Nick Snyder-vocals, guitar, piano
Mark Solomich-vocals, guitar, piano
Adam Shash-bass, vocals
Josh Sickels- drums
The first time Josh Sickels met Mark Solomich, things didn’t go so well. “I couldn’t stand him“, says Sickels, the drummer for The Takeover UK. “I don’t really remember when we met, but I probably didn’t like him either,” recalls vocalist/guitarist Solomich. Bonding over punk rock, somehow the two 15 year olds became friends. Sickels and Solomich played in various punk and hardcore bands in their hometown of Pittsburgh throughout their formative years, though never in the same band. According to Solomich, “Sickels was a singer, if you can call it that, and I was a drummer back then”.
Eventually, Solomich moved to Boston to go to school. Around the same time, Sickels began playing drums with a moppy-haired kid two years his junior, Nick Snyder. Banging away nasty, blues-drenched rock and roll, the two formed The Revolvers and started gigging around Pittsburgh. Snyder, though younger, had rock and roll in his blood. His dad Gil had played piano in notorious hometown blues-rock band, The Iron City Houserockers. “I tried to get away from rock and roll, but in the end, it just wouldn’t let me”, jokes vocalist/guitarist/pianist Snyder.
Throughout the next three years, Sickels and Snyder honed their gritty raw sound over countless shows. Meanwhile, Solomich was in Boston, writing countless songs and trying to put a band together. “It was rough”, jokes Solomich. “I couldn’t find anyone to play with. No one ever seemed to work out. But I guess things work out, just not how you imagined them to.” The future members of The Takeover UK seemed to be on two separate roads that would never intersect. “I planned on never moving back to Pittsburgh. It just didn’t seem like the ripe ground to start up my grand idea of a rock band”, says Solomich. He had no idea that back in Pittsburgh, Sickels and Snyder shared the same vision.
“I was home and Sickels told me to come see his band play at some barn out in the country,” recalls Solomich. “I went not expecting much. I didn’t even know Sickels could play the drums.” What he saw changed his future plans. “It was downright primal, they were beating on their instruments like madmen, but the sound that came out, you can’t just copy that. It was the real deal.”
Inspired, Solomich went back to Boston and started recording demos with a young producer he had met, Matthew Lee. Over the next year, the two would record in every rag tag apartment and basement in the Allston neighborhood that would let them in. A stroke of bad luck would eventually lead to a breakthrough.
One frigidly cold winter night, Solomich was walking home after a long, drunken recording session with Lee. “We had gone to get some drinks after recording all night, and you know, one drink turns into a slew and next thing we know, we’ve been thrown out of every bar we’d walked into”, says Solomich. The trains no longer running, and all out of cash, Solomich decided to walk home. At some point, he passed out in the snow. Awaking hours later, he couldn’t feel his hands. His skin was blue.
He made it home, barely escaping hypothermia. “It’s not my proudest moment”, says Solomich. The cold must have had some strange effect on him. As soon as he got home, just as the sun was coming up, he picked up his guitar and wrote two songs. He and Lee recorded them the next weekend and he sent them to Sickels and Snyder. These two songs “Damn Tryin” and “Boy, You’ve Got A Lovely Sister” would become the birth of The Takeover UK. Sickels and Snyder flipped out upon hearing the songs and immediately asked him to start a band as soon as he graduated. Solomich agreed and one month later, the day he moved back to Pittsburgh, The Takeover UK had their first practice.
With long time friend Adam Shash joining them on bass and vocals, the four gelled. “Nick and Mark were just writing, hands down, better songs than anyone else around. It was a no brainer to start playing with them”, says Shash. With Shash’s exceptional McCartney-esque style and pitch perfect falsetto harmony, The Takeover UK jumped right into things.
Practicing incessantly and especially focusing on their three part harmonies, they quickly began to make a name for themselves. In March/April, they embark on their first US tour with The Juliana Theory, Zao, and Open Hand. Together for barely 7 months, the future is just opening up for them. “It’s what we all want to do”, says Shash.
And the name? “Oh, it’s kind of a joke. I had this idea of taking things over, and just added the UK cause someone already had the name”, says Solomich. “Don’t believe him,” smiles Sickels. “It’s after that Jay-Z song”.
Damn Tryin single - self-released 2004
Distant Shores single - Strike Two Records
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