From 1978 to 1980, Michael E. Coones (ROADWORK, THE LAWMEN, ENGLISH LYONS, DANGER ALLEY, LOST CARNIVAL) played guitar in the Utah-based band JOKER with the likes of bassist James Anderson. JOKER gained some local and even national attention, but not to the band’s expectations. Michael and James were recruited by a movie producer to come play the Elvis Presley song, “Heartbreak Hotel,” on the set for the Scott Baio movie, “Freeway Outlaws.” That is where they met local drumming phenom, Chris Boudreaux (OATH, SOLDIER, RESTLESS BREED, BOUDREAUX, HAIL MARY), who was the consultant and drummer for the featured band in the movie. Michael, James, and Chris hit it off and saw immediate chemistry. They decided to create their own recording project that transformed into a live band. The band started to receive attention from venues and promoters. The band said they were getting “the take” (or as some would say “the edge”) with their new project, so they decided to call themselves just that: THE TAKE. They brought in Russ Millham who sang in Michael’s and James’s old band, JOKER, to handle vocal duties, but due to scheduling conflicts and demands made by the core members of the band (which led to many missed practices), Chris convinced Michael to take over on lead vocals. The trio put together five songs and then, in the later part of 1980, they entered the Bonneville Recording Studio to lay down those tracks. THE TAKE played a style of music that incorporated the New Wave melodic sound popular at the time while adding a hard rock edge that came from the band’s hard rock background. Their new sound become known as “Hard Wave.” As the band played out more, the crowds increased as did their local fame.
THE TAKE started to write more songs for two guitar parts and they brought in Mike Torres (JOKER) to take on lead guitar duties. Michael Coones continued playing rhythm guitar and fronting the band. THE TAKE entered Sensory Sound Studios in November of 1981 and recorded eight solid tracks. At this point THE TAKE was headlining shows and getting a lot of local attention. The band started to demand more time from each of the band members which became inconvenient for James who wanted to go to school to become a sound engineer. Ultimately, James left the band on good terms to pursue his career. Around the same time came the departure of Mike Torres. The band was on the search for a new bassist and also decided to bring in a keyboard player to round out the new look and feel of the band. Chris reached out to his old high school friends in Lex Williams to play bass and Arthur Hall (OATH) to take on keyboard and percussion duties.
Lex reached out to his friend Joey Wyatt who ran a local radio show called, “Mad Hatter’s Flight,” that primarily focused on punk and New Wave bands. Joey began to play THE TAKE and received a positive response from his listeners. Michael met Joey as the band toured Joey’s rehearsal studio. Michael loved Joey’s enthusiasm and ambition for THE TAKE and asked him to manage the band. Joey brought in Harold Russell to produce the band’s first music video for their song, “She’s Got What It Takes,” filmed at South High School located on State Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. The music video featured the wife of the band’s old guitar player, Mike Torres. The video aired on “Salt Lake Music Television” (Utah’s equivalent to MTV) where it received great reviews. Harold also became the music producer for THE TAKE under his company, “Forrest Productions,” and recorded the band in his studio.
Chris was DJing at a club called the Broadway in Salt Lake City. This brought more attention to the band and allowed them to make connections within the entertainment industry. The band signed a contractual agreement to play a large show in Provo, Utah, procured and agreed to by Chris Boudreaux and attended by well over one thousand people. The venue management was thrilled by the popular sellout and asked the band for an encore second night performance. Chris insisted that the band be paid for their initial performance before their second show. Michael’s excitement seemed to be more focused on a second night’s show. And as Chris had feared, the band did not receive payment and they sought legal action. This caused immediate tension between Michael and Chris that the rest of the band felt. Joey set up another show at the Indian Center in Salt Lake City, traditionally a punk and hardcore band venue, but the venue usually brought in a good-sized crowd. However, the chemistry for the show was no longer there. Michael asked Joey to fire Chris because of the tension. Chris told Michael he needed to focus more of his attention on his commitment to the Broadway social club and the obvious success it was bringing to them. Michael then informed Chris that he had already asked Joey to invite him to leave the band. Chris exited THE TAKE.
