Jim Reid, (seen here on the left), singer and songwriter with The Jesus And Mary Chain, chats with Kevin Cooper about signing with the newly reformed Creation Management, his relationship with his brother William, their latest album Damage And Joy and their forthcoming tour of the UK.

Jim Reid is the lead singer for the alternative rock band The Jesus And Mary Chain, which he formed with his elder brother and guitarist William Reid. Before splitting up in 1999 they had released six studio albums.

Reforming in 2007, they released their greatest hits album in 2010 titled Upside Down: The Best Of The Jesus And Mary Chain. The band went back on tour in 2012 with a series of dates through North America, which also included their very first gigs in China.

In 2013, they released a full-discography vinyl box set, dubbed as The Complete Vinyl Collection, to celebrate the bands 30th anniversary. In March 2014 the band signed back to Alan McGee and became the first artists to sign to the newly reformed Creation Management. In September 2015 Reid announced that the band was recording their first studio album since 1998. That album titled Damage And Joy was produced by Youth and released on 24 March 2017.

Whilst busy rehearsing for their forthcoming tour of the UK, Jim Reid took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.

Jim good morning how are you today?

I’m good thanks Kevin, how are you?

I’m very well thanks you and before we move on let me just thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

It’s not a problem.

And just how is life treating you at the moment?

Life at the moment is pretty good, I mustn’t complain (laughter). Everything is fine at the moment.

Can I ask you, and please do forgive me if you get fed up with being asked this but, just where did you get the name The Jesus And Mary Chain?

(Laughter) its okay ask away. To be totally honest with you I surprisingly get asked that question very rarely. When William, my brother, and I first formed the band we were sitting around looking for a name for the band and we saw an offer on a well-known breakfast cereal packet, where customers could send off for a gold Jesus and Mary chain and the rest, as they say, is history (laughter).

I have to say that I think that the new album Damage And Joy is a great piece of work.

That’s great, thanks very much for that, I am so glad that you like it.

More to the point are you happy with it?

Yes I am, I really am pleased with it. Let me just say that we have never released a record that we weren’t totally happy with. However, if I am being totally honest, there comes a time with every album that you record where you have to eventually stop tinkering with it as you are usually tinkering simply for the sake of tinkering. All records are a living thing and if you go back to them a year later after their release you can always hear things that you would have done differently. With Damage And Joy what I can say is that we are as happy with it as we were with the other records that we have released.

A lot of the fans are saying that it is your best work to date, would you agree with that?

I am glad of that because it could have been terrifying, the thought of going out and playing a completely new set because nowadays the majority of the fans simply expect us to play a greatest hits set no matter where we are playing. When we first started playing the new songs live we held our breath simply because we did not know if the fans would like them or not. However, the good news was that the new songs fitted right into the set list and the fans seem to have taken to them as warmly as they have to the songs in our back catalogue which for us is great.

And just where did the title come from?

To be honest that was William’s idea. It is literally the English translation of the German expression Schadenfreude which means ‘pleasure derived from the misfortune of others’. However, that is not the reason in our case. We just liked the Damage And Joy side of things as we both thought that it summed up The Jesus And Mary Chain in some weird way (laughter).

I see that the album has been produced by Youth; how was he to work with?

It was pretty good, because he seemed to understand exactly what we were looking for.

And correct me if I am wrong but isn’t this the first time that you have used a producer?

(Laughter) that’s right. And the reason for that is that we thought that it might just be like world war three with me and William. So we both thought that it might be quite good for us to have somebody else in the studio not just to produce the album but someone who might actually defuse any awkward situations. We told Youth in advance that was part of his job (laughter). I’m sure that he has seen far more things in the studio worse than Jim and William Reid in terms of sparks flying and stuff. So yes he was perfectly prepared to take that on but as it turns out me and William got on pretty well in the studio during the recording of this record.

