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R.I.P. Tommy Tee, New Model Army manager and friend of Big Takeover / Issue 63 on the stands

27 December 2008

I hope everyone had a good holiday.

I had one for sure, in the snows, cold (17 below when we landed in Helena a few days ago), and brilliant white mountains of Montana.

But the joy is tempered somewhat by the shocking news of the heart attack death on December 23 of longtime New Model Army manager Tommy Tee, who did more for one individual band than anyone I’ve ever seen, and did it for years and years and years. (He ran their business from top to bottom and went on the road with them as a tour manager and overall handler.)

Moreover, Tommy was always a tough advocate for the band who was contrarily nice to the band’s supporters, myself included. Tommy liked Big Takeover a lot, truly respected that we understood as well as he did how incredible New Model Army are and have been for nearly 30 years, and was also kind to my late band of the earlier ’90s, Last Burning Embers, on the dates we opened for NMA some years ago.

I am completely saddened to think he leaves behind not only a band that will be sorely tested to take over their affairs from here, having lost their right hand, but also his hundreds of friends of which I was only one, and most of all, a wife and three kids (ouch ouch ouch).

In the season of family and friends, by all means enjoy the ones you still have, as you never know…

In any case, the best of holidays and wishes for the new year for all, and hopefully I will see you all in 2009.

Jack Rabid
Bozeman, Montana airport (leaving now, post-holiday – man, Chico Hot Springs is stunning).


P.S. Although it is now too late to order Big Takeover subscriptions or the current issue or back issues or t-shirts or CDs as an X-mas gift (unless of course, your friends don’t mind late presents, and if so, we’re glad to help!!), it’s right on time for those who want to use their holiday funds on a gift for themselves that keeps on giving… Or for birthday or “whatever” gifts. Or just because you would like to read the new issue and/or those to come! Sure, why not!

So here’s the reminder that the new issue 63 is out. And here is again the full info, with some spicy sample quotes from its pages:

Our brand new Fall/Winter issue 63 with the Death Cab For Cutie cover is now out on the stands! You can still order on our secure online store with Visa or Master Card by
clicking on the “subscribe now” button to the immediate left of this text. Just let us know if you want to start with #62 (R.E.M. cover) or the brand new #63 (Death Cab For Cutie cover) or with #64 in the spring,

Remember, two-year, four-issue subscriptions are just $20 ($32 overseas and Canada), about 23% off the newsstand price including taxes, and our other stuff is even less. Good values in these leaner times!

For our other stuff, just click on “back issues,” “cds,” or “tshirts” to the immediate upper left of this text.

Our t-shirts come in three colors (black, white, and dark red) and six sizes (four men’s, two women’s—the shirts are only $12, even including postage!), all but two of our back issues are still available (if your friends like a specific band we’ve featured; and there’s always the mega-deluxe gift, the complete set of all of our 63 issues to date, including the two that are out of print!), and we are also offering used, good-quality CD copies of the three out of print SPRINGHOUSE CDs from 1991-1993 as well as sealed, new copies of EVEN WORSE, LAST BURNING EMBERS, DOUG GILLARD, NON-LINEAR THINKERS and EDP!

(Best of all, we are now also selling the brand new—first album in 15 years!—SPRINGHOUSE limited edition, 550 copies Bruce Licher-designed letter-press deluxe art package CD, From Now to OK, which would also make an excellent gift!

See why Paste magazine gave it an 86 out of 100 in their new issue on the stands, at Or hear a few tracks at Or you can order “pay what you want” downloads of the new album at as well!)

For those without a credit card who want to mail us a check made out to “The Big Takeover” for a subscription or other gift check (using the prices on our store), that would be possible too, but you’d have to hurry. Here’s the address:

Big Takeover Magazine
1713 8th Ave. Rm. 5-2
Brooklyn, NY 11215 USA

In any case, there was a lot of information on our new issue 63 in my last email a month ago, repeated and updated below with some sample quotes if want to know more.

Hope you all buy not that it’s out! And/or hope you subscribe, as that is still by far the best way to support the print magazines you love if you want them to keep going. It means a lot to them!
And on behalf of myself and our entire staff of friends at Big Takeover, we wish you a cool New Year too!

IMPORTANT: If you are a subscriber and you need to update your address, please tell us. Send updates to me at

Here, again, is what’s in the issue:

Death Cab For Cutie (cover) • Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten, Pt. 2 • Fleet Foxes • Spiritualized • Sloan • Feelies • Devo • The Zombies (Chris White & Hugh Grundy) • Band of Holy Joy • Mudhoney • Rock Writer V. Vale (Search & Destroy, RE/Search), Pt. 2 • Top 50 Reggae LPs, Pt. 2! • MGMT • Calexico • Deerhunter • Dropsonic • Everest • Frightened Rabbit • Joey Cape/Lagwagon • Jealous Girlfriends • Jason Ringenberg • Corleone Records