Shortly after Chris’s departure, Arthur left the band to complete college. These new vacancies needed to be filled and Joey reached out to his good friend and radio co-host, John Heath, a theater actor and fantastic keyboardist and songwriter, to join the band. Joey and John had a radio show called “The Mad Hatter’s Flight” and a production company called “Mad Hatter’s Repertory Theater.” John Heath joined the band as the new keyboardist as he and Joey had ambitious plans to use their company and radio influence to project the band to new heights. THE TAKE also brought in seasoned drummer David Jeddi to record the song, “Don’t Blame It on Love”, but David had no interest in touring and live shows. David did suggest that the band take a look at one of his students, Aiden Hardy (CONNIE AND THE RHYTHM METHOD), who was much younger than the rest of the guys but had more than enough talent to handle drumming duties. Michael reached out to Aiden and Aiden accepted Michael’s invitation to join THE TAKE. With the new lineup set, the band entered Forrest Production Studio and laid down several more tracks.
Joey and Harold were ready to create a few more music videos to help set the band apart from other local bands. The band and production team got together and turned a large chicken coup into a full-blown music video set for the song, “Don’t Blame It on Love,” which began with Michael waking up late at the start of a bad day. Michael hurries and takes off on his bike just to be snipped at by a golden retriever (which was unscripted, but completely fit with the video, so Harold insisted on leaving the clip in). The video also has several easter eggs in it, from the flyer, to the “Mad Tea Party,” to the goofy license plate on the Cadillac that matches the Volkswagen Beetle’s license plate on the BEATLE’S “Abby Road” album cover (LMW28IF). John had to improvise a little bit in the video as the set and layout of the video called for a keytar. Lex Williams had a right-handed Roland SH 101, but John was left-handed so he had to pretend to be right-handed for the video. The band got more than just local airplay with this video as it aired several times on the national MTV station. The video gave the band a bit more exposure so they decided to film their next video for the song “Breakdown.” This video, featuring Lisa Versteeg (SHOT IN THE DARK), a local icon in the Utah punk rock scene, was filmed at an abandoned hospital in Salt Lake City. The video had several challenges, ranging from having to bring in generators for power, creating a white room five feet off of the ground to allow the band’s hands to reach through and pull Michael out in his straitjacket, as well as keeping the cast and crew on task instead of exploring the many rooms of the eerie hospital.
Joey eventually pushed the band to move to Los Angeles to try and get a major record deal, but Michael wanted to stay in Utah and enter the battle of the bands under the name “KILLER KANE” to play straight up heavy metal. The rest of the band was not feeling the same way and that’s when John, Joey, and Aiden departed from the band.
Arthur came back from California after he completed his degree and rejoined THE TAKE. They decided to enter the 1984 battle of the bands which showcased many very talented bands from Utah and had them compete for studio time at Audio Vision Studio. THE TAKE ran into trouble finding a drummer so they convinced Aiden to rejoin them for the show. He agreed to do just the one show. THE TAKE put on a great show and surpassed many bands that commanded the scene for several years, taking second place right behind the heavy favorite to win, SOJOURN. The band left the battle of the bands with an added confidence and vigor. THE TAKE would recruited local drummer talent Marvin Dixon (JEZUS RIDE A RIKSHA, A BALANCE OF POWER, OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY), but his stay with the band did not last long. After his departure, the band had a photoshoot scheduled, but no drummer. Arthur reached out to his high school friend, Shauna Eskelson, to pose in the already paid for photoshoot but Shauna kept her back to the camera to hide her identity. Lex Williams soon grew tired of all the lineup changes and decided to focus on other endeavors and exited the band.
Michael decided to reach out to THE TAKE’S first drummer, Chris Boudreaux, to persuade him to come back and drum for THE TAKE. Chris was currently DJing with his co-DJing partner Aaron Thatcher at a local club called “The Broadway.” The Chris and Aaron show then moved to a rival club called “Club Xenon” and the crowd followed the charismatic show to the new club. The duo packed the house every time they put on their show. Chris agreed to join his old band as the drummer and the band then played the club “New Faces Roadhouse” on the very same night Chris DJed at “Club Xenon.” Christ juggled his DJ show as a solo headliner at Xenon and guest appeared often on various radio shows and local television programs including “Weekend Watch” and “PM Magazine.” Chris often pulled double-duty, rushing between clubs to entertain all the music fans in the valley.
