As The Jesus and Mary Chain prepare to bring their Damage and Joy tour to Liverpool’s Academy, Planet Slop’s Jon Heathen looks forward to their wall of sound.
The Jesus and Mary Chain becoming stately elders of indie was not something that many people would have bet on when they first burst out of East Kilbride in the 80s.
Making a trademark of feedback that almost, but not quite, masked the beauty and pop appeal of their songs, the band were an instant sensation. Appearing late to play short and often violent sets, they achieved notoriety with remarkable speed.
However, they soon tired of both their reputation and the feedback obscuring or overshadowing the music they made, with Jim Reid commenting “I hate the way we are other people’s freak show”.
Later albums showed a measured approach to the craft of songwriting, but though their sound grew calmer, tensions within the band meant that being in The Jesus and Mary Chain was seldom a pleasant experience. Trouble was never far away with the band’s mainstays, brothers William and Jim Reid and, really, it was obvious that the band were doomed to implode at some point.
This they eventually did following a disastrous show in Los Angeles. Years of sibling rivalry came to a head when Jim came on stage so drunk he was incapable of singing or even standing. William walked off stage, left the band and the Mary Chain ground to a halt.
But time, it seems, is a great healer and the Mary Chain reformed for the Coachella festival in 2007. Since then, they have toured intermittently and this year released the wonderful Damage and Joy album.
Jim and William Reid now find themselves in the unlikely role of elder statesmen. Longevity it seems is enough to bestow a measure of respectability on the most unlikely candidates – see Iggy Pop and John Lydon for further proof of this. The good news is that they have a canon of songs that have stood the test of time and a new album that fits in well with the respected company of their previous work. No mean feat when you remember that they created a debut album that still crops up in lists of the greatest albums of all time.
Their show at Liverpool’s O2 Academy should be a chance to see a band in control of both their past and their present and should not be missed.
The Jesus and Mary Chain play the Liverpool O2 Academy on 21st September, tickets are available now.