The Jesus and Mary Chain Wanted to Be a Pop Band
The Jesus and Mary Chain are touring in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Psychocandy.
Courtesy of the artist
When Psychocandy came out in November 1985, it established the Jesus and Mary Chain as an important band of the era, with a sound that harked back to the raw quality of early rock and
“We made no secret of the fact that we considered ourselves a pop band,” says singer and guitarist Jim Reid. “At the time, indie music seemed to be a celebration of failure, and we wanted nothing to do with that. We had grown up watching the likes of Marc Bolan and David Bowie on Top of the Pops. We wanted to be pop stars. It seemed...that that was exactly the wrong attitude to have. If you wanted to be in a band, you were supposed to play in shithole rooms above pubs, and we wanted to break out of that.”
And while the album hardly made the Jesus and Mary Chain superstars in the commercial sense, it has become a landmark, serving as one of the primary pillars of what became shoegaze in the early ’90s. You can hear Psychocandy in the DNA of virtually every interesting guitar-rock band formed in the past two decades.
The band is currently on a tour celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the album. This time around, a human drummer will be keeping time, but early on, the Jesus and Mary Chain sometimes performed with drum machines and loops. That wasn’t always received well by fans.
“I remember we did a tour, and we had fired our drummer,” recalls Reid. “I think it was the Darklands tour. We took so much flak for that in America. Just before the tour, I remember meeting Robin Guthrie from Cocteau Twins, and I told him we were going on an American tour with a drum machine. He said, ‘Don’t do it! They’ll throw bottles at you!’ And they did! People were just like, ‘Where is the fucking drummer?’ We got a lot of abuse for
After the band broke up in 1999, the legend of the Jesus and Mary Chain loomed large in popular music, and its influence has been cited not just among second-wave shoegaze bands, but also among psych bands and garage rockers who have embraced the fuzzy tunefulness that the act had perfected. In 2007, the
“We couldn’t have played Psychocandy“We couldn’t have played Psychocandy like this then,” admits Reid. “We were nervous people. It may not have come across that way, but the only way that we could handle getting on a stage would be to get absolutely fucked
The Jesus and Mary Chain, with The Black Ryder at the Ogden Theatre, 7 p.m. Monday, May 11, $32.50-$35, 303-832-1874.
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