The MRR archive project:
Maximum Rocknroll #4 • Jan–Feb 1983
Next in our MRR Archives series, in celebration of our 30th Anniversary: Maximum Rocknroll issue #4 (download available in our webstore soon). For this issue we asked Brian Edge to tell us about his experience working on the earliest issues of MRR, and beyond. Brian likes to keep a low profile but his hard work has been integral to so many MRR-related projects over the years that he should be considered a legend. Huge thanks to Brian Edge!
I got involved with MRR magazine shortly after issue #1 came out. A couple of my friends had been in on the first issue, and they had told me about it, but their interest in the scene was fading and they soon dropped out. I met Tim Yohannan (and some of “the gang”) and jumped in on the production of issue #2, learning how to do basic layout and writing show reviews and such (under another pseudonym until issue #4). The mag was ultra-basic back then: word processor/typewriters, scissors, waxers, layout boards, etc. All of us volunteers would come over on Sunday afternoons for “layout parties” at Tim and Jeff‘s house in Oakland. I don’t remember there being anyone with production or graphic design experience, so we’d slap things together and hope for the best. Needless to say, the mag was aesthetically pretty minimalist and choppy.
I was learning as I went along, and not just about magazine production. I was being challenged on all levels for the first time in my life. I had other staffers asking me, “Why are you eating a baloney sandwich? Why are you wearing Nikes? Why do you bank at Bank of America? Why are you calling people ‘fags’ and ‘retards’?” It made me stop and think about all this stuff that I had never given a second thought to before. It was the beginning of my “awakening.” I started questioning, and examining more closely, what I ate, what I wore, what businesses I patronized, and most importantly, how I treated other people.
MRR was certainly a life-changer for me. I was exposed to the positive, constructive, do-it-yourself side of punk and met so many great people from all over the world. Through MRR I learned how to be a radio DJ (MRR Radio and KALX Berkeley), how to do a magazine, how to set up and run a club/community center (924 Gilman), how to run a small business (Blacklist Mailorder), and how to put out a book (924 Gilman – The Story So Far). And perhaps the greatest thing I learned was how to stand up and fight for what I believed in. Many of the ideas and values learned from working with MRR for over 20 years stay with me to this day: Life doesn’t have to be competitive, it can be cooperative. You don’t have to be a greedy, selfish asshole to “succeed.” And by treating people with respect, equality, and an open mind you can have a much more rewarding life.
I feel very fortunate to have known not only Tim Yohannan, who provided me with so much guidance and inspiration, but also many of the other hard-working folks who have contributed, both past and present, to this epic adventure called Maximum RocknRoll .
— Brian Edge