The Gig Cartel - Artist profiles: The Jesus & Mary Chain

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The Jesus and Mary Chain

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Few bands have had such a huge effect on musical culture as The Jesus and Mary Chain. Their attitude alone, dressed in black, angry with the world, playing short sets drenched in feedback, set the bench mark in the post Sex Pistols music scene of London. Their seminal debut album Psychocandy would go on to change the course of popular music channeling the sneering angst and noise distortion of the live shows into hypnotic sweet melodies layered with dark lyrics that would beguile and bewilder. Released into the world, The Jesus and Mary Chain became the darlings of the British press, as they searched to find the owner of the post punk crown in the mid 80s. With strong Velvet Underground influences and a despondent but melodic wall of noise, they went on to become the inspiration for such critically acclaimed bands such as My Bloody Valentine in the early 90s. The band formed in East Kilbride, a wasteland on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland in 1983 around the writing partnership of the Reid brothers, William and Jim. They soon moved to London and their ‘win or die trying’ attitude and thrashing guitar sound was brought to the attention of Alan Mcgee and Creation Records by Bobby Gillespie, vocalist with another Scottish band, Primal Scream. The first single ‘Upside Down’ was released and Gillespie joined the band as drummer. Gillespie pursued the Velvet Underground, single snare and floor tom sound that became prevalent on the recording of the Psychocandy album. In stark contrast to the adrenalin fuelled 15 minute live shows, that often ended in violence and riot (as the Reid’s inflammatory interaction with the thrill hungry crowd saw them provoking utter chaos) the slow throbbing noise pop Psychocandy album spawned such classics as ‘Just Like Honey’ and ‘Some Candy Talking’. The Jesus and Mary Chain got picked up by US college radio and amongst the heavy rotation playlist a North American tour followed. The album Darklands was released as the tour ended in more chaos following Jim Reid’s arrest for allegedly assaulting a member of the audience in Canada who heckled him. In 1994 the album ‘Stoned and Dethroned’ was released, and a single taken from the album ‘Sometimes Always’ featuring Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star, was a hit. They showcased the song on The Late Show with David Letterman bordering on a mainstream American breakthrough, in true Mary Chain style, it took another four years to put out another US album: ‘Munki’, released by Seattle’s Sub Pop (original home of Nirvana, who were huge fans of the band) A succession of well documented break ups, fuelled by brotherly love and internal tensions followed as William took up residence in Los Angeles and Jim returned to the UK. The brothers came together in 2007 to perform at Coachella Music Festival, to be joined on stage by Scarlett Johansson, for the ‘Just Like Honey’ hit. In 2012 the band embarked on a series of North American dates, during which, Jim revealed that he and his brother had written songs for a new album. ‘We have a bunch of new stuff, there’s been this album that everyone has talked about’. Following the band’s reacquaintance with Creation Management in 2014 , they played a series of shows and festival dates across the globe in 2015, the 30th anniversary of Psychocandy.

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