As mentioned yesterday, two further full ICA postings from the vaults over the next two days on the basis that they are companion pieces. This was ICA 94 on 4 November 2016.
Hiya mate – seven weeks in the writing, started at home, finished in the waiting room of a dentists.
An Imaginary Compilation – The Jesus and Mary Chain
“That’s going to take me for ever, stupid bloody 11th song rule, who’s stupid idea was that?”
I’ll tell you who’s stupid idea it was, mine, and I’ll tell you why the choice is going to take for ever in a bit, but first – let me tell you why we are Eynesbury in Cambridgeshire and have just been interviewed on local radio by the Cambridgeshire version of Simon Bates.
Every year around August, Badger picks a team who have entered this year FA Cup. We then follow that teams results and then follow them or whoever beats them all the way to Wembley Final We also try and go and watch a couple of the matches. Now usually we do Round One and Round Three, as we hope to see some Giantkilling Adventures.
This year just for larks we have decided to go and see some ‘Grassroots Football’, folks, its FA Cup Qualifying Round Three and we are two of about 120 people who are nicely spread out around ground watching Eynesbury Rovers vs Sutton Coldfield Town in Mid September.
Eynesbury is in Cambridgeshire, we’ve driven for four hours to get here and for some reason this has bemused the guy on the gate at the ground, when he remarks that he hadn’t seen us here before. “You’ve done what…You daft buggers”
Then he turns to a fat bloke wearing a 70s style jacket – which I think was actually a jacket he bought in 1978 – and shouts (literally shouts, despite porky being about five foot away – porky is holding a can of coke and bacon sarnie as it happens) .
“Here Roger, come and listen to what these two lads have done” – the fact he called us lads, shows how old he was.
So Roger ambles over, turns out Roger works for the local radio and decides that he wants to interview us because it would make a nice story. So after a four hour journey and some twenty five minutes before kick off, Badger and I are sitting in the ‘press box’ of this eighth tier football club eating their biscuits and drinking their tea whilst the radio guy asks us lame questions about our journey from Devon. He then gives us a Black Cat Radio car sticker and Badger swears he said ‘Keep on rocking’ before waving us on our way – seriously, it really was like travelling back to the late 1970s.
The game is terrible, I mean awful, Sutton Coldfield romp home 3 – 1 but to be honest if Badger and I had randomly picked a bunch of lads from pub around the corner, I think we could have given them a good game. Sutton Coldfield Town become our next FA Cup team (as it happens we’ve progressed a bit more – the First round is coming up and our team is now Dartford – a town in Kent, and as such I am supposed to despise them, because as a Gillingham fan I grew up with burly heavily tattooed blokes often telling me – ‘There is only one team in Kent’) and we slowly make our way back to the car park which is some two miles from the ground (behind the pub where we had lunch).
Now, the 11th track, we decided this time to not start the music until pretty late on, the rule we added was that nothing played on the motorway counted, so on the motorways we stuck the radio on and on local roads reverted back to the iPod – Badger’s iPod for what it worth, still filled with Radio 2 fodder that ‘he keeps forgetting to remove’.
So it arrives on the A420 just outside Oxford and it’s the Jesus and Mary Chain, one of the greatest bands of all time. Its bloody impossible and so that is why some seven weeks later I have finally finished the thing, but I’m still not happy with it – and no doubt there is a load of stuff that I could have put in that I didn’t. So someone needs to do a Volume II please. I’ll also add that ‘Psychocandy’ is one of greatest records ever made, and it was really hard to not just send JC that in a jumbled up order. I’ve also tried to avoid the singles, but that in itself was so difficult.
I’ll also say that back in 1990 I managed to get the entire school banned from sitting on the back row of the school lecture theatre because I scrawled into the table there, ‘The Jesus and Mary Chain fucking rock”. That ban lasted twenty years until they refurbished the block containing the lecture theatre.
I’ll spare you anymore of my wittering because the music starting and that is far more important.
