1) The new Fall issue 59 of The Big Takeover (with THE DECEMBERISTS on the cover) was shipped out to distributors, stores, and subscribers a few weeks ago, so it should be on the shelves of your favorite local emporium of the cutting edge rock press (If not, please ask them to order us!) and arriving this week in your homes if you’re a U.S. subscriber (if it’s not there yet, it should be there momentarily). If you have it already, hope you are enjoying it and let us know what you think.
And for those who haven’t seen it and aren’t subscribers, just below are a couple indicative juicy and interesting quotes from the interviews in this issue, to give you a good taste if you haven’t seen it as of yet. Hope that will entice you to pick up a copy! It would me! (We will post more quotes from the issue next week on the homepage.)
And don’t forget that if you prefer—or if you want to more directly support our magazine and help keep us going—you can always order the issue directly from us, or subscribe (or renew your subscription, or order back issues, t-shirts or our CDs), right here at
And need we say a subscription makes a perfect holiday gift for your music loving friends and relatives! Hint hint!
2) “Succumb to The Big Takeover”: Our magazine lauded by an unlikely web source:
Though I’m not sure we truly are a “music nerd omnibus” (that’s rich!!), we’re both very amused by such a suggestion and this rather kind writeup in general from a place we wouldn’t have expected, The Idolator.
Very cool!!! Thanks!!!!
3) Thanks to all those who came to our recent party, and a quick announcement about CDs connceted with that before we tell you about the new issue.
The headline act of our party, New Zealand’s truly terrific DON MCGLASHAN, sold a few dozen of his new first solo CD Warm Hand (my #2 pick in the current issue #59). But he had some of them left over, so he gave them to us to sell to anyone who couldn’t make the event but wanted copies. These usually retail at around $25 via New Zealand import, but we’ll offer the small remainder on our web site at the same domestic price he sold them for him at the party, $15 (includes postage). These can be ordered from us right here at
but you should order quickly as our tiny stock may not last and it seems doubtful we can get more from 9000 miles away.
Likewise, we’ve gotten some emails from folks who have heard correctly that we were selling copies of the SPRINGHOUSE CDs at the party, since our singer/songwriter MITCH FRIEDLAND was one of the opening acts. All three of our CDs have been unfortunately out of print on Caroline Records for about 10 years; these copies are used CDs our friend HERB JUE has collected for us over the years since, from the used bins of America and from the net, mindful of the quality of the discs and packaging. We will also make these available right here on our secure online store at
(1991’s Land Falls and 1993’s Postcards From the Arctic will also be $14 including postage, and 1992’s Eskimo EP with three non-LP b-sides is $6 including postage) along with our usual CDs by DOUG GILLARD, LAST BURNING EMBERS and EVEN WORSE. Needless to say these CDs are extremely hard to find, but we’ve always been sorry they went out of print and are glad to offer them here when we have some. And for those enjoying the songs on the CD I often send out to first-time readers, this is your chance, probably your only one, to hear all the other songs that were on those albums/EP.
Anyway, here’s some of the fun in our new issue, just a small sample of its 228 pages-again, in stores now, or available from us! And as ever, please tell your friends about us! That’s particularly helpful, and just like when we started in 1980, we still think that word of mouth is the only honest form of “hype” or plain old publicity.
And thanks again for supporting our humble magazine!
SOME BIG TAKEOVER, ISSUE 59 HIGHLIGHTS:
THE DECEMBERISTS: “This record is certainly the oddest and the most uncharacteristic record we’ve done. Because that’s where we’re at, four records and two EPs into our career, messing with the formula a bit. There’s a little bit of a precedent in the form of our The Tain EP [based on an old middle ages lyric poem], which peaked my interest about writing in a longer form and being more elaborate and ambitious in the arrangements.”
THE DECEMBERISTS: “Both The Tain and The Crane Wife-those just came from working at a book store, being around books and randomly grabbing at the spines on the shelf. One happened to be an eighth-century Irish poem, the other an illustrated kids’ picture book. And there’s something exciting about looking more Eastern for influence than a lot of Western ideas.”
THE DECEMBERISTS: “We were all kind of consummate music fans and not just tied down to one kind of music. We don’t just want to churn out acceptable indie rock. I think it’s exciting to delve into each of our own personal influences and put them onto record.”
THE DECEMBERISTS: “I’m really profoundly lucky, and it’s astounding to me on a daily basis. Sometimes you lose track of it and you b**** about it—about dealing with the industry and the label stuff and tour stuff. And you kind of get away until you remember when you were six years old and people would ask you what you wanted to do when you grew up, I said this. I wanted to be a singer in a band.”
SONIC YOUTH: “We’ve always thrown down the pop hits, but we usually destroy them before they get to the record. All of our songs are really just these little pop rock nuggets, but then we ultimately completely destroy them.”
