Music: The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Reid brothers
"I don't mind about the state of my mind
But you know it's good for nothing
And I left you behind
It's a sick sick city
But it's never gonna make me insane"
—"Blues from a Gun"
The Jesus and Mary Chain are the Trope Codifiers
for the genre of Noise Pop
The band was formed in 1983 by Scottish brothers Jim and William Reid, who wanted to put together their passion for noisy rock and experimental music (Velvet Underground
and Einstürzende Neubauten
especially) with their love of classic pop such as Brian Wilson
, Phil Spector
and various Girl Groups
. Jim assumed lead vocal duties, while William became the lead guitarist. They then happened upon an idea: why not use catchy pop melodies, play them through an ear-destroying amount of feedback and noise, and sing like you're about to fall asleep at any moment
Jim and William have remained the only two constant members of the band since
, with a large assortment of musicians floating through various lineups, mostly for live performances, as the brothers ended up handling everything (guitars, bass, drum machine programming, synthesizers). JAMC soon signed with Creation Records, releasing their debut album Psychocandy
in 1985. This brought critical acclaim to the band and has retained historical importance as the first Noise Pop
The Jesus and Mary Chain became infamous for having short concerts (generally around 20 minutes) that ended with violence or riots, a reputation that stayed with them throughout their early years. The brothers felt they had done as much as they could with pure noise pop and made their next albums, Darklands
, New Sound Albums
- the former was more melodic and acoustic while the latter was classic-rock influenced Alternative Rock
. Both were well-received and spawned a few hits ("Happy When It Rains" and "Darklands" for the former, "Head On" and "Blues from a Gun" for the latter).
The band's first album of The Nineties
, Honey's Dead
, continued with the sound of Automatic
but added more Industrial Metal
influences. Its first single, "Reverence" attracted controversy for its lyrics (with choice couplets like I wanna die just like Jesus Christ/I wanna die on a bed of spikes
and I wanna die just like JFK/I wanna die in the USA
) and was banned from being played on BBC Radio 1 and Top of the Pops
. It became a hit in the UK
. Another New Sound Album
followed, Stoned & Dethroned
, which was very melodic and folky, but intra-band tensions were worsening. After another album, The Jesus and Mary Chain split up for good in 1999.
The band received more attention post-split through Revival by Commercialization
, as Sofia Coppola
used their song "Just Like Honey" at the end of Lost in Translation
. The band finally reunited in 2007, playing for the first time in 8 years at the Coachella Festival. Notably, Scarlett Johansson
joined them on stage to sing backing vocals on "Just Like Honey". According to Jim, new material is being written, though it's still tense between him and William, so it's unsure if a new album will happen.
- Psychocandy (1985)
- Darklands (1987)
- Barbed Wire Kisses (1988) - compilation of B-sides and non-album material
- Automatic (1989)
- Honey's Dead (1992)
- The Sound of Speed (1993) - compilation of B-sides and non-album material
- Stoned & Dethroned (1994)
- Munki (1998)
- The Power of Negative Thinking: B-sides and Rarities (2008) - box set.