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The Big Takeover Issue #94

Jeff Alexander

After many years of admiring rock journalism, Jeff Alexander decided it was time to make a positive impact with his written word. He first cut his teeth in the national pages with Hit List magazine, exposing the debates that raged across the music world with Napster‘s arrival. Once Hit List folded, Alexander joined the ranks of American Music Press in 2002 where he composed his most ambitious article to date back in 2010. In recognition of his dedication to journalism, Alexander was recently interviewed live on the “Screaming Woman Radio Show,” hosted by Toni Quest. Alexander now works with and is pleased to join the ranks of such a respected publication.

UltraBomb: Greg Norton's Leap of Faith for Punk

18 June 2024

“The songwriting took place very quickly with Time to Burn and the same with Dying To Smile. I think the excitement surrounding the band was simply the driving force for the fast output of music. I always loved punk and never thought it was dead or going to die out. The energy of the music is what keeps me young.”

Melanie Vammen: From Pandora To Tigerella

2 March 2024

“We wanted to keep it going because we realized how much fun it was revisiting those old songs and playing out together again. Sadly, we no longer have Paula or Kim but we just didn’t wanna stop. We booked and played some shows and the responses were great. It feels right and I feel alive!”

Ricky Byrd: Rock & Roll Lifer Pays Tribute to Jeff Beck

4 February 2024

“When we lost Jeff Beck last year I felt music also experienced a tremendous loss. He stands on his own among so many players and he just kept evolving. I feel his playing is so out of this world and I was crushed when I heard the news,” shared Byrd.

Boots N' Booze Vol. 4: Swingin' Utters

26 December 2023

Boots N’ Booze takes us through the wild parties the ‘Utters often played, history lessons of Santa Cruz Sharps, and the songwriting evolution of a band that can capture a pub’s gang chorus in one brazen stanza and turn the page to a poignant, introspective ballad just as fast.

Territories: Poignant Lyricism Driven By Melody

7 December 2023

“I believe punk continues to have a massive global appeal and it’s very special to get communications from people listening in Germany, Sweden, or Japan who have heard our message and felt compelled to reach out and share their stories with us.”

DieHumane: New Group Energizes Guitarist Rick Hunolt

8 November 2023

“I learned I can still express myself without relying on so many notes to communicate. In this group, I feel like I am discovering guitar all over again and despite playing for so long, I am noticing different things and I love that energy,” said Hunolt.

Girlschool: Rocking Their 45th Anniversary with New Record

21 August 2023

“I always felt we were too Metal for the Punk fans and too rock & roll for Metal. We created our own world of sorts. With this new record, so much time passed, I was like ‘What? You need another one of these?’ This new record sounds hard but natural to me. We still love writing together and playing out,” said Kim McAuliffe.

Den of Wax: DIY Record Shop Seeks To Catalyze Hudson Valley

14 August 2023

“Our space looks to have people stay awhile, hang out, and learn about music they may have normally overlooked. We wanna make it a destination spot for vinyl and music enthusiasts and give back to the communities that have been so welcoming to us,” said Matt Friedman.

Dave Smalley: Introspection and Passion Lead Don't Sleep

25 June 2023

“You cannot live in fear during creativity. There will sadly be people willing to cast you aside if you don’t fit their ideals or ethos but if your passion is organically expressed and you are creating with sincerity then you are doing the honest thing as a writer. I feel excited with this group and it’s the right time for me,” stated Smalley.

Steve Turner: Mudhoney Guitarist Pens Memoir

7 June 2023

“I ask how do you still remain creative? How do you fight stagnation? Remaining creative is my goal now. Mudhoney just put out Plastic Eternity and skating still means a lot to me. Music and skating are still very intertwined and it’s great to see the far-reaching impacts they both have. People still show up for Mudhoney and I still find inspiration playing these songs.”

Nita Strauss: Guitar Phenom To Release New Solo Record

14 May 2023

“I wanted the follow-up to Controlled Chaos to be exciting, new, and fresh, to take listeners to a new place and take myself somewhere new as an artist, too. We have some amazing collaborations on this album with incredible musicians, as well as the instrumental guitar music that first inspired me to play,” said Strauss.

Mudhoney: Plastic Eternity Marks 35th Anniversary

2 March 2023

“It’s interesting looking back at just how long we have been playing despite not exactly striving for anything career-wise. Whatever we choose to write or work to take a new direction, it always ends up sounding like Mudhoney because that’s our sound and it’s who we are,” stated Arm.

Lenny Lashley: Evolution With Five Great Egrets

28 November 2022

“This record feels very powerful and with a light at the end of the tunnel mentality. One of the primary purposes of songwriting is creating something that a listener identifies with, that they relate to. With the work I put in with this record, I’m confident I can evoke positive reactions,” stated Lashley.

Black Halos: Vancouver Punks Return with How The Darkness Doubled

13 November 2022

“With this record, I view it as more a passion project and I’m proud of how it came out. I feel it features my best writing,” said Jones.

