Relix Magazine was launched in 1974 under the name Dead Relix. In its earliest incarnation, this hand-stapled, homegrown newsletter was an outlet for Grateful Dead tape traders ‹ avid concertgoers who taped and traded Grateful Dead concerts. The first issues were small (less than 20 pages), had hand-drawn black and white covers and focused on taping tips and Grateful Dead news. It also provided a forum for tape traders and music fanatics to communicate with each other.
Even as early as the second issue, non-Dead editorial found its way into Dead Relix's pages and, with the addition of an editor, the young magazine expanded its scope to cover the music of the Bay Area psychedelic scene. By 1978, Dead Relix contained reviews, essays, short features and artwork, and had dropped the "Dead" from its title. In a world that was moving away from "hippy culture," Relix managed to remain relevant, by expanding its scope of coverage beyond "Bay Area psychedelic rock" to cover genres as diverse as reggae and heavy metal, with varying degrees of success.
After some years of struggling with its direction, Relix regained its voice. It revived its focus on the Grateful Dead, but also found room to cover genres as divergent as blues, reggae, bluegrass and jazz, and non-music issues such as mandatory minimum drug laws. It was during the late '80s to mid-'90s that Relix established its reputation as a magazine that "broke" new acts. With the keen ear of British-born writer Mick Skidmore, many new and emerging bands made their debut in Relix columns such as Independents Daze and On The Edge.
For a magazine with its roots in Grateful Dead coverage, the passing of Jerry Garcia on August 9, 1995, could have spelt its death knell. Instead, Relix served as a rallying point for the "community," and, in the years since, has slowly moved its emphasis away from the Grateful Dead to coverage of "jambands" that have filled the void, as well as other, non-mainstream, types of music.
Today, Relix is the only music magazine of its kind. Having weathered 28 years of musical history, Relix has firmly established itself as a serious music magazine, "deadicated" to not only entertaining its readership, but providing a true community for lovers of "music for the mind."