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The Big Takeover Issue #89

Chip Midnight

Chip Midnight cut his music journalist teeth as a journalism student at the Ohio State University in the early ’90s where his first interview was a phoner with Joey Ramone. Throughout the decades, Chip has contributed to local and regional publications and websites (The Ohio State Lantern, Columbus Alive, Moo Magazine, Donewaiting.com) and national print publications (Skratch Magazine, Wonka Vision Magazine) as well as running his own sites (Swizzle-Stick.com, AtomicNed.com). Chip joined the Big Takeover staff in 2007 after having been a long-time reader. Check out chipmidnight.com to read interviews Chip has done over the years with the likes of Jason Isbell, Rage Against the Machine, Sparklehorse, Veruca Salt, Gary Numan, Mojave 3, Weezer, Juliana Hatfield and more.

Interview: Kellii Scott (Failure)

2 December 2021

After taking a 17-year-break, Failure returned in 2014 and with the release of Wild Type Droid, the third album since reuniting, the band has now equaled the output from the first part of their career. Drummer Kellii Scott checks in to talk about the new album, the songwriting process, and why saying “yes” is his guiding force in life.

Interview: Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society)

29 November 2021

Zakk Wylde talks about the ballads on the Black Label Society’s eleventh album, Doom Crew Inc., the artists that influenced his songwriting, having fun while shooting videos and who he wants to induct him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Palm Ghosts

Interview: Joseph Lekkas (Palm Ghosts)

23 November 2021

Earlier this month, Palm Ghosts released it’s second album of 2021, The Lost Frequency. Joseph Lekkas shares the story behind both albums, discusses the ’80s influence found in the band’s music, and reveals what it will take to feel like the band has “made it”.

Interview: Dan Hawkins (The Darkness)

17 November 2021

Fresh off a late 2019 release, The Darkness return with more stadium-ready hard rock on Motorheart. Guitarist Dan Hawkins discusses what it’s like to return to playing shows, how the band has stayed relevant for 20 years, ’80s references that can be found throughout the album and 2022 tour plans.

Interview: Christian Glakas (Merciful Heavens)

9 November 2021

Christian Glakas shares the journey he’s been on, with many regenerations, that ultimately resulted in his new EP, For Now, released under the Merciful Heavens name.

Interview: Justin Osborne (SUSTO)

29 October 2021

Justin Osborne of SUSTO believes that his band’s newest release, Time in the Sun, finds the band at the point that he always dreamed of in the early days. Though often lumped into the Americana category, SUSTO’s music is a reflection of Osborne’s upbringing in the coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina.

Interview: Lilly Hiatt

25 October 2021

A year after releasing her fourth album, the critically-acclaimed Walking Proof, Lilly Hiatt is back with an all-new collection of songs for New West Records. Lately was released in October and Lilly’s finally able to get back on the road, something she really missed during the pandemic.

Interview: Pokey LaFarge

14 October 2021

Always writing for the next album, Pokey LaFarge was ready to record once touring came to a halt in 2020. Incorporating worldly influences (rocksteady, Caribbean, etc), LaFarge’s 7th album, In the Blossom of Their Shade is a silver lining born out of the pandemic.

Interview: Ethan Miller (Howlin Rain)

8 October 2021

As has been the case with every Howlin Rain release, The Dharma Wheel is filled with groovy psychedelic jams that evoke everything from the Allman Brothers to ’70s conversion vans with shag carpeting to James Bond theme songs. Ethan Miller talks about how his musical upbringing brought him to where he is today.

Interview: Emily Wolfe

6 October 2021

After wowing the blues-rock world with her self-titled debut, Emily Wolfe sets to broaden her appeal by bringing elements of pop-rock to her latest album, Outlier.

Interview: Parker Millsap

28 September 2021

With his fifth album, Be Here Instead, finally available, Parker Millsap can’t wait to play the new songs live in front of people. We talk about touring during a pandemic, trying new writing methods, and working with producer John Agnello.

