Relix Magazine was launched by Les Kippel in 1974, stemming from the underground network of Grateful Dead concert-goers who taped and traded live recordings. The newsletter was originally distributed under the name Dead Relix and featured hand-drawn black and white concept artwork covers created by artist Gary Kroman. Averaging 20 pages per issue, the articles focused on taping tips and Grateful Dead news.

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 San Francisco 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.

In 1980, under the influence of new Publisher and Editor in Chief Toni Brown, it took a change in direction. While it maintained its focus on the Grateful Dead, the magazine also found room to cover genres as divergent as blues, reggae, bluegrass, and jazz, as well as non-music issues. It was during the late '80s to mid-'90s that Relix established its reputation as a magazine that "broke" new acts. Many new and emerging bands, such as Phish, made their debut in Relix columns such as "Independents Daze" and "On The Edge".

After the death of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia and the subsequent break-up of the band, Relix slowly moved its emphasis away from the Grateful Dead to coverage of other jambands and non-mainstream types of music.

In 2000 the magazine underwent an ownership change when it was purchased by an independent publisher, Steve Bernstein; from Toni Brown and Leslie Kippel. It was redesigned and re-launched in 2001 under Steve Bernstein's company Zenbu Media in full color. It now publishes 8 issues per year, with a CD compilation offered with each issue. The editor-in-chief of the magazine since 2001 is Aeve Baldwin.


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