December 20th, 2014 by Paul Curran
Maximum Rocknroll magazine is seeking a Distribution Coordinator. This is an unpaid, full-time volunteer position. MRR’s four coordinators live at MRR HQ rent-free. Distribution Coordinators are responsible for getting the magazines and our merch to stores, subscribers, and individuals around the world. To be a coordinator you must be able to work legally in the US, and you must keep a part-time (paying) job in addition to your MRR responsibilities.
It’s not all work and no play, though. Being a coordinator is fun, fulfilling, and one of the best learning experiences you’ll ever have. But let’s show, not tell — here is the first column our newest coordinator Grace wrote for MRR, in issue #377. As a former coordinator myself, I actually got choked up reading Grace’s account of her first weeks in the wild world of MRR…
If you are interested in applying, please download the questionnaire at the end of this post.
I arrived in San Francisco on August 1st. It has been a whirlwind month, mostly filled with bright spots. New city, new start. Adjusting not to working from home but rather to living at work. I’m developing bits and pieces of a routine: I eat a whole avocado almost every single day, rifle through the Amoeba new arrivals at least four times a week, go running in Golden Gate Park as often as I can force myself to. Before print week started, I went surfing in Bolinas. We drove a VW bus through the cliffs of Marin and drank Tecates on the beach and I swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, next to a cormorant. Later that night I slept through my first earthquake. California, baby. I text friends in London before I fall asleep— they are waking up, starting new days before I am ending my old one. It all takes some getting used to but slowly this place will start to feel like home.
I knew some people in the Bay before I moved here: from the tour where I booked the Philly show for their band, or that time we crossed paths at a fest, or the internet (ugh). A friend I have known since the first grade moved out here to go to medical school, arriving just a few days before I did. He came by the house to do shitwork my second or so weekend here. He’d never listened to a punk record in his life but he knows the alphabet, so we put him to work re-filing 7”s. Every so often he’d pull out a record and ask, “Is this good?” Our response was always, “Put it on!” He was working on the Gs that day—Generacion Suicida has won a new fan. Later that night he ordered a subscription to the magazine.
It was amazing to see someone interacting with our collection in that way, a potent reminder of the fact that there is no better place in the world to learn about punk and hardcore than inside this house, even for those of us who know a thing or two about it. I try to listen to something I’ve never heard before every single day—with 47,000 records and counting, there’s no excuse not to. I am filling up tapes and adding to my want lists and exploring the corners of punk that I always meant to get to and those that I didn’t even know existed. The archive is daunting—more than once since I’ve been here, a band has walked in to tour the compound and been absolutely baffled when faced with so much choice, unable to remember what kind of music they even like. Too many records, not enough time.
Hours alone can be hard to come by in a house with keys held by so many, and it took a few weeks before I was able to have a night to myself. For all the music I am excited to discover, there is still something to be said for the old reliables, the records that you know inside out, yet still sometimes feel as if you are hearing for the first time. I ate some tacos and drank lukewarm leftover coffee and cranked Rocket to Russia and did a kitchen mosh to Blitz singles and listened to the Sex Pistols and Los Punk Rockers back to back and tried to figure out what to call this column.
If you’re are reading this, you already know that we famously have Tim Yo to thank for the green tape that edges all of our records. You probably also know that he made handmade sleeves for records that he really liked or whose art he thought was subpar. Encountering those on the shelves somehow still continues to feel like stumbling across a secret. The collages have a surprising tactility to them, a layer of crisp, yellowing shellac overtop the images. I was sitting alone in the house, thinking of my former homes in Philadelphia and London and Washington, DC, and I kept going to pull more comforting records off of the shelves, and over and over the ones I took down happened to have Tim’s covers: the Raincoats’ Fairytale in the Supermarket, Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Hong Kong Garden, the Neo Boys EP, the Teddy and the Frat Girls 7”. Every single one of our records has green tape around its edges, but only a tiny fraction have these handmade sleeves and I was somehow being magnetically drawn to them. They say Tim haunts this house—I believe it now. I took it as a sign of sorts. This column takes its name from the last song on that Teddy and the Frat Girls 7”, one of the most demented records ever made, the product of maniac teen girl punks who then disappeared off the face of the planet. I’ve loved this record for a long time. I scanned the insert, collaged some letters on top, drank a beer, and listened to these mutant sounds at top volume alone in our big kitchen. It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long while.
