The Jesus and Mary Chain wikipedia entry is amazing.
[T]hey initially told journalists that they had taken their eventual name from a line in a Bing Crosby film, although six months later they admitted that this wasn’t true.
In the early days Jim Reid’s guitar would be left out of tune, while Dalglish’s drum kit was limited to two drums, and Hart’s bass guitar only had three strings, down to two by 1985; In Hart’s words “that’s the two I use, I mean what’s the fucking point spending money on another two? Two is enough.”
Struggling to get gigs, the band took to turning up at venues claiming to be the support band, playing their short set and making a quick exit.
Playing in front of small audiences, during early shows the Mary Chain performed very short gigs, typically fuelled by amphetamines and lasting around 20 minutes, and played with their backs to the audience, refusing to speak to them.
The follow-up, “You Trip Me Up”, was delayed due to staff at the pressing plant refusing to press it due to the presence of the song, now re-titled “Jesus Suck”
In a performance on Belgian television in March 1985, the band did smash the set and the audio equipment, but this was at the request of the TV producer. Such behaviour became expected of the band and many shows culminated with the Reids trashing their equipment, which was often followed by the audience throwing projectiles onto the stage and damaging equipment.
On 15 March 1985, the Jesus and Mary Chain played a gig at the North London Polytechnic in front of one of their largest crowds up to that point. The organizers had overbooked the venue, leaving hundreds of fans locked outside. When Gillespie and Hart attempted to break the locks, the police were called. Support band Meat Whiplash had stirred up violence before the Mary Chain even set foot onto the stage when singer Paul McDermott threw an empty wine bottle into the audience, prompting four members of the crowd to attack him, leading to their set being abandoned. Second act The Jasmine Minks got through their set without incident, but the Jesus and Mary Chain then kept the audience waiting for over an hour before taking the stage, and then left the stage after playing for less than twenty minutes. Members of the audience began throwing cans at where the band were hiding behind the stage curtains, before mounting the stage to smash the equipment that remained there. The violence continued for some time before police eventually took control. The venue blamed the band’s late appearance and two equipment breakdowns, while McGee issued a statement saying that “the audience were not smashing up the hall, they were smashing up pop music”, going on to say “This is truly art as terrorism”. The violence soon started to become a hindrance to the band, with people attending concerts simply for the violence rather than the music, William commenting “I hate it, I despise it. It gets in the way in terms of getting more gigs, and it gets in the way of our image”. Many performances were cancelled during the remainder of 1985, with promoters or local councils not prepared to risk a riot. The violence flared up again at a performance at the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town in September, with bottles thrown at the band while they played, and a section of the audience smashing up the amplification equipment and smashing the lights afterwards, with several people injured by flying glass. A major factor in the audience reaction was the length of the band’s sets at the time, which lasted less than twenty-five minutes, Jim explaining this with “there’s never been a group good enough to play any longer”. Lack of songs was also a factor, according to Jim: “We’ve only got enough songs to play for that long”.
A second version of “Some Candy Talking” was issued on a free EP issued with the NME in January 1986, and the song was released as the band’s next single in July. It reached number thirteen in the UK Singles Chart, but attracted controversy when BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith decided that the song was a paean to illegal drugs (denied by the band at the time, but admitted by William a year later) and convinced the station to ban it from being played.
1. That’s just some highlights.
2. This is all before we even get to the part where Jim Reid stabs a fan.
3. I love them so much. I had Upside Down on CASSINGLE (an honor shared only with Husker Du and Guns and Roses) and literally wore it out.
4. We would all argue for hours about the politics of drum machines.