The Big Takeover

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The Big Takeover
Editor-in-Chief Jack Rabid
Categories Music
Frequency Bi-annual
First issue 1980
Country United States
Based in New York City, New York
Language English

The Big Takeover is a bi-annual music magazine published out of New York City since 1980 by critic Jack Rabid.[1]


The Big T usually appears in June and December, with most recent issues coming in around 200 pages. The review section, featuring Rabid’s Top 40 for the issue, is regularly 60-80 pages long. The magazine also features lengthy, in-depth interviews with favorite artists transcribed verbatim, sometimes stretching over two issues. In 2006, the magazine relocated to Brooklyn from the apartment on Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that was home to the magazine for 25 years.

Rabid is known for championing what he calls “Music with Heart.” This could consist of any kind of music that requires attention, regardless of trends or popularity, which results in magazine covering a diverse mixture of independent and major label bands from punk to electronica to slowcore. The magazine has been criticized for having a limited scope, mostly because of Rabid’s personal dislike of hip-hop and rap.


Jack Rabid and Dave Stein began publishing The Big Takeover as a fanzine dedicated to New York punk band The Stimulators. The title of the fanzine was taken from a Bad Brains song. The first issue was a one-pager, printed front and back, photocopied and given out for free at local punk shows. Stein left the fanzine to Rabid after one issue and Rabid has remained the dominant creative force behind the magazine since.

Fanzine to magazine[edit]

The Big Takeover moved from the more primitive fanzine style to the black-and-white, stapled magazine style around issue 26 in 1989. During this period, Rabid worked during the day and was still doing most of the writing, and all of the layout work and advertising sales. Other notable contributors to the magazine in the early days included former MTV personality Tim Sommer. During the first half of the 1990s, The Big Takeover began using professional layout design and by the end of the decade had become a semi-glossy color magazine. Circulation is currently around 15,000.


In 2003 Rabid and longtime Big Takeover contributor Jeff Kelson launched Pink Frost/Big Takeover Records, initially releasing two albums: former Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard’s first solo album Salamander and Last Burning Embers’ Lessons in Redemption, featuring Rabid on drums. The label has continued to sporadically release albums, mostly by New York-area groups, as well as distribute albums that are not in print in the U.S., such as Don McGlashan’s Warm Hands.

In 2005 The Big Takeover launched a redesigned website featuring contributor’s blogs, top 10 lists and a large forum area. The website was relaunched with a new design and organization in July 2010.

Anniversary Concerts[edit]

"The Big Takeover" celebrated its 30th anniversary with a two-day music festival in July 2010 at The Bell House, a venue in Park Slope, Brooklyn. For Against, Mark Burgess and The Avengers were among the acts who appeared.

An earlier Big Takeover anniversary party in April 2001 at Giorgio Gomelsky’s in Manhattan featured a rare live performance from Alternative TV.


External links[edit]