After seeing Chris’s DJ performance at Xenon, Vancouver-based promoter, Lenard McMillian, known for such acts as “Cheech and Chong”, “Heart,” and others contacted Chris hoping to back the band. Lenard and Xenon owner, Ezio Valentini, were very impressed at Chris’s ability to stroke the crowd’s emotions while he DJed. Xenon was the largest social club in Utah, holding over one thousand people several nights a week. One night, Chris rushed over to “New Faces Roadhouse” after DJing at Xenon for a gig with THE TAKE, where Lenard and Ezio joined them along with additional label representatives. Lenard and Ezio left the show before the band could complete three songs. Lenard reached out to Chris the next day and told him that he was under the impression that Chris was the frontman of the band and not just the drummer. Lenard apparently would only back the band if Chris became the vocalist. Chris took this proposition to the rest of the band and it was unanimous that Chris should become the band’s lead vocalist, initiating an update to the band’s membership. THE TAKE reached out to the owner of “New Faces Roadhouse,” Jimmy Fassler (MERCURY, FIRING LINE, THE HEARTBEATS, KANADIA, PERFECT TOMMY), to play drums. Jimmy brought in his old bandmate, Jerry Voorhees (FLYER, SECRET, KANADIA, CAFÉ SOCIETY), to come play bass. Chris reached out to an old jamming friend in Brian Berger to come play lead guitar. The band was set and had new financial backing to launch them to new heights.
In late autumn of 1984, the band began to collaborate on a handful of songs. Arthur brought a song he had been working on called “Boulevard.” Chris and Brian brought in a song they had written together previously called “Baby Don’t Leave” that fit in with the band’s other songs. And Chris and Mike had written an anthem for “Club Xenon” titled “Xenon” that the band did their own rendition of. Mike had a song titled “Young Girls in Love” that became one of the crowd favorites. With five songs between them, they entered Skaggs Telecommunications Studio with their new financial backing and recorded the five songs. The band released these tracks on a cassette titled “Get Taken” which received local praise. The band continued to play out and gain popularity. THE TAKE won some studio time at Audio Vision Studios with Sam Foster (THE OSMONDS) who convinced the band that he could work their five songs with bigger and better production. The band re-recorded the five songs and were very pleased with the fuller sound that Sam was able to put together.
As the band gained more and more traction, Chris received a larger portion of the spotlight. This caused a little bit of tension within the band as Mike hoped to shift back to frontman and went so far as to contact Lenard McMillian about his desires. Lenard informed Mike that there would be no reconciling the growing division in the band and opted to part ways with THE TAKE. Lenard then informed Chris that he had a decision to make; Chris could either stay with THE TAKE or continue to work with Lenard McMillian. Intrigued by the opportunity to bring in musicians from the band PALACE, Chris left THE TAKE and formed the band SOLDIER.
THE TAKE continued playing gigs under new management and with Michael back on lead vocals. The band scored a gig in May 1985 opening up for Coney Hatch. In fact, Coney Hatch lead guitarist and keyboardist Steve Shelski (GOWAN, CARL DIXON) borrowed Arthur’s Jupiter 6 synthesizer for the show. THE TAKE put on a great show and were met with much love from the crowd. As fate would have it THE TAKE parted ways with Jimmy, Jerry, and Brian. Michael and Arthur Hall searched for new members to revamp the band, they found a fantastic drummer who had just moved to Utah from Idaho named Dan Medley (HOMESTEAD, VAMP, HARLOT). The next to join the band was Janene Stewart who served as a second keyboard player. THE TAKE then recruited Craig Lund on bass to fill out the band. During this period, PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION and the popular movie, “Purple Rain,” significantly influenced the band. The band added more black, pink, and frills to their wardrobe. THE TAKE began playing out at the club Uncle Alberts where they became good friends with the band THE PEDESTRIANS that featured vocalist Bert White (ANGLE, INDECENT EXPOSURE, VICE) and guitarist Jim Robertson (RAGE, THE NEWS, THE TOOLS, DOGS DAY). The two bands played out together often and even joined each other on stage to do cover songs to get the crowd up and going.
