MRR archives: Maximum Rocknroll #8 • Sept 1983

19 09 2012

Huzzah! Our MRR Archives series chugs right along, celebrating the magazine’s 30 year anniversary. Here for your enjoyment is a complete download of Maximum Rocknroll issue #8 (see below for link). Our guest introduction for this issue comes from the one and only John Marr, who you may know from his own legendary zine Murder Can Be Fun. On a personal note, John is most near and dear to my heart for he is the person who first got me involved as a MRR shitworker some 29 years ago, and I can attest that his behind-the-scenes account of the OG MRR HQ is 100% true. Read and destroy!   — Paul

Click image to download MRR #8!

 The first thing to realize in looking back at these early issues of MRR is the unbelievable crude production methods we used. This was when the hot new Apple product was the IIe computer with dual 5¼” floppy drives and desktop publishing but a mad software engineer’s dream. We had no scanners, no computers, no laser printers. We did have an electric typewriter that could, in a jaw dropping display of 1983 technology, print out a justified column of copy. Tim had a friend with a graphic arts camera to make halftones of photos. And we had a full complement of steel rulers, Xacto knives, hand waxers, Letraset lettering, and layout tape. Early issues of MRR were handcrafted, albeit unlovingly.

The focus of our labors was Tim and Jeff’s nice little rented Arts & Crafts bungalow in the then affordable Temescal district of Oakland. (Real estate tip: buy near MRR house, wait 10 years.) During the week, a steady stream of volunteers pounded in every letter, every scene report, every interview into that damn typewriter. (And you wonder why there are so many typos! Spell-check too was on the to-be-invented list.) I did a little of the typing and copy editing; I recall one particularly pleasant hatchet job that turned one prominent punk’s 3,000 words of turgid bombast into a thousand words on how to have punk pen pals. But my main involvement was the big Sunday Afternoon Layout meeting.

We would show up around 2:00 p.m. Tim would distribute the copy and halftones and we would get to work, waxing the copy and photos and madly cropping both to make everything fit. More than one mohawk went down before our Xacto knives! There was generally much hilarity in the air as we went about our layouts, rehashing who punched who at last night’s show or competing in the never ending contest to coin the most generic hardcore band name, some outrageous combination of youth, red, black, flag, and army. The battle raged on. And then those three-letter acronym bands—what did they stand for? More importantly, what should they stand for? I always thought it was sad that so little of this lightness and wit wound up on the printed page. People who bitched about MRR’s dourness would have been absolutely shocked.

This particular issue came out at an interesting time: when the more violent segments of the punk audience were getting identical haircuts and starting the American skinhead “scene.” The letters column was starting to fill with people whining about who-punched-who at the last CBGB matinee.  Perhaps the highlight of the issue is Tim’s interview (on the radio?) with SF Skin-to-be Bob Noxious, singer of the then notorious SF band THE FUCK-UPS. He’s an amazingly unselfconscious subject, almost a unwitting work of folk art with a title like “American Numbskull.” You gotta love an interviewee who says things like “I don’t even wear spikes hardly no more” and who rationalizes knocking out 45 GRAVE’s Dinah Cancer with “she didn’t really take offense to it.” The only thing missing is the interview ending with Bob taking a swing at Tim.

Most of the scene reports are forgettable for all save record collectors. Tim picked them for content. Literary or artistic merit were never considerations. If you could throw together a few hundred words that included plenty of band names and contact addresses and toss in a few photos to be shrunken down beyond recognition, you were in. The Boston report, however, does stick out for being penned by mogul-to-be Gerard Cosloy and as a fine example of “The Promoter’s Lament.” And I do believe I detect my own inept hand in the layout of the Philly scene report—the uneven corners and poor overall graphic sense are dead giveaways.

The band interviews, either you love ‘em or hate ‘em. I hate ‘em; I prefer to hear musicians, not read them. The special report on the then new “skate punk” thing is pretty good, especially the Jaks interview. Don’t feel bad about not grasping the concept of “Absolute music” unless you too just did a head plant off your skateboard after drinking a shoplifted 6-pack of generic beer.

