The Big Takeover

Interview with NeeNee Rushie of the Big Takeover

The ska/soul band will play a string of dates in New York state in November 2017.

Story by Kelly D

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New Paltz-based sextet the Big Takeover will bring their unique blend of Jamaican ska and eminently danceable soul music to the Haunt in Ithaca, NY on Friday, November 17th, 2017. Led by powerhouse Jamaican-born NeeNee Rushie, they’ll be joined by ska/punk band ¡Viva Mayhem!, who will open. Doors open at 8 and the show begins at 9. Tickets are $10 in advance, $13 at the door, and can be purchased at this link. LMNR recently spoke to Rushie about the band’s unique sound, their influences, getting a little help from their fans, and more.

LMNR: How did the band form?
NeeNee Rushie, frontwoman of the Big Takeover: 10 years ago in New Paltz, I met the original drummer and current/original bass player. I had moved from Jamaica to go to college in New Paltz. I became friendly with these two guys, and realized that we had similar interests. We loved reggae and all forms of Jamaican music, I loved to sing, and they were already playing in local bands. Sam (drummer) and Rob (bassist) decided that we needed to start a band. So that’s what we did. We looked around for the best guitar player in town, Sam’s cousin Andrew (trombone) came on board, along with him came his childhood friend Chas (saxophone), and we started writing songs and playing shows. People liked it, and within a couple years, The Wailers came to town. We were asked to open the show. We never stopped playing.

LMNR. How long have you been around?

NeeNee Rushie, photo by Neil Segal Photography

Rushie: Since 2007.

LMNR: Why pick New Paltz as a home base?
Rushie: New Paltz is where we all met and started playing shows. Now, only 1 member lives in New Paltz, but we all did at some point.


LMNR. How did you get your signature sound?
Rushie: We interpret styles of music that we like. The Jamaican tradition means a lot to us all, so we use that sound as a guideline. We like music from the 60s and 70s and a little 80s, many styles from those eras. So we have incorporated those styles and genres into our music. We love to make music that inspires happiness, so we try to maintain a happy sound.


LMNR: Who are your biggest influences?
Rushie: Anything out of Jamaica from the 60s or 70s. Sharon Jones  and The Dap Kings, The Slackers, The Specials, The Skatalites.


LMNR: Future plans or goals?
Rushie: We want to bring our music to whoever is interested in hearing it, no matter where on the planet they are.


LMNR: Biggest accomplishment(s) to date?
Rushie: We recently toured to Washington State. Getting to visit all those cities and see this beautiful country together really stood out in our history.


We have shared the stage with many amazing and legendary acts: The Wailers, Jefferson Starship, The Slackers, Beres Hammond, Inner Circle and more. . .


LMNR: Any fun tales from the road?
Rushie: So many! From having a hand-operated windshield wiping system in a rainstorm, to being stuck in a hurricane, to having Rob (bass) fixing the engine of our van while our drummer keeps driving (we were late, and the van needed to be in motion to be fixed???), to running out of gas, pushing the van to a gas station, running out of manpower to get it over a hill and in the last minute, a fan sweeps up and gives us that extra push we needed. . . I could go on!

See the Big Takeover at the Haunt in Ithaca, NY on November 17th, 2017.

The Big Takeover’s Upcoming Tour Dates:

November 11th – Funk n Waffles Music Hall supporting The Buddhahood, Rochester, NY
November 17th – The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

November 22nd – 10th Anniversary Show at BSP Kingston (Back Room Theater), Kingston, NY

November 24th – Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
December 2nd – BSide Ballroom, Oneonta, NY