The TAKE then brought in Charlie Hall, the younger brother of Arthur. Charlie added a second guitarist to the mix and brought an edgier side to the band, but he was only nineteen years old and was unable to play many of the age restricted shows (though the band would sneak him in as many times as they could). Due to his age, Charlie came and went from the band a few times over the next two years. Arthur and Charlie looked very much alike and were often confused as being twins. This resemblance caused an issue for Arthur when the band played a show without Charlie because he was too young. As Arthur approached the stage, two beautiful women confronted him and each took a turn slapping him across the face. They had confused him for Charlie who had apparently been dating both women. Though Arthur received a non-deserved wakeup call, he still went on to put on a great show.
In the winter of 1985, the band entered Audio Vision Studio and laid down the songs “Down for the Count,” “Turn Away Eyes,” and “Catrina”. THE TAKE continued to play live as they wrote and perfected the next set of songs to take into the studio. In the spring of 1986, the band went back into Audio Vision Studio and recorded the songs “Young Girls in Love,” “Alone Tonight,” and “Power of Youth.”
The band also soon added another member after headlining a gig at the club, “The Barbwire.” Before they went on stage, the band noticed local guitar legend, EJ Bell, who was known for playing in THE JACK, the biggest rock band from Utah at the time. THE JACK had just broken up and the band thought that he might be interested in joining another band. Craig approached EJ after the show and asked him what he thought of the show. EJ told him, as a longtime fan himself, that he thought they had a great set. Craig asked EJ if he’d like to join the band and EJ eagerly accepted. Michael and the rest of the band were ecstatic. EJ contributed guitar parts to the songs “Time After Time, “French Song,” and “Comes Now the Night.” The band entered the studio again in the summer of 1986 to record these songs, finishing up the album.
Michael and some of the guys took a trip out to Los Angeles to check out past bandmate Chris Boudreaux’s new band SOLDIER. Michael and the guys went to a few SOLDIER shows at Gazzari’s and the Troubadour. Michael had spent most of his childhood there in Southern California and really enjoyed the scene. After seeing Chris’s success, Michael decided he wanted to take the band to Los Angeles.
With the new album now complete, most of the band set out west to Los Angeles. Craig decided to part from the band to stay in Utah. The rest of the band moved into a house in Riverside, California. They needed jobs, a new bassist, and to get some gigs lined up. Charlie reached out to his friends Joe Infante and John Butler to see if they would like to join THE TAKE by taking over bass and lead guitar duties, but they were just getting their band ROXANNE off the ground, so they respectfully declined. Tensions grew as time went on and the band could not find jobs or quality gigs on the Sunset Strip. Dan eventually decided to move back to Utah and joined the band VAMP (later HARLOT). THE TAKE didn’t last much longer and the band members went their different ways. Over the years, THE TAKE has had many different lineups, expanding THE TAKE family. Even though members have spread out all across the United States, their friendships are still strong.
Michael and Arthur got together in 1993 and actually recorded some demo songs at Chris Boudreaux’s C.B. Studio in Chatsworth, California, that went back to the band’s roots. The sound was very similar to the recordings of “Hard Wave Heroes.” They called it “Second Wave,” but these songs were shelved until the band signed with Metallic Blue Records who have put together a series of albums to combine the band’s full collection of great songs for all their fans.
In 1997, Michael reached out to Chris and original bassist James Anderson to see if they wanted to get together and re-record some of their old songs with Chris and Michael switching off on vocals. They called this new project “Comic Book Rockers Never Grow Old.” James wasn’t able to meet up with Chris and Michael at C.B. Studios in Las Vegas, so the guys called up Chris’s old bandmate Brian Kirby (SOLDIER) to come fill in on bass and do a few guitar parts. They also got Dave Diggs to play keyboards on “First Offense of Love.” They released a small run of cassettes for the revamped songs which then closed the chapter on the band until Metallic Blue Records reached out to Chris and Michael to reissue all of their great recordings for the world to finally hear. Sadly, in 2006 Craig Lund passed away, the album “Pink And Proud” is dedicated to his memory.