Jeff Drake: The Joneses front man gives the straight dope in new book

11 September 2022

“It’s been a wild ride. From moving to SoCal at only 18 and meeting Olson and starting a group that came up so fast and almost getting signed; I’m grateful just for that because sometimes, I felt I didn’t deserve it. It blows my mind that people still cover our songs and that all these years later, people are still supporting us and that we mean something to people,” concluded Drake.

Antagonizers ATL: Punk Positivity Amidst Times of Uncertainty

7 March 2022

“We want nothing more than to have people come away with positive feelings from our band because we know everyone has experienced some kind of loss and pain but the power of music can help ease it,” said Zacharyj.

Sweat: Debut LP Offers Fiery Hardcore Evolution

16 February 2022

“I do music because it’s a passion, it moves me. I also work to contribute to make it better and create something that can be inclusive. Wrestling also challenges me and I’m hopeful my passion for it can make positive contributions to improve it. If I can make connections with people doing both, I know I’m doing something right.”

Sonny Vincent: Rocker Returns With New Record And Debut Book- Snake Pit Therapy

1 September 2021

“Asking for help and turning to people has also humbled me. I still have angst within me, as evident on the records but I do feel hope. To work and create something among all the rubble that is going on is very powerful and forever positive.”

Anthrax: XL Anniversary Retrospective

30 July 2021

“I’ve never been the type of person to say anything in life was easy, even Anthrax. My father had abandoned my family, for whatever reasons, when I was 10. Music was my outlet and it saved me. I knew music was something I HAD to do! I got tunnel vision very early and focused on nothing but that goal. Joining Anthrax felt like I had even more purpose and my family were supportive though I was really going thru a lot.”

Alex Skolnick: Versatile Guitarist Reflects on Enduring Career

14 June 2021

“Jazz offered me a whole new world and it was very exciting! I enjoyed the new challenges of improv. Why should I limit myself? It was certainly difficult at first and at times, felt like starting all over! I had technique, I could sweep pick, play fast but a lot of my other techniques I relied on didn’t transfer. The dynamics are totally different. The chords don’t transfer and the natural feel is a different level,” stated Skolnick.

Tomahawk: 20th Anniversary Brings Tonic Immobility

29 March 2021

“Tomahawk has always been this special place where we can play hard, heavy music and mix in expressionism with a vocalist who can do anything. Tonic Immobility is a statement we’re still around and still doing it. You can take life at your own pace. Sometimes, you just have to wait until the time is right.”

Shuffle & Bang: That Crossover Swag

18 February 2021

“From the moment we’re born into this world we have a natural, rhythmic beat; Our heart. The pulsing rhythm is just like drums,” affirmed Horn.

Black Halos: Tribute Single Sparks Reunion

12 December 2020

“It will be great to get back out but I am sure once on the road, I’ll laugh and say ‘Oh God, why am I doing this all over again?’ We always worked to play all-ages shows, why preach to the converted? We’re like a sick rock & roll cult that wants to recruit a new congregation,” laughed Hopeless.

Subhumans: Anger As Unity

30 September 2020

“In the face of futures postponed or cancelled, the underbelly of civilization shows itself in increased violence and racism while caution, politeness and caring are disregarded without a thought by those who feel freed to do so by the examples set by their leaders.”

Jon Zazula: Megaforce Founder Pens Memoir

9 August 2020

“It all began in a very grassroots way. This was their Metal, for the new fans. Not hokey rock and roll and it was the real thing. We worked to give these bands to the people that wanted more and were willing to support it,” reflected Zazula.

The Sounds: Things We Do For Love Ends Hiatus

26 May 2020

“I proud to say that I think we came back strong. I know it’s been awhile since the last record in 2013. I’m happy our fans our loyal because we never relied on radio, we relied on touring and with what has been happening it has been difficult. We’ve played together for so long; I have learned not to argue over childish stuff and just enjoy each other.”

Rich Jones: Have Guitar Will Travel

9 February 2020

“I don’t feel any burnout or pressure, more like being thankful that I’m still able to do this. Everyone gets along so well playing with Michael Monroe and we all realize that nothing is more important than the music. This is our livelihood and for me, it’s my only job so I make sure to do it at the highest level, no matter which group I am in,” stated Jones.

Idle Hands: Behind The Shadows

22 December 2019

“It’s high praise that people struggle to define us. I don’t want to be a Goth rock band or an exclusively Metal band. The longer I can hold people off from genre defining statements the better,” laughed Franco.

Territories: Punk Group Partners with Pirates Press to Address Youth Gun Violence

3 December 2019

“We’re not naïve in believing we’re the ultimate solution but this campaign is to make people understand that shootings and violence should not be an accepted, normal part of growing up,” stated Hegel.

