Wednesday, November 18, 2015


The Jesus and Mary Chain took on half the world from their little underground with the beautiful noise of their distorted black mood.  Brothers Jim and William Reid started the group in East Kilbride, Scotland in 1983 and recorded demos on their own Portastudio unit.  The rhythm section of Douglas Hart and Murray Dalglish came together the next year and they developed a sound that was washed in feedback and harmonic distortion.   They relocated to London where they were signed to a one off deal on Creation Records by  Scot Alan McGee.   Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream took over on drums when Dalglish quit.   Their debut single "Upside Down" b/w a cover version of Syd Barrett's "Vegetable Man" became a number one sensation on the UK independent chart.    The success led to a deal with WEA-subsidiary Blanco y Negro Records.  'Psychocandy' was recorded at Southern Studios in Wood Green, London  with  Jim Reid and William Reid on vocals and guitar, Douglas Hart on bass, and Bobby Gillespie on drums;   with   Karen Parker and Laurence Verfaillie on backing vocals.   The Jesus and Mary Chain handled production with engineer John Loder.   "Never Understand" was engineered by Flood with  assistant engineer Alan Moulder.

William waxes:   "Yeah, it was noise, but it was the most beautiful tenderness. It was this thing that just sorta happened. I don’t think I will ever feel that sort of like…almost like a dream feeling again in my life...When it comes to The Jesus And Mary Chain, I write most of the lyrics and the music. But when it comes to making the record, I kind of like to say to my brother, Jim, “Hey, is this gonna be a fast song?” He’s kind of like… The vibe guy? Well, kinda. Yeah. He kind of knows how it’s gonna be. ‘Cause I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, it’s gonna be really fast,’ and Jim’s like, “No, no, no.” Like Just Like Honey. When I wrote that I was thinking like “DEE DUH DUH DUH DUH DUH!!!” And Jim was like, “No, bring that down a bit,” and I was like, “No, Jim. No, Jim. You don’t know.” And he was like, “Please, please, please, just bring it down a bit.” He was right. He was totally right. He was like, (sings softly) Listen to the girl as she takes on half the world. So he won. So he won... I was kind of the singer in the beginning, but when I sang, I kind of used my nasal voice, and Jim kind of uses his throat, like, really cool. And it was like, “OK, Jim, you’ve gotta be the singer,” and he was like, “No, I won’t do it.” And eventually everybody was like, “Come on, you f**king bastard. You must do it.” So he reluctantly became the singer."

Jim says:    "I remember we had quite a professional attitude towards the recording process. People probably imagine that we just fell into the studio off our tits and made a record, but there was no drink and drugs at that time in the studio. We went in there and just set about making a record as well as we could. In later years, recording would be a very, uh, fucked-up affair, but at that time, we had quite a professional work ethic...The punk thing was a massive influence on the Mary Chain. After that, we got seriously into the Velvets and the Stooges. We weren't very into what was going on in music in the Eighties. The bands that didn't make us want to puke back then were the likes of the Birthday Party or Echo and the Bunnymen. Actually, it was the crap coming out of the radio that made us want to be in a band more than anything else, because it was like, "Why is everything we hear so fucking awful?" That was the main driving force: how bad things were...When we started the band, we could barely play and in some ways you use the guitar in a more interesting way because when you don't know how to play it, you make noise rather than music...That was just chaos. It just suggested itself. We wanted the guitars to be as out there as possible. We wanted a fucked-up, distorted sound, and we had these pedals that we used. They did most of the work themselves. You just plugged them in, and they started screeching like you wouldn't believe. That was the sound...Reverb is one of those things that, when you're not used to making records, seems like the thing you use when you've not got loads of studio experience. I suppose we were into Sixties bands – like Sixties girl bands, and all that – and that's kinda where all that came from."

'Psychocandy' only went to number one hundred and eighty-eight in the US, ninety-two in Canada, eighty-seven in Australia, thirty-five in New Zealand, and thirty-one in the UK; but it went on to influence scores of bands.  


"Never Understand"

"You Trip Me Up"

"Just Like Honey"

full album:

All songs written and composed by Jim Reid and William Reid

1. "Just Like Honey"   3:03
2. "The Living End"   2:16
3. "Taste the Floor"   2:56
4. "The Hardest Walk"   2:40
5. "Cut Dead"   2:47
6. "In a Hole"   3:02
7. "Taste of Cindy"   1:42
8. "Some Candy Talking" 3:19
9. "Never Understand"   2:57
10. "Inside Me"   3:09
11. "Sowing Seeds"   2:50
12. "My Little Underground"   2:31
13. "You Trip Me Up"   2:26
14. "Something's Wrong"   4:01
15. "It's So Hard"   2:37

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