SONIC YOUTH: “People coming out of art school or the visual arts and making rock ‘n’ roll was very significant for all of us. And we were part of that lineage, so the whole thing was trying to dispel the notion that there’s a certain template to being in a rock band. Some people think if you’re utilizing different art disciplines then it devalues it as pure rock, and we wanted to turn that around because it’s total bull. Punk rock to us was all about creative artists from different worlds coming together and taking over rock ‘n’ roll.”
SONIC YOUTH: “The funny thing is, except for the very early wave of rock people like Chuck Berry and Elvis and Buddy Holly, almost all the great rock music was being made by people coming out of art school. Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, The Who—they were art students before they formed bands. Their music didn’t sound like Teenage Jesus & the Jerks‘art-school music, but at the time it was a really extreme and radical take on Chuck Berry music. That was all due to having greater concerns.”
FIERY FURNACES: “I think that rock bands should play rock music live. Personally, I’m prejudiced against bands that have balloons and backing tracks and what not. Although I love The Flaming Lips and it’s cool that they do that, for other bands it would be much harder to pull off.”
FIERY FURNACES [On touring ancients, Rolling Stones]: “They’re better men than we are. We’ll be very lucky if people still want us to play. Never take it for granted that people are going to want you to play.”
JELLO BIAFRA: “Part of what made the ‘70s so stale was not just the dumbing-down of the music into adult rock, soft rock, country rock, and, worst of all, disco, but also people were smelling somehow that the ‘70s were really, really stale. Anybody nostalgic for that era obviously never went through it. They were so nostalgic, Happy Days was one of the most popular shows on television for years. You know, “Life was so much cooler in the ‘50s, Fonzie’s so cool.””
JELLO BIAFRA [On opening for The Clash]: “I jumped into the crowd, and came back on stage with nothing left but my belt, a little bit of jeans where the belt loops were, shredded underpants, argyle socks, and, amazingly, my thrift store wing tip shoes survived. I did the rest of the show that way, and people told me that Bill Graham had to be physically restrained from coming on stage to punch the **** out of me.”
JELLO BIAFRA: “I always tried to cultivate an intelligent audience in Dead Kennedys, and part of being intelligent is staying curious and open to new things and not just wanting to be spoon-fed the familiar. I’m still a [music] fan, you saw me in that record store; I’m always out for new sounds and anything, no matter how old the recording is, if I haven’t heard it, it is new to me. I have to hear new stuff all the time.”
LONG BLONDES: “I think I stole my look from Faye Dunaway in [the period film] Bonnie and Clyde but no one ever notices ‘cause I’m not blonde! I love Anna Karina in the [Jean-Luc] Goddard movies and Lauren Bacall in [1946’s] The Big Sleep. And then there’s Jarvis Cocker, but no one ever comments on that either ‘cause I’m not a boy.”
LONG BLONDES: “We used to b**** and whine about not being signed and not having time to do gigs because of our day jobs. Now we b**** and whine about not having time to do any washing because we’re too busy doing gigs and recording!”
LONG BLONDES: “I worked in education, and I actually quite enjoyed my job! It was a huge relief to be able to quit and do the band full time, though. It felt like we were living a double life. My colleagues and the students were starting to ask for autographs, so I knew it was time to leave.’”
SYLVAIN SYLVAIN, NEW YORK DOLLS [On watching Bob Gruen’s old Dolls films on DVD, given the deaths of four of the six members and the lack of chart success]: “Painful and joyful simultaneously. In every aspect, we’ve been blessed and we’ve been cursed. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Otherwise we would have been boring.’”
SYLVAIN SYLVAIN [On Johnny Rotten blaming himself for Sid Vicious’s death]: We should all blame ourselves, past, present, and future, because this thing [ego-bloated rock star heroin addiction] happens and it happens again.”
SYLVAIN SYLVAIN: “That poor Nancy Spungen, we brought her from Philadelphia. She was one of those poor souls that couldn’t find her way, and no one ever wanted to take her home. She was still hanging around at last call. [Ouch!]”
SYLVAIN SYLVAIN: “The reason we wound up with Mercury [Records] is that they were the only company that did not come to see us!” [laughter]
FRANZ FERDINAND, PT. 2: “Mom’s such a completist—she buys anything [Franz Ferdinand-related]! I think she’s on Google Alert or something … so she knows everything. She reads all the bad reviews as well. I don’t want to listen to that! The New York Post said I was an incompetent drummer, and I was down for, like, two days!”
FRANZ FERDINAND, PT. 2: “There’s a lot of [bad] stuff that gets appreciated at the time then gets forgotten afterwards…like Loverboy. That’s my worst fear: That we’ll be the Poison of our time!”
