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Written by DJ Space   
Friday, 08 October 2010 11:32

Psychocandy? It's a Hard Record to PlayThe Jesus and Mary Chain's frontman Jim Reid has revealed that the group's ground breaking and highly influential 1985 debut studio album Psychocandy is "a very hard record to play live," but he "wouldn't rule out" the band getting back together to mark next month's 25th anniversary of its release to tour the album in vogue with current trends.

Reid made his comments in an interview with VPM timed to celebrate Psychocandy’s 25th anniversary and promote the release of a new Jesus And Mary Chain collection, Upside Down -The Best Of. "As far as Psychocandy is concerned I wouldn’t rule it out, but the truth of the matter is it’s a very hard record to play live." The release of the documentary feature film Upside Down: The Story of Creation Records is also scheduled to coincide with the commemorative compilation.

"Christ only knows how we managed to do it all those years ago, but we probably didn't! We were probably just so drunk that we thought we did," he added.

The Jesus and Mary Chain formed in 1983 and was an influential Scottish group assembled around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. William Reid wrote the lyrics and played guitar, while Jim Reid sang the songs, augmenting his brother's distorted guitar work with his succinct vocals. Dressed in black, the band wore shades and refused to speak between tracks. Initially playing small gigs with backs to the audience, sets were short and consisted of a constant wall of feedback and distortion. They employed the fuck-you-attitude of 70's punk idols, the Sex Pistols, trashing equipment and promoting riots. “The audience were not smashing up the hall, they were smashing up pop music,” Alan McGee, manager and founder of Creation Records, said in a statement issued in 1985.

Taking inspiration from the past, the band soon revealed its broad musical influences, combining guitar feedback and distortion to recreate the guitar noise of Lou Reed and New York's The Velvet Underground with popular melodies and music production techniques reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Creation Records recorded the first two singles "Upside Down" (1984) and "Never Understand" (1985), while the debut album was released in November 1985 by Blanco Y Negro, a subsidiary of WEA Records Ltd. "There were those that latched onto the feedback and then there were some that understood that there were songs, but very few people seemed to get it that we brought these two things together and this was really what it was all about, and that kind of pissed us off," Reid explained.

They were ambitious. Speaking of the band's formation in an interview with Pennyblackmusic (2002), Jim Reid previously said, "We had seen that there was a need for a band like the Mary Chain at that time. It was perfect timing because there weren't any guitar bands. Everybody was making this electronic pop music." Naively, Reid was thinking of big tours in America in big stadiums. "We were thinking of being something like the Rolling Stones in 1972."

Psychocandy was a landmark recording. Following on from the initial post-punk period in Britain dominated by new wave and synthpop, it won respect both from music fans and from critics, proving an inspiration to many bands throughout the world. The album's secret was that, beneath the guitar feedback and distortion, there were great pop songs.

In retrospect, there is nothing Jim Reid would change about the album. "We wanted to make changes to Psychocandy within a matter of days after completion – it’s like that with any record you make, it can never be perfect, you always want to keep changing things and tinkering with it," Reid rationalized. "You just have to kind of draw the line somewhere because this doesn’t really make it better – it just makes it different from what it would have been."

"Looking back on Psychocandy now it’s a bit like looking at an old photograph of ourselves or something, it crystallizes exactly what we were about at that point in time, but of course we change, but the record doesn’t," he continued.

The original title track "Psycho Candy" was omitted from the final cut of the album. "I really cannot remember why the song ‘Psycho Candy’ didn’t make it onto the album," Reid admitted.

The sophomore album, Darklands was less appreciated than the seminal Psychocandy at the time, disappointing many fans who had expected a similar record. "I don’t know how it happened but there seemed to be a kind of backlash brewing, and we were of the opinion that whichever way we went would probably have been the wrong way. And after near nervous breakdowns we just thought ‘fuck it, let’s just make the record we want to make, and let people make of it what they will’."

"We certainly could have made “Psychocandy 2' if that’s we had wanted to do," he added.

The Jesus and Mary Chain released a string of albums, singles and EPs until they disbanded at the end of the 90s. The band reunited to play at the Coachella Festival on April 27, 2007 and more shows followed later that year and in 2008.

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 October 2010 11:16
 
(UK)

Newsflash Archive

DJ SPACE ALTERNATIVE XMAS (2010 MIX)

Try this alternative mix with your Tofurky Dinner and add a little spice to your day:

1.    Weezer – We Wish You a Merry Christmas
2.    blink-182 – I Won’t Be Home for Christmas
3.    Belle & Sebastian – Santa Claus
4.    My Chemical Romance – All I Want for Christmas Is You
5.    The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – This Time of Year
6.    The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)
7.    The 4 Skins – Merry Christmas Everybody
8.    The Fall – Xmas with Simon
9.    Fall Out Boy – Yule Shoot Your Eye Out
10.    The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa
11.    The Killers & Toni Halliday – A Great Big Sled
12.    Eels – Christmas Is Going to the Dogs
13.    Death Cab for Cutie – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
14.    Jimmy Eat World – Last Christmas
15.    The Raveonettes – Come On Santa
16.    Cocteau Twins – Frosty the Snowman
17.    Cocteau Twins – Winter Wonderland

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