Thursday, July 22, 2010


The Big Takeover turns 30

For thirty years, Jack Rabid has been our most passionate, intelligent and informed music writer bar none. Others have been more gonzo (Lester Bangs, Creem), more academic (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone) or carried a bigger punk rock sneer (Kickboy Face, Slash) but Rabid has heart. His long running fanzine turned slick mag The Big Takeover is in fact subtitled “Music With Heart”.

As a teenager, Rabid took the train from the Jersey suburbs to Manhattan for the second wave of the American punk explosion: The Stimulators. Adrenalin O.D. The original punk incarnation of The Beastie Boys. Washington D.C.’s Bad Brains who ushered in intelligent hardcore and, as the some of the few unlikely black faces in the scene, were more fierce and politically aware than self-disenfranchised white kids. Rabid also appropriated the name of their most fierce song for the title of his zine.

Sixty six issues in three decades might not sound like much compared to monthlies like Spin which have outdistanced Rabid in sheer numbers but The Big Takeover has been clocking in at well over one-hundred pages per issue since the late eighties. There’s no fashion layouts, no gossip column, no masturbatory coverage of industry sleazefests like the Grammies. BT is about the music, the creative process and why you should care.

As a reviewer and more importantly an interviewer Rabid carries an encyclopedic knowledge of every album, B-side, demo and gig his subject has produced. He has the unique ability to make you want to read about a band even if you hate their music.

The Big Takeover has a website but the hard copy still packs the bigger punch. In the new issue: Magnetic Fields, The Joy Formidable,  Nomeansno, Sharon Jones, Leatherface, The Nerves, Bob Mould, Thee Oh Sees, Bright Eyes…

Happy Anniversary, Jack. May you point us in the right direction for another thirty years!

originally published in weekly alibi 

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