“Look, I recommend this business, I do, to anyone who really cares about, and thinks they have, ideas that matter. But don’t get involved in pop music if you just want to be famous. It’s not the place for vacuous idiocy at all. It’s severe. It’s terse, tense, bitter, and ultimately, no one you meet in this business is your friend. Not one of them. They all want to replace ya.”—JOHNNY ROTTEN

“I was a kid then, too! And that seems to be missing from people’s psyches. They seem to look back to us as I am now, thinking, ‘Oh that smug git.’ [It was] fucking hard to have to deal with what I basically saw as an incredibly dandelion pompous manager, who had no perception of anything at all other than his own ego; inappropriations, self-aggrandizement, and absolutely manipulated by a savage fashion-fake called Vivian Westwood.”JOHNNY ROTTEN

“That’s ‘Petey Townshend.’ Petey’s short for ‘pedophile.’ There’s no “research” in children being manipulated by adults. And I’d like to clear this up. Now, I’m not moralistic, alright? That word’s been applied to me from time to time, I have a sense of values. Morals are too close to a religious attitude for my liking.”-JOHNNY ROTTEN

“Sid [Vicious] was a great friend of mine, and I miss him dearly. But we worked on very different wavelengths. Not at all the same person. Not in any respect, at all. He became instantly, desperately lonely in that band, as indeed I was. As indeed all of us were, I found out since. We were deeply wounded people. Glen [Matlock] is too, so there’s my sympathy for that. I understand it. Glen was the victim; I mean we all have been.”JOHNNY ROTTEN

“Plans may end up seeming like more of an anomaly, I guess. It’s not as though I’m not proud of it, or I dislike it, but it feels really different to me now, like us trying on a whole new wardrobe and picking pieces of it that were working. But then stepping back into what we were more used to wearing.”-DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE

“The second thing [engineer Geoff Emerick] recorded [with The Beatles] was “Tomorrow Never Knows.” And those drum sounds; that was a lot of him not really understanding how the shit worked! You just put something [mic] close to the kick drum and cranked up the compressor so it didn’t destroy the tape, and that’s the moment that changed recording history. That’s one of many!”DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE

“You win through history, and that’s the fight I’m hoping to win, too. I’m waiting for—well, you’ve always been good to us—but I’m always waiting for my apology Mojo issue, devoted to all of our records!” [loud laughter]-SLOAN

“A lot of Canadian bands were probably bitter with our success in 1992! With Geffen signing us after we played a dozen shows, and others had made some cool-sounding recordings and tried to make it for years—and we got all this attention. There was a definite pre-Nirvana/post-Nirvana world, and we were able to take advantage of the timing. And we had journeyman bands opening for us back then—we felt guilty about it for a couple of years!”-SLOAN

[on longevity:] “I don’t know what other factors go into not being able to do it anymore. Is it just you lose your hunger? You get married? You have kids and don’t care about the band? I don’t even understand why bands would have a quality drag, anyway. I probably had less time to put into it, because I had a kid this year.”-SLOAN

[We found] you can’t be popular and have people ‘get’ [your concept]. Like Bob Dylan, when he finally had a Top 40 hit, there’d be all these horrible guys drinking beer singing ‘like a rolling stone.’ The very people we’re talking about who were intolerant to the outsider, the fringe people, the artists, and the losers, and yet they’re all singing that! But he could never be popular if it required understanding what he was saying. So something else happened.”—DEVO

“Anything that Reagan did is such kindergarten compared to the last eight years. It is so frightening. The deed is done. You know, it’s over! This is it! They did their dirty work; they got rid of the last bastions of democratic process. Now America is just a corporate, feudal state. And he [Bush] sold us out. He’s raped and pillaged with his friends and has given all this money to his oil buddies. The man is a travesty; a menial, mean-spirited subhuman monster who is empowered by the fact that our society has now become like the Mike Judge film Idiocracy.”—DEVO

“In America, one more myth: a classless society. What a ****ing joke. And anybody who tries to bring up class is a ‘commie,’ a sour-grapes person. It’s fantastic how effective propaganda has seeped into the very people who are being the most tricked. Like when you look at ghetto culture, how they love to wear big corporate logos and emblems—they’re like sandwich-boards for the corporation! And the corporation is not paying them to advertise—they’re paying to get that shit! Sometimes literally killing to get it, to wear it and advertise. It’s insane.DEVO

“At Maxwell’s, there were people crying, they were just so happy! For a lot of them, it’s their youth. They said, ‘I was 19 or 20 years old’ and whatever was happening in their lives, they’re revisiting. It’s like our parents listening to Benny Goodman.”-THE FEELIES

“Van Dyke Parks wrote about a month ago, saying if we ever wanted string arrangements, give him a call. It was pretty bizarre! I don’t think that he understood that he inspired me, and was kind of responsible for the band in some obtuse way. And then he emails offering us help!”FLEET FOXES’ ROBIN PECKNOLD

