The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band that revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim Reid and William Reid. From East Kilbride in Scotland, the JAMC released a constant string of albums, singles and EPs until their demise in 1998. The band reunited in 2007.
The initial line-up, formed in 1984, was augmented by bassist Douglas Hart and drummer Bobby Gillespie. Gillespie played standing up in the manner of the The Velvet Underground's Maureen "Moe" Tucker.
The Mary Chain's early gigs have become the stuff of legend in underground circles. Playing in front of small audiences, the Mary Chain earned their notoriety by playing very short gigs, some lasting no more than 10 minutes and consisting of a constant wall of feedback and distortion, as well as playing with their backs to the audience and refusing to speak to them. Many shows culminated with the Reids trashing their equipment, which was often followed by the audience rioting. All of this delighted manager and Creation Records boss Alan McGee, who obviously found it very easy to get attention for the band.
Their debut single Upside Down in 1984 was on Creation, but the following year they signed to the WEA-backed Blanco-y-negro. Who released their debut album, Psychocandy, which fused together the Reid's two primary influences, the guitar noise of The Velvet Underground with the '60s pop leanings of Phil Spector and The Beach Boys. The record received unanimously positive reviews and is now considered a landmark recording.
Gillespie left the band before next album, Darklands, to front Primal Scream, he was briefly replaced by John Moore (later of Black Box Recorder, before former Biff Bang Pow! drummer Dave Evans.
Albums in brief -
# Psychocandy (November 1985)
# Darklands (September 1987)
# Automatic (September 1989)
# Honey's Dead (March 1992)
# Stoned & Dethroned (1994)
# Hate Rock N' Roll (1995)
# Munki (June 1998)
Plus the following - (sessions, singles, b-sides, live recordings et cetera)
# Barbed Wire Kisses (April 1988)
# The Sound of Speed (1993)
# 21 Singles (2002)
# BBC Live in Concert (2003)
# The Complete John Peel Sessions (2003)
For Sub Pop they recorded 1998's Munki album, which would turn out to be their last before splitting the following year. The album is often thought of as sounding 'divided' due to the Reids' crumbling relationship, Jim Reid recalls: "Me and William weren't really getting along at all. That last year we barely even spoke. Munki is one of my favorite albums, but it was really divided. William would go into the studio with the rest of the band and record while I wasn't there, and then I'd go in with them when William wasn't there."
William Reid recorded as Lazycame, whilst brother Jim formed Freeheat who disbanded in 2003. Jim Reid is currently recording solo material and he has, to date, recorded and released one single Song for a Secret which was released on Transistor Records.
Like some of their influences such as Dee Dee Ramone, Lee Hazlewood, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, throughout their career the boys were rumored to have ongoing substance abuse issues, which may have contributed to their notoriety. They reportedly dabbled in regular use of things like amphetamines and heroin, which made for lyrical reference in songs like Some Candy Talking and the album title Stoned & Dethroned.
Despite not having huge commercial success, they've gone on to influence a range of other music groups such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Butthole Surfers, My Bloody Valentine, and Spacemen 3.
The Jesus and Mary Chain reunited to play at the Coachella Festival on April 27, 2007, followed by two more shows in Spain at the Summercase Festival. More shows followed in late 2007 and early 2008 in London.
Calling themselves 'Sister Vanilla' an LP, Little Pop Rock, was released in 2007 and reunites the brothers along with their sister, Linda, singing on most tracks.
Richard Thomas (drums 1988-1990)
Ben Lurie (bass/rhythm guitar/backing vocals 1989-1998)
Steve Monti (drums 1990-1995)
Matthew Parkin (bass 1992)
Barry Blackler (drums 1992)
Nick Sanderson (drums 1993-1998)
Mark Crozer (rhythm guitar 2007-now)
Loz Colbert (drums 2007-now)