The Hangmen: Country Punks Return With Cactusville

31 July 2019

“I’m proud of what we do and how this record turned out. There’s no mystery to what we do and we approach music not with some master plan or ultimate goal, except to take these songs and perform them the best we can. We always hope for some kind of response from people because even though songwriting is very personal to me, I’m still communicating with people.”

The Dogs: A Raucous Retrospective

23 June 2019

“How many people our age can just get out there and become relevant to a new generation? We don’t have any illusions of record deals and we’re thankful just to wake up every day and play rock & roll. How many people can be fortunate enough to say that?” said Molinare

Lenny Lashley: Strength & Vulnerability

16 April 2019

“I was moved by the actual words of the Statue of Liberty and was especially drawn to the message of inclusion. Our parents and grandparents came to this country from rougher lives and to start creating something new. People have the basic human right to work and create a better life for themselves and loved ones,” stated Lashley in his hallmark Boston accent.

The Ratchets: The Challenge of Simplicity

22 December 2018

“Guthrie said anything more than two chords and you’re just showing off. That’s a great sentiment because sometimes keeping things simple is the hardest thing to do,” exclaimed Engine.

Shattered Faith: Power To The Kids

18 October 2018

“I really am grateful for everything. As for the planned tour, I feel that if you’re touring you should be supporting a new record. Kerry and I will continue writing and we’re looking at recording next year. Kerry was the original catalyst for the band and he got my son and I into music. I forever love him like a brother for that,” concluded Bartsch.

Mudhoney: 30 Years On Top Of The Heap With Digital Garbage

24 August 2018

“I’ve never been the guy to say the newest record is the best. With Digital Garbage, I’m very happy with it because there has been some new dynamics. Dan (Peters) wrote a track and Guy(Maddison) added some synth. I know there might be a political statement or two in Mark’s lyrics but I don’t consider us a political band,” said Turner.

Street Dogs: With Purpose & Resolve

1 June 2018

“I was always raised to fight for my beliefs. My family goes back generations as being involved in unions and I’m still appalled at the ongoing disrespect toward the American worker,” he stated.

Beechwood: The Necessity of Rock & Roll

7 March 2018

“Our sound wasn’t planned or contrived in any way, we just play like we do because it’s all we know. With this lineup I feel this is the one; in it for life because this is really all we do,” stated Lawrence.

Doro Pesch: The Undeniable Force Majeure

3 February 2018

“People always ask how my new music will sound and I tell them, it’s me and will always have the power, passion, and energy. It’s a magical time and it fills me with joy to be able to do this every day,” exclaimed Pesch.

Chuck D. Hip Hop Ambassador

10 November 2017

“Rap and hip-hop always had a lot to say and back then social climates dictated what artists wrote. It did have a backing large enough at that point to call out injustices that were covered up by Disco, which focused more on partying. There was a climate of people suffering and I think artists made a supreme effort at that time to be different than stereotypes,” stated Chuck.

Lydia Loveless: The Authenticity Of Anger

16 October 2017

‘I talk about authenticity a lot and I don’t want to feel the more I mention it the less impacting it gets. There are many versions of someone’s persona when they’re part of the music or art world in general. I know onstage I feel I can settle into a character by using dry humor but I feel a lot of my songs rely on vocal melodies and that is what I don’t hide from,” stated Loveless.

Barrett Martin: Rejoicing With Singing Earth Memoir

16 September 2017

“When you take the time to look around you see the diverse ways people communicate within different cultures. With music, I understood that it didn’t have to have the end goal of being turned into something tangible, like a record but instead be utilized through musical storytelling to preserve a community’s tradition and values.”

SubRosa: An Acquaintance With Darkness

6 March 2017

“I like to think our music always has darkness but with small rays of hope. The world is a dark place but we do have positive messages without making light of it. If our music makes someone feel less alone then I know what I’m doing is still worth it,” affirmed Vernon.

Sulfur City: Talking Loud & Playing Proud

31 January 2017

“I remember how poor we were at certain times. My dad worked hard and he always made sure we had two things, books and music. I grew up listening to anything I could get my hands on, from Cole Porter to African rhythm records. I didn’t care what it was, as long as it sparked something in me.”

Juliette Lewis: Frenetic & Kinetic

27 December 2016

“I always felt rock & roll should be raw and dangerous. Playing live is an exorcism and really just a celebration of life; Owning pain, joy and emotion,” affirmed Lewis.

Michael Monroe: From ....Saigon Shakes To Blackout States

10 February 2016

“I’m never complacent. I always just try to get better and improve my work, which keeps me hungry and striving for greatness endlessly,” he concluded.

Frank Secich during his time with Stiv Bators

Frank Secich: Circumstantial Evidence And Other Rock N' Roll Truths

4 January 2016

“I still love everything about it. I guess quitting for awhile helped me get even more excited about music.I consider myself very lucky to be able to still write and I feel very free and more creative now than I have ever been. I’m going to ride it as long as I can,” laughed Secich.