A volatile rock act whose warring brothers often made music magazine headlines, the Jesus and Mary Chain reunited in 2007 to play Coachella and has sporadically toured since then. The band — brothers Jim and William Reid — made a musical statement of sorts with its 1985 debut, Psychocandy, an aggressively noisy album that provided a defiant antidote to the cherry synth-pop that was so popular at the time. While the Scottish band has yet to record any new songs, the Reid brothers have embarked on what singer Jim Reid admits will be a greatest hits tour.
What was it that made you guys decide it was to get back together in 2007?
It was Coachella. They kept asking and I said no. That went on for a little while. Then, I spoke to Billy and said I would do it if he would do it. He said he was surprised I would do it and I said I was surprised he would. That's what's happened. We did that and it seemed to go all right. We played some more shows, and then after those shows we started rubbing against each other and dropped out for a few years. That was that. Then we wanted to get out on the road again.
Have you written new songs?
We have a bunch of new stuff. There's been this album that everyone has talked about. We want to do it, but I guess everyone knows what it's like between my brother and myself. We disagree about where and how to record the album and what songs should be on the album. Now, we seem to be on the same wavelength to some degree. It's looking more likely now that there will be an album.
Are you getting along better now?
We get along better because we know when to back off now. We still fight and scream at each other. Back in the '90s, we'd scream at each other and there would be bad vibes for about two months. Now, we scream at each other and we wake up the next morning and we go, "Fuck it. Life is too short for this." And then we go back to where we were.
I read that in the beginning your guitar would be purposefully out of tune. Was that really the case?
I wouldn't go as far as "purposefully." We just didn't know how to tune the fucking guitar. In those days, we knew we had an ace up our sleeves. We had envisioned Psychocandy and had the songs, and were playing some of them live. We weren't terribly good at playing at that time. We had only been playing for, like, six months at that time. We would go out and do some of the songs from Psychocandy, but they sounded so tuneless. They were just noise. It wasn't a show. It was a spectacle. We would be stumbling about and falling over each other. We couldn't stand up. That's what got people's attention at the beginning. I would go out there for 20 minutes. I would fall on my ass about eight times during that 20 minutes. We had no set list. I would just stand in the middle and shout out the next song. Sometimes, I'd be so drunk I'd shout out the name of the song we just played. William would go, "We just played that, you fuckin' idiot!" There was an element of chaos that people were genuinely shocked by. People thought there was a novelty aspect. I think when we started to release singles, people were actually surprised that we had substance.
What will the set list be like?
It's a best of. There's no getting away from it. There are songs from every album. The only relatively new song is "All Things Must Pass." I personally hate it when I see bands I love play songs I don't know. So we won't play the new songs until they're recorded and people have bought the album.
How much longer do you anticipate the band continuing?
I don't know. I can have a punch up with my brother on day one of this tour and that would be it. In 1997, it was bad. In 2007, it wasn't as bad, but it was still pretty bad. I just take it a day at a time.