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Jesus And Mary Chain-- A Musical Meditation




My dentist recommended a restaurant to me the other day, Pura Vita in West Hollywood. It's a vegan Italian restaurant and the reason I'll be going back there-- often-- is because the food is amazing, as well as healthful. But there was something else. Every song their tape played in the hour I was there was a song I was involved with professionally. What a blast! I could say that someone has really good taste, but it's probably better to just say someone has the same taste as I do.



When Warner Bros Records split in two-- Warners and Reprise-- I became president of Reprise. I was pretty happy with the artists that came to Reprise: Depeche Mode, Green Day, Morrissey, Lou Reed, Erasure, Nick Cave, Fleetwood Mac, Replacements, The Cult, Revolting Cocks, Barenaked Ladies, Filter, Joni MitchellChris Isaak, Belly, Neil Young, B-52s, Ocean Blue, Eric Clapton, BoDeans, Chaka Khan, Yaz, Rickie Lee Jones, Enya, Wilco, Orgy, Me'shell Ndegéocello, Primal Scream, The Farm, Alanis Morissette, Tom Tom Club... and dozens of others. And, briefly, the Jesus and Mary Chain.



I never knew the Jesus and Mary Chain. It was a distribution deal and the label that signed them wasn't interested in much involvement with Reprise, so... I had nothing to do with their career at all. That didn't hurt them musically; they wrote and recorded some of the best songs I've ever heard and still listen to. That's saying a lot; just look at that roster for starters.


The band-- basically Jim and William Reid-- formed in Scotland in 1983 and released their first album, Psychocandy in 1985. They reminded me of the Velvet Underground, one of my all-time favorite bands. They had a reputation-- in the UK, not here-- for very violent gigs. I first saw Jesus and Mary Club play live at the I Beam on Haight Street in San Francisco in 1985 and then at the Fillmore in 1987, just as I was getting ready to take a job with Warner Bros. Alan McGee of Creation Records was the manager and he and I got along great. Unfortunately, he signed them to Warner Bros through Blanco y Negro, a second rate WEA subsidiary, though. This great act never really got the opportunity to take off. Like the Velvets.




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