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Punk Publisher Tim Yohannan Dead At 52

April 7, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Tim Yohannan, the controversial founder and editor of the world-famous punk 'zine Maximum Rock N'Roll, died Friday after a long battle with cancer, according to MRR columnist Jen Angel.

Yohannan, 52, was known for his staunch commitment to political activism, the do-it-yourself ideal, and, most of all, the music he loved. A New Jersey native, Yohannan began the underground radio show Maximum Rock N'Roll in San Francisco in the late '70s.

In 1983 he founded a newsprint monthly of the same name, which during the next 15 years became the de-facto "bible of punk rock," known for bringing underground bands to international attention and keeping the punk scene alive during lean years. MRR also released several compilations which popularized now-famous groups such as NOFX and Operation Ivy.

While some accused Yohannan of being musically conservative, he was also championed for his high profile radio debates with concert promoter Bill Graham -- whom Yohannan accused of co-opting the Bay Area punk scene -- as well as his involvement in the defunct Blacklist Mailorder service, the Epicenter record store and the famed Berkeley, Calif., venue 924 Gilman Street.

"Even though I had disagreements with him over the years, I admired the man," music writer Jack Rabid, founder and editor of The Big Takeover 'zine, told JAMTV on Monday. "He seemed really combative in his columns, but he was really a dear, sweet person with a great sense of humor. I don't think many people knew that about him."

"Tim Yo is undeniably one of the most important figures in the history of American punk rock," said Tim Chandler of Mutant Pop Records, an Oregon-based independent label. "His magazine's pages served as a unifying factor that helped to bring about punk's rebirth on a mass scale in the 1990s."

Maximum Rock N'Roll plans to continue publishing under the leadership of Angel and others.

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