Interview: Robert Levon Been

10 September 2021

What started off as a request for one song turned into an entire album’s worth of music for The Card Counter soundtrack by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club frontman/guitarist Robert Levon Been. The request came with some challenges as Levon Been explains in this conversation.

Interview: Rhydian Dafydd (The Joy Formidable)

8 September 2021

The Joy Formidable’s Rhydian Dafydd intended to spend a few months with his bandmate Ritzy Bryan in Utah to record new music. Eighteen months later, thanks to the pandemic, with Into the Blue written and recorded, Dafydd was able to return to the U.K. for a little break before jumping into the tour cycle.

Interview: Steve Wynn

2 September 2021

Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate, Gutterball, The Baseball Project) checks in to report on his backyard and living room house tour covering 16 shows in 17 days.

Interview: Jakob Dylan (The Wallflowers)

20 August 2021

The Wallflower’s first album in nearly a decade, Exit Wounds, finds Jakob Dylan returning to his Americana roots with a collection of songs produced by Butch Walker. Dylan talks about recording, lyrics and The Monkees in this conversation.

Interview: Walter Schreifels (Quicksand)

16 August 2021

Quicksand’s second full-length release in the last four years now equals the output from the NYC post-hardcore band in the mid-90s. Singer/guitarist Walter Schreifels shares how grateful he is to be reunited with his friends after once saying that Quicksand would never reunite.

Interview: Steve Berlin (Los Lobos)

4 August 2021

Los Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin talks about the band’s new covers album, Native Sons, and shares how he got into playing in bands back when he was a teenager in Philadelphia.

Interview: Dot Allison

30 July 2021

Dot Allison has returned with her first album in over a decade, the hauntingly beautiful Heart-Shaped Scars. Dot shares why she took a break and how she’s been honing her songwriting skills.

Interview: Brett Newski

23 July 2021

The stigma surrounding mental health is something we often are afraid to talk about. Brett Newski has found a way to lighten the topic and share his experiences through not only his music, but also as the host of the Dirt from the Road podcast and as an author/illustrator.

Interview: Hunter Pinkston (The Pink Stones)

20 July 2021

After spending his teen years playing punk rock, Hunter Pinkston discovered Gram Parsons and the rest, as they say, is Americana history. With well-crafted songs, and a founding member of Drive-By Truckers as part of the lineup, The Pink Stones signed to Normaltown Records and released their critically-acclaimed debut earlier this year.

Matt Hinton, Director

Interview: Matt Hinton (Director, Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury)

14 July 2021

Director Matt Hinton’s documentary about the Georgia band Luxury, sometimes described as Morrissey-fronting-Fugazi, is full of twists and turns including a nearly-fatal auto accident and three band members becoming Eastern Orthodox priests. Hinton shares how the film came together and some of the challenges he’s faced in getting people to give it a chance.

Assertion

Interview: William Goldsmith of Assertion

5 July 2021

Drummer William Goldsmith (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft, Foo Fighters) opened up about where he’s been the last decade and how forming the band Assertion has reignited his passion for sitting behind a drum kit.

Interview: Jesse Marchant

25 June 2021

With some acting experience under his belt, Jesse Marchant’s music often takes on a cinematic quality, as do the videos he makes to accompany his singles. Marchant’s latest release, Antelope Running, paints beautiful pictures with rich and complex instrumentation and wistful vocals that are easy to get lost in.

Interview: Faye Webster

24 June 2021

Already four albums into her career, 23-year-old Faye Webster’s newest release, I Know I’m Funny haha, is a collection of real-life experiences from the lifelong Atlanta resident’s last two years set to a unique mix of pop, jazz, R&B and alt-country. And, it’s special enough to have caught the ear of a very important person who named “Better Distractions” one of his favorite songs of 2020.

Interview: T. Hardy Morris

22 June 2021

T. Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate, Diamond Rugs) set aside an album he started recording in early 2020 and wrote a band new album, The Digital Age of Rome, influenced by the rapidly changing world we all found ourselves in last year. We talk about the album as well as take a walk through his back catalog.

