"In the 1950's some emerging styles of popular music were seen as subversive by conservatives. Rocknroll, Rockabilly and Rhythm&Blues was considered unamerican by some. But like many others at the time, Tim Yohannan was listening to this music and was quite turned on by it. In the 60's he continued to follow rocknroll and got into political activism." In an interview with Leading Edge fanzine in 1984 Tim Yohannan said, "...then '77 came along, everyone knew something was gonna come big after the 60's thing died, at least I knew...I could see in '75 when independent releases started up again and Bomp fanzine started, I saw it coming. It was overdue in a way."
I found out about it from Richard Wineland in '79. After that it was a tuesday night ritual. On in prime-time, 8-10pm it was easy to listen. I treasure my collection of MRR cassettes recorded off the air. KFCF reached up and down the San Joaquin Valley. A lot of punkers and would-be punkers were listening each week. This led to searching for and buying the records played, going to see the bands perform and getting our own bands started. Bands from all over the world sent their demo tapes and records to MRR with hopes of airplay and exposure. Sure enough we unknown little garage bands from backwater towns like Fresno were getting airplay on a popular radio show.
In a matter of months a compilation LP of bands played on the show was was in the works. Bands were asked to submit tapes. No bands were asked to pay a dime to participate. All bands were given multiple promo copies and even paid royalties, (unheard of with most compilations).
Four bands from the Fresno area were selected to be on the comp with 43 other Northern California and Nevada bands. For all four of the Fresno bands we lost our vinyl-virginity with that record. It was a pretty big deal to be on that compilation. And it launched some successful musical careers.
I didn't believe Tim when he told me back in the eighties, "You think it's bad now, just wait. It's gonna get worse."
Mistakenly, I had thought that mankind was on an ever-upward spiral. But, he told me that mankind is on an upward spiral and a downward spiral at the same time. I think he was right. Things have gotten both worse and better since the 80's till now, 2006. As far as small-time, unknown bands are concerned I think it's even harder now to get a gig than in, say 1985. Everything associated with doing a band is more difficult. Profit seekers try to make it a game only for the rich. It's more expensive now to make the trek to the bay area or L.A. to see a show, buy records or play a gig. And even though technology makes it easier in some ways it also makes it even more complex.
Since the success of bands like GREEN DAY and THE OFFSPRING the punk scene has fragmented over and over again. It caused a capping-off of the expansion in the underground and subsequent dispersion of members into other scenes. There's not much left of what we had in the 80's. And now there's such raging, hateful rivalries between scenes, bands and venues.
The eternal entertainment business corruption is always with us. Good ole payola is alive and well. So much sucky, spiritless talent held up as the best. It's not as the major labels would like you to think; the best and brightest rising to the top by sheer talent. It's the industry giants making sure to retain control. And in so doing are causing some of the best and brightest to seek other venues.
Tim Yohannan was the architect of a workable system to outwit this corrupt scheme of the major labels. He used local overlooked talent. He brought in bands from the hinterlands. Instead of charging payola he gave airtime away for free. Tim's way of doing things was rare then and even rarer now. But, It was a way that proved to be successful.
By the mid-80's there were lots of record stores, labels, promoters, venues and distributors working hundreds of punk and other bands signed to independent labels all over the world. The punk expansion would've happened anyway without TY but, he had an influence on the way things were done, especially out here on the west coast.
That punk expansion meant a lot for small-time punk bands from little towns like Fresno. It led the way to play out of town venues and be involved in the entertainment industry in a way that other bands only dream of. And without that chain of zines, venues and promoters all us punk bands would never have had a chance.
Since his untimely and tragic passing in 1998 at only 52 years old of cancer there has been, I believe, a steady decline in the punk scene. The decline hasn't been in the size of the audience or the profits. That's actually been on the rise. It's been a decline of simple honesty, common purpose and good will. Now it seems we're all just various individuals trying to walk the mine field of so many different scene wars. Dale Stewartpunksnax at hot mail daught khom