yes, definitely, we were much impressed by MRR, Ripper and Flipside! I have to say that I don’t really like the open submission concept concerning the interviews. I like it more when a core writer staff conducts the interviews, and it is not only to avoid people sending in faked interviews or made-up scene reports. Like with all open source medias it is the same problem: It is cool that all can submit, but who controls it? Maybe it is just a matter of taste, some people like it, some not, and hey, it works for MRR clearly…so, all good! :)
Jan: German Wikipedia writes about TRUST: “Taking the American MRR fanzine as a role model, the first issue of TRUST was published in 1986 by the founding members Thomasso Schultze, Mitch Alber, Armin Hofman, Dolf Hermannstädter and Anne Ullrich. Just like MRR was connecting the worldwide punk scene, TRUST started with the aim to connect the German punk and hardcore scene through a regular published print fanzine, a totally new thing for punk fanzines back then.” (Some zines came out only locally, once a year or so and were kind of harder to find.)
So, yes, MRR was a really huge influence. And for me it will remain an inspiration for continuing with my writings for TRUST. MRR offers a real good worldwide view of the punk scene, and it is (still) great to have all the news, columns, record/movie/book reviews and shit collected every month on paper, at least for me.
For a while, Flipside matched my musical taste more, but really, I like(d) both a lot. By the way, here is an interview I recently did for TRUST with Hudley Flipside. There is a nice part about MRR and Tim Yo in her answer after question six.
I always like to do something for/with the people of MRR. TRUST asked MRR years ago if we could support each other by exchanging ads and we do so to this day… And it always felt good to contribute (did two scene reports in 2004 and 2010).
One special thing about MRR which blew me away twice and still keeps me inspired when I think of it is the spirit of the coordinators and their serious dedication to the labor of love for the DIY-punk scene and the mag. I twice met different coordinators for an interview for TRUST and they were like, “MRR gave us so much when we were young, so I give it now back with my MRR involvement.” I did two interviews in San Francisco at the MRR compound in 2004 and 2008. Both times it felt really good to meet the coordinators in person and see how it all works in the house.
How did the idea come about for the TRUST/MRR photozine?
Jan: Helge Schreiber had the idea. He also stayed for some months at MRR and pulled it together. His involvement in this issue came from his writings for MRR from 1983 to 1994 about European bands.
Dolf: We just thought it would be a great project and that it would help the global scene to connect.
Who decided which photos to use?
Dolf: As far as I remember, it was a co-op of people from TRUST (Anne Ullrich, Thomasso Schulze..) and Helge Schreiber was also heavily involved.
Was all of the production for Welcome to Cruise Country done at MRR? Did any of you actually come to MRR to work on this? If so, what was it like to meet Tim Yo in person?
Jan: In the beginning of 1987 Helge finished his civil service and with the transfer money he flew out to San Francisco. Together with MRR he put together the zine. He collected all the photos out of the sources of a lot of photographers from over Europe. Later the same year, the special photo issue between MRR and TRUST called Welcome to Cruise Country with photos only by European bands was released. Since the street date it has ten million copies. No, it is for sure sold out.
Dolf: Yes, it was all done there. It was great to meet Tim, he was a fun guy to hang around and had a lot of life experience and good ideas and arguments. What impressed me the most (this was in 1987) was that there was a older guy who was still cool. Since most of our peers where our age, or usually older people become adults and Tim was still cool. I liked that since I hardy knew any other older people who where like him.
Were there separate European and U.S. printings of the photo-zine?
Dolf: Yes, the US version was on shitty newsprint [hence the kinda crappy quality of the PDF here —ed.] and the Euro version was offset. They where otherwise identically, only the cover was a bit different. The names of the zines where in different order.
Do you want to explain the title for our younger American readers? How big was the cruise missile issue, and was it seen as a uniting political issue for European punks?
Some older punks dissed the new breed as Stirnbandwixxer (“bandana jerks”) and the younger dissed the old punks as Nietenkaiser (“spike emperor”). —Jan
Dolf: The historic-political background concerning the title of the photo issue had to do with Cold War times and politics. In 1980 NATO planned to react to the deployment of Russian intermediate-range missiles with the deployment of American cruise missiles and Pershing II intermediate-range missiles in Europe. Parallel to that, NATO wanted to make an disarmament offer directed to the Soviets. That double-strategic plan — install weapons while talking about disarmament — was called the NATO Double-Track Decision. This decision was the reenforcing point of a whole bunch of anti-war protests in Europe, and a lot of people in the punk scene were against the Double-Track Decision. All of that emerged later in the title of the photo issue. Uniting political issue for European punks? Hard to answer…
Jan: I’d like to add one more thing may need some explaining — the very origin of the name TRUST. Sometimes people don’t understand or just don’t know what the original intention was. One of the founders of TRUST, in 1986, had the idea for the name. It has nothing to do with the 7Seconds song title, and also not with the French band by the same name. It was intended to be a play on words: “trust” is an old expression for “huge monopolistic corporations cartel which dominates the market.” Besides the obvious (trust) that was the intention, to claim in an ironic way, like “Trust us, obey us cause we rule.”
As you look through the photo zine now, is there anything that surprises you, makes you laugh, makes you embarrassed, etc.?
Jan: Fuck you big time, you old punks over forty. I am jealous. Seriously, this remains amazing on several levels. First thing that comes into my mind: Great cover shot. And how young all these bands were. So enthusiastic. So serious and joyful and powerful and full of good fun. A few of my favorite shots include NEGAZIONE and the crowd shots in Italy. And the LÄRM guys who seemed to have lost contact to Earth: how high can you jump with a bass in the hands?! Guess they took that from SNFU, I assume… Look at that TU DO HOSPITAL pic. No barriers between band and audience and these happy faces. On the pic of EVERYTHING FALLS APART you can see the singer, Thomasso, back then one of the main driving forces for TRUST Fanzine.
For today’s 16-year-old kids, this issue must look like an artifact from a long gone civilization. Does that all mean that the past was better than today? Fuck no. It was just…different.
But the Cruise Country issue is also an interesting document to understand the transformation of the European scene. Most of the people on these photos were punks before US Hardcore landed in Europe. They then combined the new sound with British anarcho-punk values and that was the new “movement” of European hardcore back then. Some older punks dissed that new breed as Stirnbandwixxer (that means “bandana jerks”) and the younger, of course, dissed the old punks as Nietenkaiser (“spike emperor”).
And, fuck, then there are those old ads I love looking at so much. The one from Alternative Tentacles announcing the Give Me Convenience DEAD KENNEDYS collection (one of the first punk records I bought, but only in 1991, haha) and saying that Sex Mad by NO MEANS NO is soon to be released. Alchemy Records stating that something from RKL is coming soon, which surely meant the great Rock’n'Roll Nightmare record. Man, Starving Missile Records are also inside. Taang! announces Hate Your Friends by LEMONHEADS.
…Maybe a reprint on good paper quality would also make sense? Read the rest of this entry »