FRANZ FERDINAND, PT. 2: “We set up a fan club and do things for competition winners or fan club members. Last year, we did a gig for friends in a small venue in London and they weren’t interested in watching us! [laughter]”
HIDDEN CAMERAS: ”[On the U.S.:] Yeah, I can’t wait for the change [in power], but I can’t see a revolution on the horizon. People are so entrenched in apathy spawned by capitalism and the mass media that there’s no way … unless some demagogue comes along on the left..”
HIDDEN CAMERAS [on being openly gay]: “People will say it doesn’t define who I am. It defines everything you do! Every molecule in your body is sexual. You can’t reduce your sexuality to five percent of who you are. It’s all together. I don’t how people can compartmentalize their lives like that!”
RICHIE FURAY (BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD/POCO) [On Buffalo Springfield’s 1968 breakup]: I don’t think it was too much, too soon. We had problems, obviously. There were three Canadians in the group, one of whom [Bruce Palmer] had trouble with substance abuse, and he ended up getting deported all the time. And then one of the other guys [Neil Young] couldn’t decide if he wanted to be in the band or not, and he was looking out for what was best for him at that time. So it was hard to keep that band together for more than two years.”
RICHIE FURAY [On playing the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival]: “I was just coming off of some tonsillitis, so it was not only the fact that Neil [Young] wasn’t there, but then the fact that I was physically run-down—it was a tough experience. But man, was it also an eye opener! Seeing Jimi Hendrix, seeing The Who, and Otis Redding. Such great groups playing. And boy, it was the psychedelic launching pad. It was something else.”
THE BATS [On the Flying Nun label bands]: “I think they were original and distinctive enough for them to really strike a chord with people who were hearing them overseas. And people were discovering it, and it seemed like something very different and very new. A lot of albums came out, so it was quite a big musical movement, I guess.”
THE BATS: “Now people are acknowledging us, they suppose there was something really special going on, and so they’re acknowledging that in the reviews and stuff. And they’re kind of gobsmacked that we’re still going with the same line-up after 23 years. And so we get good press and we get played on the National Program, which is the sort of main New Zealand-wide government radio.”
NEIL INNES (RUTLES/BONZO DOG DOO DAH BAND): “Before I went ahead with [The Rutles’ second album] Archaeology, I went down to see George Harrison to see what he felt. His actual words were, “You should milk it for all it’s got.” I said, “I don’t want to do that, George.” He said, “Well, I don’t call [a Rutles LP] every 18 years milking it!”
NEIL INNES: ”’To rutle’ should be verb transitive: ‘to copy or emulate someone you admire, brackets, especially in the music business.’ The Beatles were Rutles, because they listened to Eddie Cochran, and Gene Vincent. They wanted to be like them. And Mozart rutled.”
SAINT ETIENNE [On writing songs without playing an instrument]: “The thing is, we probably get ideas the same as any other songwriter. You know, you’re sitting on the bus and you got a tune in your head, it’s easy to go home and like hum it into a Walkman quickly. And then take that to the studio. All three of us do.”
SAINT ETIENNE: “It was completely different over here. And humorous things happened. Like for “Like a Motorway” [from 1994’s Tiger Bay], Warner Bros. asked us to change it to “Like a Freeway” so they could release it over here! It was almost like a caricature of non-understanding American major labels.”
NICK GARRIE (HAMILTON): “I had a kind of change of life four years ago, and I retrained to be a teacher. Part of the training was to learn the computer, which I hate. Anything technical, I can’t stand! I was just ****ing about one day, and I typed in “Nick Garrie” [into a search engine], really as a joke. Because it’s a name I haven’t used since [his first LP], The Nightmare of J.B Stanislas . Anyway, up popped Stanislas, and there were pages and pages of it! [looks stunned]”
NICK GARRIE (HAMILTON): “I hadn’t listened to Stanislas. I never liked it, as you know! That’s why I never kept it. Lucky for me my stepfather kept a couple of copies. Anyway, offers came in, but they all wanted [to reissue] Stanislas, that was all they were interested in. I said, ‘Look, I’m a singer, I’m still writing songs, and I still sing. I sing the bloody Stanislas songs better now than I ever did when I was a kid!”
NICK GARRIE (HAMILTON): “Fairport Convention, no I didn’t know them. Bert Jansch, I went to see him. He was too good. I had never seen anybody play like that! That just made me depressed, so I went away [loud laughter].”
PERNICE BROTHERS: “Music has played a very large part in my life. I know, what comes through in my tunes is a self-centered snapshot of my own bent microcosm of sexuality [laughter]. Therefore, occasionally, I must kneel down and pay homage to the masters who’ve shaped my life. If The Clash had not made albums, I can’t quantify the degree to which my life would have been lessened. Same for other musicians, writers, filmmakers. They’ve changed me, and I’m grateful.”
