The Stooges, the Ramones, Einstürzende Neubauten, The Shangri-Las: an eclectic range of influences for sure, and one that inspired brothers Jim and William Reid as The Jesus and Mary Chain emerged from Lanarkshire, Scotland, to become one of the most influential bands of their era.
What followed was a rush of creativity and controversy in which the power of their music – most strikingly the landmark debut ‘Psychocandy’ – was matched by the volatility of their relationship. Their journey sparked a wider influence. Not only did their success help Alan McGee’s Creation Records to flourish into the home of Britain’s most critically acclaimed bands from My Bloody Valentine to Oasis to Super Furry Animals, but early drummer Bobby Gillespie made history of his own with Primal Scream.
By 1998, however, chaos had devolved into terminal conflict and the JAMC story was over.
“At the time it was the old, ‘I’m never gonna do this again, no matter what’,” recalls Jim Reid. “And then as the years go by, you can’t really remember the reasons why you broke-up in the first place. Maybe we could’ve repaired the relationship back then, and we were too quick to end it.”
A spirit of sibling stubbornness continued, with each Reid assuming that the other wouldn’t want to reunite. Eventually they found what sounds like a reluctant common ground by agreeing, “I’d do it if you do it.” As Jim adds, “We thought, ‘Well fuck it, why not?’ It seems crazy not to. And if we leave it any later maybe we’re gonna be too old.”
In their absence, the list of bands influenced by the JAMC blueprint seemed to run on and on, while Sofia Coppola’s use of ‘Just Like Honey’ in the closing scene of ‘Lost in Translation’ allowed a new generation the chance to discover JAMC. In the years that followed, Coachella repeatedly tried to persuade them to reform the band: a ploy that was finally rewarded when JAMC made their big comeback in 2007 – accompanied by special guest Scarlett Johansson.