Maximum Rock'N'Roll is one of the most widely distributed zines in the world. It's a monthly fanzine dedicated to supporting and reporting on the underground punk rock scene.
Maximum Rock'N'Roll began as a radio show in 1977 on San Francisco's public radio station KPFA. It was a punk rock show hosted by DJs Tim Yohannan and Jeff Bale. Besides playing music, Yohannan and Bale invited punk musicians and fans into the studio, regulars on the show included Ruth Schwartz (owner of Mordam distribution) and Jello Biafra (of the Dead Kennedys).
Maximum Rock'N'Roll zine first appeared in 1982 as the newsprint booklet included in the "Not So Quiet on the Western Front" compilation LP, released on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles. The format of MRR was modeled to some extent after Tim Tonooka's Ripper zine. The zine included band interviews, columns, reviews, and scene reports from around the U.S. With Yohannan at the helm as editor/zine coordinator, MRR blossomed into a thick monthly newsprint zine with wide distribution (due in no small part because of it's distribution through Mordam, which Yohannan and MRR supported in early its years). Throughout the 1980s and until the internet took off in the 1990s and 2000s, MRR was the essential networking, gossip, and news zine for punk musicians, fans, zine publishers, bookers, promoters, and independent labels. As publisher, Yohannan espoused DIY ethics and radical politics and used the zine to promote not only underground music, but his personal philosophy. These same ethics are still used to guide MRR's current business practices and policies.
Yohannan died of cancer in 1998. Jen Angel (Clamor and Fucktooth) was trained as coordinator by Yohannan while he was ill. Angel was asked to leave the magazine not long before Yohannon died in April of 1998, with Jacqueline Prichard and Mark Murrmann (Sty Zine) taking over as co-coordinators. Through the years that followed, a number of different people have served as zine coordinator, including: Arwen Curry (Ration), Sean Sullivan, Andrew Scott, Mike Thorn, Paul Curran, Golnar Nikpour (Square One Again), Chris Hubbard, and Cissie Scurlock. Layla Gibbon (Chimps) and Mariam Bastani are the current coordinators of the zine.
MRR has published close to 400 monthly issues without ever missing a month. While not "the punk bible" it once was, at least in the exclusive sense (the punk community now has countless zines and Web resources), MRR is still one of the widely read zines coming out of the punk scene. The zine still features a wealth of interviews, articles, news, music and zine reviews, columns, and scene reports each month. MRR has also released a number of records and photo zines, as well as a book by Brian Edge detailing the history of the DIY all ages show space 924 Gilman St.
Current columnists include Mykel Board, musician George Tabb, Al Quint (Suburban Voice), Bill Florio, Lefty Hooligan, Ted Rall, Australian zinester DX (Distort), French zinester Alex Ratcharge (Ratcharge), Ariel Awesome, Osa Atoe (Shotgun Seamstress), Brace Belden, and hardcore singer/label honcho Felix Von Havoc.
Long-time contributor Jeff Bale, whose right-wing political turn was at odds with the long-time politics of the magazine, latered started Hit List.