The new album by Jesus and Mary Chain, Damage and Joy, comes almost 19 years after their last long-player, Munki.
To support the album, the Mary Chain embark on a European tour beginning on 23rd March at Newcastle’s Northumbrian Uni.
To find out more about the new album and the tour, we caught up with Mary Chain frontman Jim Reid.
Jim, the Mary Chain came to prominence in the 1980’s, a time which was pre-internet, pre-hd TV’s and pre-PlayStation. What would be your perfect outcome for the album in today’s climate?
Perfect? The perfect outcome would be to sell 150 billion records. No, not really, the perfect outcome would be for the record to really affect Mary Chain fans and music fans in the right way. I don’t look for perfect. I gave up on perfect a long time ago.
Damage and Joy sounds fantastic. Three years ago in Rolling Stone magazine you said you had ‘Fuck loads of songs written but the problem was how to record them’. What ended up being the solution?
Since we reformed William was always keener than me to get back into the studio. I was a bit more nervous; the last album felt like a nervous breakdown in the studio. So I kept putting it off.
People kept asking me about when new material was being released so eventually I thought we’ve just got to go out and do it. When we eventually got back into the studio I hadn’t realised how much time had passed since the last album.
The album sounds like the band are excited about their place in the world again, where did that excitement come from?
If you’re gonna make a record then you need to be enthused. We knew we had good songs and that gave us a real sense of purpose.
Can you tell us a bit more about the track Presidici. Is there a political element when you reference Kennedy, and if so does that have anything to do with the events of the past 2 and a half years like the Scottish referendum, Brexit or Trump?
Not really no, William wrote the lyrics to that a few years ago so it’s unrelated to political climate at the moment.
There’s a lot of instrumentation on the record and it has a really deep sonic sound; are you nervous or excited about trying to replicate the songs live?
Probably a bit of both to be honest. You can never reproduce the sound of the studio when you play live, it’s always going to have a few rougher edges.
Damage and Joy has quite a number of male/female duets, perhaps more than any other Mary Chain album. Will you be touring with a female vocalist?
Well Bernadette is William’s girlfriend and she sung on ‘Always Sad’ so she’ll be touring with us. Isobel Campbell and Sky Ferreira are also on the album so it’ll be more of a case of who’s available.
And your work with Sky, did that relationship come about because of the work she had done with Primal Scream?
Kind of, yeah, she came to see us twice on our last American tour and said she was a big fan of the Mary Chain. Later we were looking for singers to some of the parts and Bobby suggested Sky and she has an amazing voice.
Finally, is there a grand plan for the Mary Chain for the next few years or are plans a bit more lose?
(laughing) The plan is not to die anytime soon. No, there’s no real plan. If this album and tour go well I’d like to do another album, but let’s wait and see.
Thanks Jim, good luck with the album and the tour
Damage and Joy is released on the 24th March through ADA/Warner Music.
The Jesus and Mary Chain will be playing the Northumbria Student Union on 23rd March.