Joe Bourdet

Interview: Joe Bourdet

17 June 2021

Southern California’s Joe Bourdet is the first to acknowledge the critical role that mid-to-late ’70s singer/songwriters – whose music, these days, fills dollar bins at the local record store – played in the development and recording of his outstanding debut album, Meadow Rock.

Superbloom

Interview: Superbloom

14 June 2021

Brooklyn’s Superbloom are bringing mid-90s grunge back with raspy vocals and fuzzy guitars. Learn how the members of the band first heard grunge, the names they tossed around before settling on Superbloom and what it was like working with Will Yip on their debut album, Pollen.

Interview: Jim Ward

10 June 2021

While the pandemic put a halt to any plans Jim Ward may have made for promoting and touring to support the new Sparta record, the singer/guitarist has kept busy by hosting an Instagram interview series and writing and recording a solo album which is out now.

The Allman Betts Band

Interview: Duane Betts of The Allman Betts Band

8 June 2021

Coming this month, The Allman Betts Band will be performing three unique livestream shows – one will be all acoustic, the second will be playing the 2020 release Bless Your Heart in full for the first time, and the third will be a set of Allman Brothers classics. Guitarist/vocalist Duane Betts talks about releasing two albums in two years, the summer Spirit of The South tour, and what it was like playing shows in 2020.

cleopatrick

Interview: Luke Gruntz and Ian Fraser of cleopatrick

4 June 2021

With a sound comparable to modern rock bands like Royal Blood, Muse and Death From Above 1979, the Canadian duo cleopatrick, made up of guitarist/vocalist Luke Gruntz and drummer Ian Fraser, have gone from basement shows to the Lollapalooza stage in a short amount of time. Learn more about the young band leading the “New Rock Mafia”.

Bizou

Interview: Marisa Prietto of Bizou

3 June 2021

Without the ability to play shows in early 2020 to support their newly released EP, stillifeburning, due to the pandemic, L.A.-based Bizou used the time to write and record a full-length debut, Tragic Lover. Singer Marisa Prietto talks about the band’s formation, how the songs come together, and how having a former member of Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt helps with the buzz.

Trade Wind

Interview: Jesse Barnett of Trade Wind

24 May 2021

There may have been a silver lining to 2020. Singer Jesse Barnett was forced to take time off the road with his band Stick To Your Guns and use it to write and record with his electronica-based project, Trade Wind. For someone who makes a living screaming, Barnett showcases his gentler side with compelling results.

Silver Synthetic

Interview: Kunal Prakash of Silver Synthetic

19 May 2021

Guitarist Kunal Prakash of Silver Synthetic shares how the pandemic set the band’s Third Man Records debut back a year and discusses the rock scene of the band’s home town of New Orleans.

Interview: Noah Lekas

14 May 2021

Poet Noah Lekas shared five entries from his first book, 2019’s Saturday Night Sage, with musicians and filmmakers and gave them free reign to create their own interpretations of his poems. How that all came to be is just one of the highlights of a recent conversation with the talented writer.

Interview: Morgan Wade

11 May 2021

Though her debut album has some twang, Morgan Wade’s music doesn’t fit snuggly into the country genre, there’s much more to it. We talked about defying genres, working with Sadler Vaden (Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit), and her impressive collection of tattoos.

Michigander

Interview: Jason Singer of Michigander

5 May 2021

Everything Will Be Ok Eventually is the perfect title for an album written, recorded and released in the midst of a global pandemic. Jason Singer reveals Michigander’s origin story, his thoughts on Spotify, and best and worst tour experiences.

Andy McFarlane of Far Lands

Interview: Andy McFarlane of Far Lands

30 April 2021

Not many artists wait until their late 30s to start their music career, but that’s exactly what Andy McFarlane did when he released 2017’s Oh What An Honor, Oh What A Drag. In this conversation, we talk about his late start, what took him so long, and his new album, There Be Monsters.

