Every Record I Own - Day 340: Dropdead s/t
I bought my first issue of Maximum Rocknroll sometime in either ‘92 or ‘93. Having just moved from the subcultural isolation of small town Hawaii, it blew my mind that there was this thick monthly magazine devoted to punk music. I immediately became a devoted reader. But things got weird sometime in ‘94. Founder/editor Tim Yohannan had always had a few ideological rules about what would be covered in his zine (no major label stuff, no bigotry, no Christian rock), but he started rejecting a bunch of stuff that he deemed to fall outside the musical parameters of his preferred style of punk, which in ‘94 consisted primarily of the most basic, stripped-down, old school Ramones worship. Certain bands and labels were blacklisted not because of their modus operandi or politics, but because they didn’t sound enough like some band from 1977. It was his zine and he was free to do with it as he pleased, but for a publication that had become a cornerstone to the broader underground community, it was disappointing. Even some of the writers for the zine seemed a little leery of the new criteria, with one columnist pointing out that Dropdead probably fell outside of the sonic requirements for coverage even though they were more punk in spirit than, say, The Queers. I had never heard of Dropdead, but now I was curious.
I mail-ordered this record that was too over-the-top for MRR. And sure enough, it was more than I could take. I’d never heard blast-beats outside of death metal or Napalm Death’s Scum, and it sounded totally ridiculous in the context primitive hardcore. I remember playing this for a few of my hardcore friends and everyone laughed at its absurdly fast tempos. But as was often the case back in that pre-internet era, if you spent money on something and found you didn’t immediately like it you still gave it a valiant effort to wrangle some sort of appreciation for your purchase. For me, I distinctly remember driving home from a show at 1am and getting stuck in dead-stop traffic on the freeway. I had dubbed this LP onto a cassette, and it was the only tape I had in my truck. So I sat there for an hour, blasting Dropdead to keep me awake, and by the third or fourth time through the record I was a convert.
If Dropdead was too aggressive for MRR, then I was siding with the band and not the zine.