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Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus and Mary Chain Story

Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus and Mary Chain Story [Kindle Edition]

Zoe Howe
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

‘The Mary Chain were the best thing since punk rock’ – Bobby Gillespie ‘The Jesus and Mary Chain were integral to my musical development’ – Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails Praise for Zoë Howe: ‘A stunning reinvention of the rock memoir format. Zoë Howe bottles Wilko’s lightning’ – Dave Collins, Vive Le Rock, on Wilko Johnson: Looking Back at Me ‘Brit-rock book of the year’ – Gavin Martin on Typical Girls? The Story of The Slits Musically, culturally and in terms of sheer attitude, The Jesus and Mary Chain stand alone. Their seminal debut album Psychocandy would change the course of popular music, and their distinctive blend of psychotic white noise, dark lyrics and a pop sensibility continues to enchant and confound to this day. This book takes us behind the wall of distortion to reveal the fierce, frank and often funny tale of The Jesus and Mary Chain, told by the band members and their associates for the first time. Author Zoë Howe charts each step of the Mary Chain’s journey up to the present day, chronicling the formation of the group, their incendiary live performances, the Reids’ powerful songcraft and those famous fraternal tensions that would prepare Creation Records boss Alan McGee for the onslaught of the Gallaghers. Thirty years after the Mary Chain formed, it is time this influential group and sometime ‘public enemy’ had their say. Includes new and exclusive interviews with Jim Reid, Douglas Hart, Bobby Gillespie, Alan McGee, Murray Dalglish, Laurence Verfaillie, John Moore, Ben Lurie, Stephen Pastel and many others.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 576 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon (19 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JTJE8N8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,260 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

My name is Zoë Howe and I write books about rock 'n' roll. My first book was the authorised biography of punk band The Slits, and since then I am thrilled to say I have been writing books like a woman possessed. I also play the drums, but that's another story. Other books of mine include Wilko Johnson's book 'Looking Back At Me', the recently released Jesus and Mary Chain biography 'Barbed Wire Kisses - The Jesus and Mary Chain Story', and 'Stevie Nicks - Visions Dreams and Rumours'. My ninth book, a biography of the late Dr Feelgood frontman Lee Brilleaux, will be published in 2015.

For further info, please go to my website:

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Candy Talking 10 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of my favourite authors writing about one of my favourite bands, wonderful! I've been enjoying Zoe Howe's perceptive and sharp music books since the great Slits biog, "Typical Girls?" a few years back, and this is every bit as good. Apart from the main text, there's a really well put together timeline of the JAMC era, & it really took me back to the mid-80's and the inane blandness of the dominant pop scene then.

So it's amusing to find the little snippets I'd read in the NME about this strange new band from Scotland - who reckoned they'd already got their first three albums written in their shared bedroom at home & who played deranged 15 minute live sets generally resulting in riot and mayhem - were part of later Creation/Oasis mainman Alan McGee's desire to be the new Malcolm Maclaren. When put on to them by Bobby Gillespie, he reckoned he'd found his Sex Pistols.

Zoe Howe describes all this in fascinating detail, with some great anecdotes, and enough humour to leaven some of the darker aspects of the story (violence, alcoholism, rip-offs, drugs). Probably the book's strongest point is how willingly all the main protagonists - bar one - have been to talk at length to her about the many twists and turns in the group's career. In the end though the book easily overcomes the lack of direct involvement from the older Reid brother, William. There's been some serious background research, which has turned up plenty of quotes which do enough to show some of the differences between him and Jim.

That's an underlying theme which the author maintains throughout the book: the fact that however much the brothers fight, hate each other and fall out, neither is as good on his own and in the end they can't escape the symbiosis between them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Something's Wrong" 11 July 2014
Zoe Howe has written a decent enough account of the Mary Chain’s rollercoaster career but with access to so many of the key players in the story the book really should have been one of those classic non-fiction page turners. Unfortunately it is a standard run through, albeit a very good one, of the band from start through to 2012.

All the expected stuff is included – the mapping out of the band in the Reid brothers’ East Kilbride bedroom, the bafflement of sound engineers and producers when it came to the trademark Mary Chain feedback, the North London Poly riot, the fighting between Jim and William, the drugs, the booze and the breakup, and most importantly the songs. There are some lovely anecdotes in the book, like the story of future band member John Moore travelling to East Kilbride to see where his heroes hailed from and even buying a black shirt from Topman because he assumes this is where they must’ve bought theirs from. Former band members Bobby Gillespie and Douglas Hart provide the best insight into the early years as Jim still appears a little guarded about the band’s past and William refused to contribute to the book. The later years are covered in less detail which is a shame because I would guess most fans will know least about this part of the bands lifespan and would like to discover more.

A lack of real telling insight and investigation of the lives of the band members are the biggest weaknesses of the book. About three quarters of the way through we are casually told that Jim is married to someone called Julie but that is all we learn of her. Similarly we are told that Jim moves with his family to Sidmouth but not why. Is Julie from there? Does Jim like the sea? If the latter then why not move to Felixstowe?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Far gone and almost out 3 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bit lacking in real in-depth views on why they did what they did, and I personally would love more on how they recorded stuff but a good insight into their story... one of the finest bands ever IMHO, worth a read if you like music... always surprised that books like this don't come with QR codes or something that lets you play stuff (songs, interviews, videos) while reading them... music biogs need to be interactive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just Like Honey 30 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read it within 24 hours and found the story to be highly informative and interesting. I learned a lot about one of my all time favourite bands and was never bored.

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By Mickey
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Straightforward and honest account of the Mary chain. It made me go back and listen to the music and brought back some fine memories of London at that time.
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