Death from Above 1979

Interview: Death From Above 1979

14 April 2021

With the latest Death From Above 1979 album, Is 4 Lovers, Sebastian Grainger and Jesse Keeler took on the production responsibilities for the first time. In this conversation, the duo talk about how that went and how the delay in release due to the pandemic allowed them a second chance to get things right.

Dead Poet Society

Interview: Jack Underkofler of Dead Poet Society

2 April 2021

Singer/guitarist Jack Underkofler says his band, Dead Poet Society, tries to keep things fresh and never write the same thing twice. The band’s debut, – ! –, defies categorization – it’s modern rock with elements of many different genres throughout the songs.

Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum

Interview: Michael C. Hall, Matt Katz-Bohen and Peter Yanowitz of Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum

22 March 2021

The Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum trio, which includes actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under), keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen (Blondie) and drummer Peter Yanowitz (Wallflowers, Natalie Merchant, Morningwood), shares how Hedwig and the Angry Inch brought them together and how they went about writing their debut album, Thanks for Coming.

Electric Jesus

Interview: Chris White (writer/director) and Daniel Smith (songwriter) of Electric Jesus

1 March 2021

Chris White (writer/director) and Daniel Smith (songwriter) discuss the inspiration behind both the Electric Jesus movie and the soundtrack which is loaded with ’80s Christian hair metal original songs.

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Interview: Aaron Lee Tasjan

22 February 2021

Singer/songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan shares how he avoids the trappings of being easy to classify, how moving to Nashville was one of the best things he’s ever done, and has some fun answering questions about the “Thank You” credits on his new album, Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!.

Teenage Wrist

Interview: Marshall Gallagher and Anthony Salazar of Teenage Wrist

14 February 2021

Marshall Gallagher and Anthony Salazar provide some insight into the new Teenage Wrist album and how a lineup change gave the duo a chance to bring new musical ideas to the table.

Lilly Winwood

Interview: Lilly Winwood

29 January 2021

For an artist who spends a lot of time on the road and whose songs are written while traveling, it seems a bit unfair that with a recently-released debut album to promote, Lilly Winwood is stuck at home due to the global pandemic. The young singer-songwriter discusses how it’s both a blessing and a curse

Dale Crover

Interview: Dale Crover (Melvins/Redd Kross)

21 January 2021

Dale Crover (Melvins / Redd Kross) talks about his new release, Rat-a-Tat-Tat!, shares how he wound up being in multiple bands with bassist Steve McDonald, and how he’s discovering new music while spending time at home, rather than in a tour van.

Interview: Ben Kweller

14 January 2021

With a surprise January 1 new album drop, Ben Kweller has delivered a perfect 8-song, 28-minute pop masterpiece. He shares the reason why Circuit Boredom clocks in under half an hour as well as spilling some Spotify playlist secrets and the magic of email marketing in this engaging and entertaining conversation.

Interview: Travis Johnson of Activity

6 January 2021

If there could be an official soundtrack to 2020, Activity’s debut, Unmask Whoever would be a worthy submission as it’s dark, cold, paranoid and, at times, creepy. Travis Johnson shares how the band formed, what they are trying to accomplish, and what the future holds.

Interview: Emma Swift

18 December 2020

Emma Swift discusses how it took a global pandemic for the world to hear her interpretations of Bob Dylan classics and deep cuts, shares what it’s like as a touring artists to pivoting to singing into her laptop camera, and gives her thoughts on another singer with the same last name.

Bob Forrest - Thelonious Monster

Interview: Bob Forrest of Thelonious Monster [Part 2]

14 December 2020

Bob Forrest talks about how Thelonious Monster reunited for the outstanding Oh That Monster, how the songs came together, and how “Sammy Hagar Weekend” will forever be the band’s most well-known song.

Bob Forrest - Thelonious Monster

Interview: Bob Forrest of Thelonious Monster [Part 1]

5 December 2020

In Part 1, Bob Forrest of Thelonious Monster shares his thoughts on the current state of rock music and how the internet has enabled a culture that he isn’t particularly fond of.