When punk started to explode in late 1970s, Jeff Bale was a DJ at San Francisco public radio station KPFA, where he did a punk radio show with Tim Yohannan called Maximum Rock'n'Roll. In 1981 Yohannan and Bale began publishing MRR as a zine, modeled to some extent after Tim Tonooka's Ripper.
In a Ripper interview with Bale and others, just before MRR zine began publishing, Bale said: "One of the threats that we perceive to this overall scene is obviously the corporate music interests, which are trying to make it marketable and safe and commercially viable, and monopolistic. But I think the greater danger to the scene right now rests in the minds of the masses of people who are getting into it. Nowadays there's hundreds of younger people that are getting into this scene, and they all look like punks, if you look at them on the street you think, 'that guy's got to have an anti-establishment attitude.' Well it just isn't true all the time. For a lot of these people, punk is just a style like disco style or new wave style is to other people."
MRR zine included contributions from punk kids throughout the US and featured scene reports, band interviews and reviews, helping create a networking resource for the emerging punk subculture. After Yohannan took over publishing and zine coordinating duties at MRR, Bale continued on as a writer and columnist for the following decade. Bale's columns increasingly irked Yohannan as his politics moved more towards the right. Shortly after Yohannan died in 1998, Bale left MRR then started his own fanzine Hit List, along with two other longtime MRR writers, Mel Cheplowitz and Brett Mathews.
Bale tried to make Hit List it's own zine, rather than a reaction to MRR. In an interview in the SF Weekly in 1991, Bale said "I bent over backwards to try to prevent our magazine from coming off as some sort of anti-MRR vehicle... I don't want mudslinging." Hit List focused more on music and less on politics, which is the direction Bale had been leaning towards for years. Hit List stopped publishing in the mid-2000s.