As for the big gab fest between Dave (MDC), Vic (AOF), and Ian (MINOR THREAT), I am so overwhelmed by a sense of sorrow for the poor shitworker who had to transcribe and type the damn thing that I can’t bear to read it. I’m betting, though, that they all come out as unalterably opposed to Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Pushead’s self-interview is best viewed on the bottom of a 12-year-old’s skateboard, preferably at speed. The Mykel Board piece is kinda fun, although it is but a shadow of the column he would soon being to write. And can you believe an issue of MRR with only two columnists?

A few fun details for the keen eyed: buried in the UK scene report is a picture of GBH captioned “Great Big Haircuts? Or Go Back Home?” The shitworkers have their (very small) say! Buried in the record reviews are early works by GG ALLIN (“idiotic and poorly recorded”), the LYRES (“Now this is more like it!”) and FAITH NO MAN, soon to be re-christened FAITH NO MORE. Even if you don’t read the Dave/Vic/Ian piece, look at the pictures! Tim Y. is plainly visible in the front row of one (Hint: he’s the one that looks like a greasy little vampire.) But if you really want to flaunt your MRR old school credentials, spot (and explain!) the “Annie” on the front cover!

— John Marr, 2012

PDF download of MRR #8 HERE. Click here to find more of our MRR Archive downloads. We’ve done our best to clean up theses scans while keeping the “newsprint” look, and to keep the file size small while still being readable. If you have any trouble downloading or reading this file, please contact webzine {at} maximumrocknroll(.)com.

If you appreciate these free downloads, please consider donating a small amount — however much you think it’s worth — to help us pay some bills around here. Thanks… and enjoy!

September 19th, 2012 by MRR

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3 responses to “MRR archives: Maximum Rocknroll #8 • Sept 1983”

19 09 2012
Adam Johnston (11:32:32) :

Loving these PDFs! Downloading and printing them at work. Fuck Da Man!

20 09 2012
Ken Sanderson (11:08:57) :

This Was the First Issue of Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll I ever bought, at the old upstairs location of Cheap Thrills On Higuera Street In San Luis Obispo. Cheap Thrills was ( and still is) a combination of Comic Book Store and Record Shop, and the divergent Personal interests of digging for Used Punk Records and Cheap Back issues of “Deathlok The Destroyer” collided for me with Pushead’s comic book-ish cover.
MRR often balances it’s function as a local news / scene insider tradesheet and what seemed like Tim’s Intention to connect and foster a broader global youth movement. Inside the punk bubble of San Francisco’s overstimulated Punk Rock scene ( or maybe to anyone who’s hung around the Punk scene for 30 or so odd years), the Unique voices, charm and wonder of a lot of bands and Records lose some of their luster from abundance, familiarity and overexposure, But this issue was an explosion of awareness of a broader world of Punk beyond the handful of Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks records I’d managed to piece together at the time. When My Family moved back to Alabama in 1984, MRR became an absolute lifeline to a punk scene that only existed 2 or 3 hours away in either direction. If I could never see any of these bands, at least I could mailorder their records!! Within a year of discovering MRR, my tastes when from the standard punk rock hits of 1980′s suburban Youth to mailordering Terveet Kadet, Frites Modern and War Of Destruction Records, whatever they reviewed that sounded insane, sign me up!!!
This Love of the obscure, extreme and psychotic sounding Foreign hardcore is why I still do reviews for MRR-one of the few places in North America this stuff gets sent- hoping that some far corner of Eastern Europe or South America will kick out something that turns what is often formula on it’s head. It’s not the end of 1983 and the shimmering twilight of original DC and Boston Hardcore, High noon of First wave classic Swedish and Italian hardcore and the Dawn of Japanese thrash, but Amazing music still happens and I’m glad MRR is there to get the word out and I can be a small part of it.

13 10 2012
dro (14:02:04) :

Hello from Slovakia!!! it’s very nice to time travel to 80′s.
Best regards!

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