Talking Music: Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain

In support of their latest album, Damage and Joy released earlier this year, The Jesus And Mary Chain will be playing a series of autumn dates culminating with a date at Cardiff University on October 3, 2017.

The Scottish alternative rock band, fronted by t brothers Jim and William Reid formed in East Kilbride in 1983. Following their signing to independent label Creation Records, they released their first single Upside Down in 1984. Their debut album Psychocandy arrived the following year paving the way for five more studio albums before tensions between band members and particularly the Reid brothers caused them to part ways in 1998.

With personal frictions resolved, the band reformed to play the Coachella festival in 2007.  Jim and William have continued to tour over the last decade but it wasn’t until last year that they returned to the recording studio to put together a seventh album.

“It was something that we decided on when we reformed in 2007,” Jim Reid tells Andy Howells, ”There was always a plan to do a new record but it was always shoved on to the back burner and we’d do other things. Then it got to the point when we thought ”let’s get it together and do this record”

In true Jesus and Mary Chain style, the songs that make up Damage and Joy are composed from a personal viewpoint, but while 19 years had elapsed since their last release, Munki,  there was still cause for concern.

“ We felt good about the songs before we recorded anything,” adds  Jim, “Obviously there’s a lot at stake in the studio. What you think is a great song can go wrong in the studio, so it’s always a bit nerve racking, but we were pretty pleased with how it all turned out.”

The band are not the only ones pleased with the results. So are the fans who have turned up at the gigs this year to hear new tracks such as Amputation and Always Sad mixed in with classics such as Just Like Honey and April Skies.

Jim continues “Obviously, we were a bit worried when we first started playing those songs that there would be a dip in the set and that people would go off and buy hot dogs or whatever. It was the same reaction to the rest of the set actually which was very encouraging.”

Back in the 1980s The Jesus and Mary Chain’s gigs were reported to be quite riotous, thirty years on have the band mellowed at all?

“It’s more musical than it used to be,” says Jim, “ It was just kind of an explosion back then, it was a spectacle and to be honest our early shows weren’t musical. We couldn’t play very well and we really didn’t care. It wasn’t really about the music strangely enough we would just go out there and try and get a reaction anyway that we could.”

One wonders if Jim ever tires of performing the same songs that catapulted The Jesus and Mary Chain to fame back in the 1980s?

“I’ve sung Just Like Honey so many times and I don’t get tired of it,” he laughs, “ When we go out on tour it’s never a grind. We kind of do a bit here and there and it never gets boring and it might if we did it non-stop. We did that back in the 80s we all said it about April Skies “if I ever have to do that song again I’m going to scream.” You get very jaded when you have to play the same songs day in, day out.”

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