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The Jesus And Mary Chain

Like the Velvet Underground, their most obvious influence, the chart success of the Jesus and Mary Chain was virtually nonexistent, but their artistic impact was incalculable; quite simply, the Scottish group made the world safe for white noise, orchestrating a sound dense in squalling feedback which served as an inspiration to everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Dinosaur Jr. Though the supporting players drifted in and out of focus, the heart of the Mary Chain remained vocalists and guitarists William and Jim Reid, Scottish-born brothers heavily influenced not only by underground legends like the Velvets and the Stooges but also by the sonic grandeur and pop savvy of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. In the Jesus and Mary Chain, which the Reids formed outside of Glasgow in 1984 with bassist Douglas Hart and drummer Murray Dalglish (quickly replaced by Bobby Gillespie), these two polarized aesthetics converged; equal parts bubblegum and formless guitar distortion, their sound both celebrated pop conventions and thoroughly subverted them.

In late 1984, the band issued its seminal debut single, "Upside Down," a remarkable blast of live wire feedback anchored by a caveman-like drumbeat; the record made the JMC an overnight sensation in the U.K., as did their nascent live shows, 20-minute sets of confrontational noise (performed with the bandmembers' backs to the audience) which frequently ended in rioting. The follow-up, "You Trip Me Up," further perfected the formula, and led to their 1985 debut LP Psychocandy, which gift-wrapped sweet, simple pop songs in ribbons of droning guitar fuzz. After a two-year layoff (during which time Gillespie exited to form Primal Scream and was replaced by John Moore), the Jesus and Mary Chain returned with Darklands, a dramatic shift in approach which stripped away the feedback to expose the skeletal guitar pop at the music's core. After a sprawling 1988 collection of singles, B-sides, and demos titled Barbed Wire Kisses, they emerged with Automatic, which introduced a more tightly coiled brand of feedback while jettisoning Moore's live drums in favor of synthesized beats.

After another long absence, the Mary Chain (minus Hart) resurfaced in 1992 with Honey's Dead, and earned greater U.S. visibility thanks to a spot on that summer's Lollapalooza lineup; the first single, "Reverence," also won them renewed attention at home when Top of the Pops banned the song because of its opening lines, "I wanna die just like Jesus Christ" and "I wanna die just like JFK." With 1994's gentle, largely acoustic Stoned & Dethroned, they even reached the U.S. pop charts thanks to the lovely single "Sometimes Always," a duet with Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval. Another collection of scattered sides, The Jesus and Mary Chain Hate Rock 'n' Roll, followed a year later, highlighted by the single "I Hate Rock 'n' Roll," a scabrous swipe which reclaimed the pure noise attack of their earliest work. Moving to Sub Pop, they returned with Munki in 1998. William Reid left the group during the subsequent tour, and in 1999, the Jesus and Mary Chain officially disbanded.

Eight years later, the Reid brothers, joined by Mark Crozer, Phil King (Lush), and Loz Colbert (Ride), revived the band to perform at the Coachella and Meltdown festivals. The new recording "All Things Must Pass" appeared on the 2008 soundtrack for the television series Heroes. A four-disc box set, The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides and Rarities, was released the same year, trailed by expanded reissues of their 1985-1998 studio albums. Performances resumed in 2012, with Brian Young (Fountains of Wayne) in place of Colbert. The band later played several dates across Europe and the U.S. that involved the performance of Psychocandy in its entirety, a celebration of the album's 30th anniversary. A Glasgow gig was documented in box set form as Live at Barrowlands. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Power Of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities

Disc 1

2. Upside Down

9. Just Like Honey (Demo Oct. '84)

11. Taste Of Cindy (Acoustic Version)

12. The Hardest Walk

16. Some Candy Talking

17. Psychocandy

18. Hit

Disc 2

1. Kill Surf City

2. Bo Diddley Is Jesus

3. Who Do You Love

4. Everything's Alright When You're Down

5. Shake

6. Happy When It Rains (Demo)

8. F-Hole

9. Rider

12. Here It Comes Again

15. Sidewalking

16. Surfin' Usa (Summer Mix)

Disc 3

6. Rollercoaster

14. Teenage Lust (Acoustic Version)

15. Reverberation (Doubt)

Disc 4

11. Till I Found You

x

Track List: 21 Singles

1. Upside Down

2. Never Understand

3. You Trip Me Up

4. Just Like Honey

5. Some Candy Talking

6. April Skies

7. Happy When It Rains

9. Sidewalking

10. Blues From A Gun

11. Head On

12. Rollercoaster

13. Reverence

14. Far Gone And Out

15. Almost Gold

17. Sometimes Always

18. Come On

19. I Hate Rock N Roll

20. Cracking Up

21. I Love Rock N Roll

x

Track List: Munki

1. I Love Rock N Roll

2. Birthday

3. Stardust Remedy

4. Fizzy

5. Moe Tucker

6. Perfume

7. Virtually Unreal

8. Degenerate

9. Cracking Up

10. Commercial

11. Supertramp

12. Never Understood

13. I Can't Find The Time For Times

14. Man On The Moon

15. Black

16. Dream Lover

17. I Hate Rock N Roll

x

Track List: Darklands

1. Darklands

2. Deep One Perfect Morning

3. Happy When It Rains

4. Down On Me

5. Nine Million Rainy Days

6. April Skies

7. Fall

8. Cherry Came Too

9. On The Wall

10. About You

x

Track List: Psychocandy

1. Just Like Honey

2. The Living End

3. Taste The Floor

4. The Hardest Walk

5. Cut Dead

6. In A Hole

7. Taste Of Cindy

8. Some Candy Talking

9. Never Understand

10. Inside Me

11. Sowing Seeds

12. My Little Underground

13. You Trip Me Up

14. Something's Wrong

15. It's So Hard

x

Track List: Honey's Dead

1. Reverence

2. Teenage Lust

3. Far Gone And Out

4. Almost Gold

5. Sugar Ray

6. Tumble Down

7. Catch Fire

8. Good For My Soul

9. Roller Coaster

10. I Can't Get Enough

11. Sundown

12. Frequency

Comments

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Like "Love and Rockets" kind of, right?
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Love them.
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I love them. Happy when it rains is one of my favorite songs.
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Wrong on the popularity. Would've been on the Top 40 but the conservative powers that be wanted a name change and that wasn't going to happen.
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krj972
Bobonnit- you're boring and depressing, thumbs down. Love me some The Jesus And Mary Chain!
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Musics still great..
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exquisite_so l a c e
Saw these guys last month. They still rock!
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Love Jesus and Mary ,every time I here them I am back ,feeling my catholic roots
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progpond3
Friend turned me on to them with the 12 single Never Understand, relentless feedback, with an underlying lushness. Hard to describe. Check out some of the mellower stuff with Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star.
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You would think bobonnit would at least make fun of their haircuts.
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exquisite_so l a c e
Kicking myself for missing their reunion tour. :/
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bobonnit
Boring and depressing. Thumbs down
FUC% YOU BOB.
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Very shoegazing worthy.
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jfdavenport
I saw them at Coventry Poly in 85. They left in disgust after 20 minutes, under a hail of spit! They came back after the roadies had moved their gear back a few feet, beyond the hail of spit - there was no hiding place for me though at the front - Don't you love punks! Great gig!!!
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This song hooked me many years ago such a cool song
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neo-psychede l i c dream pop
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exquisite_so l a c e
Great band. But where is Honey's Dead? Underrated album (Almost Gold, , Teenage Lust, Catchfire, Good for My Soul, etc).
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wanna earn extra money? sell your a** to strangers.
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how come it never plays psychocandy?
it always the later stuff. hmmm whos getting paid?
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captainpylan t h e s
Great band. Can't decide if I like Automatic or Darklands the best. I would love to see them if they're on tour, but the info I found showed that they tend to show up at very large shows/festiv a l s that are never close to my location.... Bummer.
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Love this group! I met them in Richmond, VA at Rockets. The next night they were in DC and after the show they came and hung out with us at Poseur's. What fun!
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Boring and depressing. Thumbs down
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the very last era of happy music....if ya know what i mean
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hohenshellm
when I fell for my first punk rock girl, when I was in the 8th grade, I can remember playing Just like honey for her. And when she broke my heart, I can remember sitting alone in my room, listening to cut dead, over and over again as I wept. Great album then, and even better 25 years later!
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My big draw to Lollapalloza 92 was the opportunity to see Jesus and Mary Chain live. I was not disappointed !
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those were the best days ever!
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Needs more blood...
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Great band where is this today
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I kinda agree wretch. I remember buying one of their albums in the 80s and thinking it sounded like the beach boys meet sonic youth. pop songs with alot of feedback and noise. I don't hate them, but I can't listen to them for a long period of time.
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so underrated. can't wait to see them in new orleans on the 5th :)
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SWEETS
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Fell for Honey's Dead, sank even deeper with The Power of Negative Thinking.
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ebythebeach
Automatic is my fav album...I've been listening to these guys for 2 decades but just started listening to all their stuff again ....so unbelievable
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noes4
Automatic definitely had an impact on me (used to listen to it all the time.)
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Great great band. Very underrated
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Saw them in Berkley coliseum opening for Iggy Pop. AMAZING show. I was blown away.
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burkify
Pandora just played Tower of Song by TJMC and said they wrote it. Im pretty it was a cover and Leonard Cohen wrote it.
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Rock'n'Roll Brothers = Fist fights!
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awesome
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oh yea i f**kin dig tjamc
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I saw them at Lollapaloza 92/ They played at about 2 in the afternoon/ didn't give a f#@k/ They had smoke machine in high gear and light show/ It was 2 in the afternoon/ Brilliant/
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vmuse07
I used to hang out at Mean Mr. Mustards in the late 80s but missed them there - what a fantastic club!
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ilove them so much....
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kfedor4
I recall seeing JMC live in Columbus, Ohio (Mean Mr. Mustards) as a sophomore in college in '88. They played every song off both (all!) albums. Sat next to the stage and read the playlist. I heard a rumor back then that the lead singer was too shy to sing live so the brother? sang when performing live. Couldn't tell the difference through the feedback:)
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one of my top 2
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Psycho Candy freshman year in high school. Darklands as a junior. Automatic as a senior. I had forgotten how much time JMC spent in my cassette deck and cd player back in the day!! When I get home today, I'm putting "Automatic" on, turning it really loud, and enjoying just what a timeless band they are!!
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perfectly brilliant band, their talent is unquantifiab l e
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dlekites
I'd love to see this band live. Lived in England in 1990-91 and missed them. Agree that Honey's Dead should be in this list. Great LP.
Report as inappropriate
How come Honey's Dead isn't listed in the Discography? A glaring oversight. Hoping for a US reunion tour sometime soon. Turned into a great live band in the 90's.
Report as inappropriate
Good music! Remember listening to them in the 80s in my college days.
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