The Jesus & Mary Chain Reunion: Possibly, Maybe Bigger Than Jesus?

Jan 29th, 2007 // 11 Comments

Alan McGee–the record-label mogul turned Guardian blogger–has some very high hopes for this summer’s Jesus & Mary Chain reunion at Coachella:

If Coachella goes well (and let’s pray that it does), I believe a reformed Mary Chain, like the Pixies, could be twice as big as they were the first time round. More than any other band in the world, they deserve the respect – and money – that was always their due. A world tour could be absolutely massive. In today’s live market, the Mary Chain are a 20,000 people a night band in major cities. They could sell out four Brixton Academies, no problem. In a world of Robbie Williams and Coldplay, we need the Mary Chain like we need oxygen. Let’s hope they can get past the arguments of yesteryear, because they’re good for our musical health. The Mary Chain mean so much to so many people because they make you feel glad to be alive. They’re soul music – a national treasure.

Maybe McGee is blinded by the fact that he signed the Reid brothers to his Creation Records imprint in the mid-’80s, or maybe he was out late the night before he wrote this, apple-bobbing with the Klaxons or something similarly cool and British. Because his “20,000 people a night” estimate is a crazy-high sales-mark for a band that, while deservedly beloved, never quite cracked that big outside of the U.K. Unless the group changes its name to “Jesus & Mary Chain & Timberlake,” we’re guessing this tour will do better than, say, the New Cars, but will come nowhere near the recent Pixies jaunts. Sofia Coppola can only afford so many first-tier tickets, you know.

Stoned and rethroned?
[Guardian Online]

  1. Ned Raggett

    “Jesus & Mary Chain & Timberlake,”

    Make it simpler: the Justin and Mary Chain

  2. noamjamski

    Yeah, as much as I loved the first few albums and hope they come to NYC, they didn’t exactly leave at the height of their powers, a la the Pixies.

    Like Helmet, they broke up after people stopped buying increasingly bad records. A reunion would be an uphill battle to remind people why they were good in the first place.

    It is not an impossible battle. Skinny Puppy made it work the “Greater Wrong of the Right.” JAMC doing 20,000 seaters outside of Britain? Does Timberlake even do 20,000 (and sell them) inside the States?

  3. Ozzy

    By “world” he may mean “incl. Scotland and Ireland”.

  4. ecoboy_wmc

    Just don’t put them on the Lollapalooza stage before dusk… oh, wait.

    Well, I can’t be expected to remember everything that happened more than sixteen years ago!

  5. Chris Molanphy

    Agreed on all counts (you guys, not McGee). Using NYC as a benchmark, I’m sure J&MC could fill a sizeable venue like Roseland, maybe even do an appreciable number in the Beacon or Hammerstein. But 20K? That’s Madison Square Garden territory. No way - and that’s accounting for that brief period in the late ’80s circa Automatic when they were topping modern rock radio (“Blues from a Gun,” “Head On”).

    Meanwhile, I made a Pixies prediction in the middle of ’04 – that if they wanted, they could probably sell out a night at the Garden. And, in a sense, I was proved right – they extended their stay at Hammerstein so many nights (eight) that even if you counted repeat visits, they easily played to an MSG-size crowd.

    That’s a whole different league from the Mary Chain.

  6. Jupiter8

    Ah, memories. Remember when everybody got excited about the Gang of Four reunion? Can’t wait for Public Image Ltd. in ’08!

  7. mike a

    Eh, McGee is always keeping up the hyperbole well past the sell date. Hard to take him (or Tony Wilson) seriously anymore when they say stuff like this. He’d probably tell you that Oasis are still, in 2007, the best band in the world, the embodiment of rock & roll rebellion, Pete Doherty’s godparents, etc.

  8. Deadly Tango

    Isn’t McGee just looking for a way to drive up the price even more on those extra “Upside Down b/w Vegetable Man” singles he just found in a corner of his his mum’s basement?

  9. chaircrusher

    As someone Older Than All You Lot, maybe I should remind you: Rock musicians, like mathematicians, do their best work when they’re young. I understand wanting to see a reunion, but if it’s just nostalgia, there’s no artistic difference between seeing J&MC or the Pixies, and fat balding James Taylor singing “Fire and Rain” for the 50,000th time. Or — Jayzus! — Crosby Stills & Nash. David Crosby looks like that musty smelling guy who empties out the pepperoni tub in the Wendy’s salad bar.

    The probably apocryphal J&MC story I love is that they didn’t know what guitar chords were until someone from another band showed them while they were working on their second album. Totally spoiled them — everything after ‘PsychoCandy’ sounded like a gloomy version of the Beach Boys.

  10. antistar

    No offense, but I don’t think the Pixies left at the height of their powers. To me, it was all downhill after Doolittle. Also their tour was a moderate success. How many dates did they actually play? The Mary Chain could do decent business in major cities of the US, and big business almost everywhere in Europe(all the summer festivals). And with the right label, the Mary Chain could put out a solid album comparable to their earlier work. The Pixies are supposed to put out an album also, but based on Frank Black’s solo assault, I doubt it will compare to their classic early albums.

  11. catdirt

    fyi- glass house in pomona confirmed that “secret” jesus and mary chain show for 4/26/07. take that “some candy talking” haters!

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