“You knew you were engaged in a massive, collective, cultural revolt. You were trying to find the most subversive material of ideas that you could. Punk culture was about everything that was taboo, and just trying to investigate it for ourselves. And in San Francisco, it was also quite political and, for a lack of a better word, intellectual, because we were looking for critiques of society beyond what we could find in the mainstream media. Because there are none in the mainstream media. And black humor, too, which is to me, one of the main things about punk.”-V. VALE, SEARCH AND DESTROY MAGAZINE (1977-1979), RE/SEARCH PUBLICATIONS (SINCE)

“The Bush administration, they are just liars and criminals. They’ve stolen the country away and given it to their rich friends, basically. And sold all the workers a bill of goods and taken away their jobs and sold them overseas. Everyone’s supposed to work at McDonald’s as a burger flipper, or something. Punk was very dark humor and very much trying to uncover the worst possible motives for everything, and that hasn’t changed at all. I think you can probably read those old Search and Destroys and they’re probably surprisingly still relevant!”V. VALE

“The real origins are these little communities, such as the community that produced Search & Destroy. It wasn’t just me; it was a bunch of people on the same wavelength that were always turning each other onto the same books and records and magazines and traveling and surrealism. It was a radical cultural investigative assault team!”-V. VALE

“It’s a sad story. There was a TV program called ‘NBC Weekend’, and they did a special on punk rock. It seemed to highlight violence in a bad way. Literally the next night, there were a thousand teenaged boys in white t-shirts acting out some real violence. It was kind of horrifying. These kids were so violent that the first thing to disappear were all the beautiful punk women. Who wants to go and just see a bunch of guys? Not me! It hit the fan so fast, that those of us who’d been there for years didn’t know how to meet anymore.”V. VALE

“When we finished recording Odessey & Oracle, we felt it was the culmination of everything we wanted to do. Rod and I felt very pleased with our first production—for us it worked. Then nobody wanted it! It has only become popular in the last 15 years so. At the time we thought it was a commercial failure and that reality was one of the main reasons we split up.”-THE ZOMBIES

“Great being in Abbey Road! Lots of rehearsals before recording. Three songs—usually—in three hour shifts. Excitement and hard work. We had to work fast within our £1.000 budget. We were very happy listening back to the mixes—on acetates in those days. It was all recorded on 4-track machines, the same as The Beatles, and we were lucky to have [Beatles engineer] Geoff Emerick as one of our engineers.”THE ZOMBIES

“The music I love most is stuff that sounds like it was accidentally recorded, like someone just happened to press the red button while these people were making their music. And so much of what is big in music, what you get to hear about, is made specifically to be in the industry of music. It’s all down to the fact that you can produce a record out of something that has no idea, no song, no style, no sass, no savvy, no nothing and you can still produce it and someone can con people in that thinking that they’re getting all of that.”-SPIRITUALIZED’S JASON PIERCE

“We played a party in the Vienna Opera House to celebrate Kurt Waldheim’s birthday. All the dignitaries of Europe were there. But just before, Waldheim’s Nazi past had been exposed. We came out on this revolving stage. Johny started singing, ‘Kurt Waldheim is a Nazi bastard, Nazi crook…’ The organizers were like, ‘Get them off the stage!’ and the stage suddenly began revolving the band back around!”—BAND OF HOLY JOY

Rabid: Goodbye George Bush, Hello Financial Crisis; Where is the Angry Right? * Ackerman: Record Industry Bust and the Baby Boomers * Sommer: The Rich Kids, The Professionals, PiL, and the Lost Legacy Of The Sex Pistols

Live Reviews
Baby Lemonade • The Black Watch (/Jason Falkner) • Death Cab For Cutie • Devo • Rob Dickinson • The Effigies (/EDP/False Prophets) • Don McGlashan (Crowded House/PS22 choir) • New Model Army • R.E.M. • Rogue Wave · Sam Phillips • Sloan • Swervedriver • Astrid Williamson • Wire • Hippiefest (Jonathan Edwards, Melanie, Turtles, Joey Molland/Badfinger, Eric Burdon & the Animals

Hundreds of CD Reviews
American Music Club • Baby Lemonade • Bad Religion • Belle & Sebastian • Billy Bragg • The Breeders • Busy Signals • Gene Clark • The Coast • The Clash • CSNY • Darker My Love • Ray Davies • Decemberists • Rob Dickinson • D.O.A. • Everest • Fatal Film • Fleet Foxes • Franz Ferdinand • Futureheads • Goo Goo Dolls • Ideal Free Distribution • Iggy & the Stooges • International Jetsetters • Neil Halstead • Billie Holiday • Jan & Dean • Rick Johnson reader • Damien Jurado • Love • Magnetic Morning • Colin Meloy • Mercury Rev • Mogwai • Motorhead • Willie Nelson • Oasis • Pas/Cal • Robert Pollard • Sebadoh • Section 25 • Ron Sexsmith • Skybombers • Sleepover Disaster • Patti Smith & Kevin Shields • Smithereens • Snow Patrol • Stereolab • Subhumans (Canada) • Supergrass • Matthew Sweet • T.S.O.L. • Vancougar • Velouria • Wire • Wolf Parade • and more!