Just Like Honey from ‘Psychocandy’ (1985)
This is their quintessential track, and the perfect place to start if you are new to the band – and if you are new to the band, WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN? ‘Just Like Honey’ is full of languid vocals almost definitely about sex, swaths of fuzz, an occasional drumbeat here and there, but its lovely and laid-back and for a change, catchy. Unlike…
Never Understand from ‘Psychocandy’ (1985)
I don’t know if you’ve ever been chased, or ever felt like you were going to be chased, but one night I wasn’t listening to this whilst walking back from Our Price Girls house. It was about midnight and for some reason, this song utterly freaked me out. I think on reflection it was the opening bit, the frenzied squalling wall of screeching feedback sounds exactly like the sort of noise an axe wielding maniac out on a midnight killing spree makes, and frankly that makes its utterly compelling and such a twisted slice of genius.
Everythings Alright, When You’re Down from ‘Barbed Wire Kisses’ LP (1991)
The first of a couple of B Sides that I found impossible to leave out, I love this for three reasons, firstly it was Our Price Girls favourite JAMC song – (did I mention she loved this band?), secondly, at times the blizzard of feedback and screaming noise could be distracting and so when tracks like this appeared you appreciated them even more and thirdly, once whilst waiting for a bus just outside Godalming I found myself singing along to this at a bus stop, and get an odd look from the old lady who had just arrived when I sang the ‘Fuck me now’ bit.
Nine Million Rainy Days from ‘Darklands’ LP (1987)
“Nine million rainy days have swept across my eyes thinking of you, and this room becomes a shrine thinking of you, and as far as I can tell, I’m being dragged from here to hell.” Yup, they were a cheery lot the Marychain. ‘Darklands’ is a very different album to ‘Psychocandy’ its melodic instead of violently caustic for a start.
Some Candy Talking from ‘Some Candy Talking’ EP (1987)
This was banned by the BBC I think on its release because of the ‘obvious’ drug references, which comes as a surprise to me because the songs clearly about those little candy cigarettes you can get from the sweet shop and considering how much the BBC played and promoted ‘Pass the Dutchie’ by Musical Youth I’m surprised they banned anything.
Its also worth checking out the two B Sides to this EP as well – the first is a sweet little tune called ‘Psychocandy’ and the second is called ‘Hit’. (I’ve tagged them on the bottom). For me these two tracks show the bridge between Psychocandy (the album) and Darklands perfectly.
‘Happy When It Rains’ from ‘Darklands’ (1987)
More rain, but this time the band are a bit happier and as it happens, this is my favourite JAMC track. Its my favourite for one single reason, once in 1992 in the pouring rain outside the Army and Navy pub in Rainham, Kent, Our Price Girl gave me the best kiss of my life – at the time at least – and then sang this to me sweetly in my ear as the rain dripped off our hair. We then walked three miles, soaked to the skin hand in hand and hardly said a word, because frankly she said it all.
‘Reverence’ from ‘Honey’s Dead’ (1992)
Sorry its another single, its only the fourth, I’ll try not to include any more, but this was the song that bought a whole new audience to the Marychain, again the lyrics were controversial and again the BBC refused by and large to play it, despite there being a ‘Radio Mix’ as well. This is a tremendous record all guitars, crunching drums and sneering. Its impossible not to love it.
‘Boyfriends Dead’ from ‘You Trip Me Up’ Single (1987)
Opening line ‘C___, Fuck!’
Some people say that the Marychain did this sort of thing to be deliberately provocative and to show but they were angry but I think on reflection it was weariness and frustration. Its songs like this that give us fans that were too young to witness the early chaotic violent gigs, some impression as to what they actually sounded like.
‘Guitarman’ from ‘Speed of Sound’ (1994)
I wanted to include a cover version, simply because the Marychain did a few, mainly old Blues rock numbers from the 60s, and this I think was the best one. I also recommend their version of ‘Little Red Rooster’ because the absolutely crush it, but for me the bit where Reid goes ‘Show ‘em sonnnn’ is bloody marvellous.
‘April Skies’ from ‘Darklands’ (1987)
I went this because it’s the best song on ‘Darklands’ its not my favourite but it’s the stand out moment on the album although the natural closer ‘About You’ runs it close. What ‘April Skies’ showed us was that the Marychain were not about to self combust (not yet anyway) and that behind the hair , the fuzz and the attitude was a band that actually loved proper songs.
Crikey that’s quite a long piece, sorry guys, but you know it’s the Jesus and Mary Chain, its worth it.