I’m not some Teddy and the Frat Girls superfan (is it even possible to be a superfan of a band that only ever recorded five nearly unlistenable songs?). What I am a superfan of is the idea of that band: people who make psychotic, deranged, angry music because they have to, not because it’s cool, who make sounds that aren’t like anything we’ve ever heard before, the noises that come out of genius girl brains across time and space.
I spent the month of July squatting a spare room in Peckham in London, in the flat of this magazine’s Bryony Beynon, my soul sister extraordinaire. A much needed holiday and a mentally and emotionally rejuvenating trip. We each tore through the Viv Albertine autobiography in a little less than twenty-four hours, rabidly reading in silence in the middle of a horrible heat wave. We raced to the finish, because there was so much to talk about once we were done. In her column this month, Bryony writes about the way Viv captures female friendships so accurately, how the sounds of the Slits could only have emerged from the electric connections between those four badly behaved women. It really is an extraordinary text and should be out in the States this fall. Get it. Viv also talks about living through London in ’77, about the idea that many who were there then felt as if they had been a part of something so great and so exciting that they would never be able to capture that kind of dynamism and momentum ever again, about how that feeling probably factored into her decision to put down her guitar for decades after the end of the Slits. This magazine also casts a long shadow. It’s hard not to constantly think about history here in the compound. There are reminders of it everywhere: Tim’s handmade record sleeves, the magazine covers plastered to the walls, the photobooth strips of coordinators past and present stuck to the fridge, the still overflowing green-taped mailbox labeled Bruce Roehrs. Through accidents of timing I crossed paths with almost all of the women who have coordinated this publication in the past during my first month here—I can only hope that one day I am as effortlessly cool and brilliant as all of them. There are big personalities here, but this place is bigger than any of us. How do you make room for history in your life while also making history make room for you? I’m figuring it out.
We at Maximum owe a lot to our past, but the only reason we’re still around is because of a persistent insistence on the here and now. The thing that makes this magazine so great is that it is a publication written by the people it is written for. It has always been that way. MRR is what you make it, which means that history is ours to write. Punk’s not dead unless we kill it. Remember that we wanna hear from you about what is going on in your town: send us a report on punk fashions (The Dangly Earring: Who Wore It Best?), email us a drawing that we can put on a pin or a sticker, interview your favorite band and ask them questions that aren’t “what do you play?” and “how did you meet?” and “tell us a little bit about your songwriting process,” burrow deep into their brains and show the rest of us what makes them tick and why that makes you tick in turn. Keep sending your records in for review, so that we can ruin them with green tape and they can enter the vast and magnificent archive we have here, and make your friends do the same. Shitwork for us from afar! Did you already spot all of the misplaced commas and typos that we missed on these inky pages? Save us from ourselves as a proofreader! Can you type a mile a minute? Transcribe the soon-to-be classic interviews languishing in iPhone Voice Memo apps. Offer to do some sick layouts. Take out an ad for your beret emporium, send us some money so that we can put those damn records in poly bags and keep them from sticking to themselves, renew your subscription so that your bathroom can always be full of the best reading material for visiting punks taking a shit. This is your magazine and I am psyched to be here. Survived the first month. Ready for many more. Write to me and tell me what record I should pull off the shelf and listen to, post me a tape of the most deranged lady punks from your town, send love notes, hate mail, questions and concerns to
If coordinating MRR sounds like the life for you, write to for an application.