You are quoted as saying back in 2006 that “after each tour we wanted to kill each other, and after the final tour we tried”. So with that in mind I was going to ask you just how things are between you and William or will the forthcoming tour be the litmus test?

We have been doing quite a few shows already this year and as with previous years it is not the touring that has been the problem. It was usually when we were both in the recording studio together; that is where things would begin to unravel. You can kind of get away with it when you are out on tour. Everything seems to get magnified when you are all together in the recording studio. However, as it happens, with this album we simply just got on with the job, and William and I actually bonded in a way that we haven’t done in decades now. So at the moment all is good within the band.

Back in 1998 you released your last studio album Munki. Why now, why does it feel right to release Damage And Joy in 2017?

Ten years ago now when we got the band back together the idea was always for us to make another record. However, because of the tension between William and me I would always keep making excuses as to why I couldn’t get into the recording studio. During those years we did a lot of live work and we kept telling everyone that there was going to be a new studio album to the point that it was just getting ridiculous. People would ask me “when is your new record coming out” and to be honest, I was simply getting tired of lying about the whole situation. I would be telling people that we were putting the finishing touches to the album but then I suddenly thought ‘this is absurd, either we make a record or we come clean and tell everyone that we are not making a record’. I personally wanted there to be new albums, so after finally getting fed up with all of the lies and deceit we did finally get round to making the new album.

And just how far ahead do you work, are you already thinking about the next studio album?

Funnily enough, yes we are. There were a lot of songs for this record which meant that we could have put out a double album but with this album, after such a long time since we released our last studio album, it was simply a case of us dipping a toe into the water to see how it went kind of thing. And as you say it seems to have gone down quite well so I see no reason why we can’t make another album sometime soon.

(Laughter) I see that you have released the new album on cassette, why?

The absolute truth is that I don’t know (laughter). Our Manager said that he thought that it would be a good idea but I have no idea if anybody buys cassettes anymore (laughter). Eventually I said that if he thought that people would buy them then why not, let’s put the album out on cassette. However, I personally don’t think they will (laughter). I will just have to look into that at a later date. I always thought that cassettes were rubbish and I have absolutely no idea as to why people would want to buy them (laughter).

In March 2014 you and the band joined Alan McGee and became the first artists to sign to the newly reformed Creation Management. I recently interviewed Shaun Ryder who described Mr McGee as being a ‘big fluffy teddy bear’. Would you go along with that?

(Laughter) oh yes, absolutely. He is certainly not the grizzly bear that the press paint him as being. It really is a pleasure to work with Alan, he knows the business inside out and he lets us get on with the writing and recording uninterrupted.

Are you looking forward to touring the UK with the new album?

I always look forward to touring the UK and I have to say that it is much more enjoyable these days. The band has nothing to prove anymore which means that we can go out on tour on our own terms and play to people who know exactly what the band is all about. It is definitely more enjoyable.

You will be playing Rock City here in Nottingham on Sunday 1st October. Is Rock City a ‘must play’ venue for you?

I have some good memories of playing Rock City back in the 1980s so yes for me it really is a must play venue. I really do like playing that venue and I do remember playing there. Most of the gigs that I have played I can’t remember but I do remember Rock City.

What was the first record that you bought?

That was a 7” single and it was Hell Raiser by The Sweet and the very first album that I bought with my own money was Slayed? by Slade. And I still do play those records now.

Well that’s two of my personal favourites there and I have to say that I still think that Slade Alive! is possibly the best live album ever recorded.

I would totally agree with you. I think that it is a great live record.

Who did you first see playing live in concert?

That was The Jam at the Glasgow Apollo.

Which song or piece of music last made you cry?

Oh God, where the hell did that come from (laughter). I know that I really shouldn’t admit this to you but I very rarely get emotional over any piece of music.

On that note Jim once again let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me today and I will see you at Rock City in October.

Thank you Kevin. You take care and I really do hope that you enjoy the show at Rock City. Bye for now.