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.
|Not so quiet on the Western Front Compilation LP
"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."
In 1977 Tim and the gang (Jeff Bale, Ruth Schwartz, Jello Biafra,
Ray Farrell and others) started a radio program called
Maximumrocknroll on KPFA (94.1fm) in Berkeley, CA. At the time
KPFA had an affiliate station, KFCF (88.1fm) in Fresno that
rebroadcast most of the programming live. Many Fresnans with a
bent for extreme music were listening to MRR from the beginning.
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
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.