ART BRUT: “We all thought, ‘Yeah, rock ‘n’ roll dream, let’s leave our jobs and be in a band [laughs]. And soon we were borrowing money off our families and friends. That’s why we’ve toured so much, because we can only afford to live if we’re on tour. I live in a very small bedsit in Kilburn; my suitcase doesn’t fit in it and I have to leave it outside.”
MAGIC NUMBERS: “I feel like everything that’s happened with the rise of the band, it just seemed so ideal, and natural and real. It’s just incredible to get the music out there. You see people in the crowd singing their hearts out, and you think, ‘Oh my God, I wrote that song at four in the morning when I was really upset, and here you are singing it.’ It’s amazing!”
FUTUREHEADS: “There were countless bands that would try and reignite the flame of Britpop with their music, still living just a few years too late for it to be relevant. It got to be a bit of a sad, depressing state. We wanted to do something that was going to be completely different. So, we took away the solos. We did all of our stuff as purely a reaction.”
STEVE WYNN [On the 1989 breakup of Dream Syndicate]: “We sounded like we were about to become repetitive. And we weren’t having that much fun. Bands get to that state and can continue for another 10 years, and we could easily have done that. We were doing very well and were popular. But at the same time it had become a drag.”
SNOW PATROL: “We’ve been through every possible scenario. There’ve been many moments when we thought about packing it in. It seemed like we were banging our heads up against a brick wall. I think bands have to go through that sort of trial to get any satisfaction out of having success. ‘Cause when it’s handed to you on a plate you simply don’t know how to appreciate it.”
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO: [On surviving Hepatitis C:] “In the past, we were always drinking. And it was more foggy or fuzzy. But everything is sharper or more focused. Without sounding new-age, a lot of people who have quit drinking say something similar. I feel better now; better than even before I was sick. The western medicine made me sicker, I was prescribed Interferon with Ribavirin, and they’re steroids. I didn’t like the side effects, like hopelessness, erratic behavior; skin turns a funny color from the toxins… after six months I could feel I was dying again. So I had to discontinue and I started taking Tibetan natural medicine that helped me more.”
FREEHEAT (EX-JESUS & MARY CHAIN): “The Mary Chain was in our blood. The JAMC was Jim [Reid] ’s life for 15 years, mine for nearly a decade, and Nick [Sanderson] drummed with us on and off since 1992. But when you’re making a record, you shouldn’t be worrying about ‘Does this sound like this?’ You just make the best sounding record you can.”
CALEXICO [On Convict Pool]: “It’s a strong EP. We were doing an interview with [NPR’s] Terry Gross for Fresh Air, and she was kind of surprised that it wasn’t an album. I had to remind her that it’s a collection of bonus tracks and B-sides!”
PHOENIX: “When you write in French, you have to over-think the line, but in English, not knowing where I’m going makes it easier to find lyrics. For the first time, when you look in the crowd, people sing along [to every song]. For me, it’s a crazy feeling that you write songs in a language that isn’t yours, and you see that. It’s the most overwhelming… I don’t know how to put it into words…”
HAPPY HATE ME NOTS: “I can freely admit to being obsessed with both Paul Weller and Pete Townshend at various stages. From Weller, I sussed that you don’t have to have words that rhyme! From Townsend I picked up the sense that rock music is important in the world, has integrity, and is an emotional thing. Once you have those things folded neatly in your back pocket, you are really gone for good! ”
DENVER BANDS: “I think [Denver’s relative isolation] is what makes and breaks the scene. If you talk to a lot of local bands, they’ll list other local bands as influences because we’re so tight and watching and learning from each other. But at the same time, because we’re so far removed, a lot of people feel that the scene has not gotten the credit that it deserves. It’s insulated. There aren’t a lot of record producers coming through looking for bands.”
RABID EDITORIAL: “The thing is, CBGB was not only smack in the middle of all The Bowery’s former violence and insanity, and its dingy confines a perfect example of the area’s 150-year history as America’s Skid Row, but that craziness and decrepitude was part of punk; it couldn’t be separated from it. That’s why CBGB happened there, and “there” happened to CBGB, before the area got cleaned up in the 1990s. It wasn’t just the low rents that brought the punks to the Bowery club, or starving artists to the East Village in droves, it was the general gone-mental aspect of the place for decades on end that fueled the art itself. Thus, the Bowery as it was for so long, with its hardscrabble denizens and conditions and sordid history, wasn’t something that was just quaint or sensationalist. CBGB’s relationship to and its evocation of its squalid surroundings, where anything could happen, was a most visible modern expression of the art of the underclass—which the blighted Bowery area inspired and made possible—that once again ultimately came to affect people all over the globe. The whole world wears CBGB t-shirts recognizing this.”