For 30 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. and the original punk incarnation of the Beastie Boys. Not to mention Washington, D.C.’s Bad Brains, the members of which ushered in intelligent hardcore and, as some of the few unlikely black faces in the scene, were more fierce and politically aware than self-disenfranchised white kids.
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 well over 100 pages per issue since the late ’80s. There are no fashion layouts, no gossip columns, no masturbatory coverage of industry sleazefests like the Grammys. 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 special ability to make you want to read about a band even if you hate the music.
The Big Takeover has a website, but the hard copy still packs the bigger punch. In the new issue: The 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 30 years.