Books — June 21, 2013 at 8:38 am

‘Barbed Wire Kisses’: New Jesus and Mary Chain biography due next year

Barbed Wire Kisses The Jesus and Mary Chain Story

The tumultuous story of The Jesus and Mary Chain — famous for 15-minute concerts and marrying squalling guitar noise with sweet ’60s pop on their iconic 1985 debut Psychocandy — will be told this fall in “Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus and Mary Chain Story,” a new biography that promises to tell the “fierce, frank and funny tale” of the brothers Reid.

The 272-page hardback book by music journalist and author Zoë Howe, whose credits include the official Slits biography “Typical Girls?” and co-writing Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson’s recent memoir “Looking Back at Me,” is due to be published Oct. 3 by Birlinn Limited imprint Polygon.

UPDATE 8/1/13: Publisher Birlinn Limited informs us that the “Barbed Wire Kisses” book has been rescheduled and is now due for publication sometime during the spring of 2014.

According to the publisher:

 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 iconic blend of psychotic white noise, darkly surreal lyrics and Shangri-Las sweetness continues to enchant and confound.

This book is the fierce, frank and funny tale of the Jesus and Mary Chain, told by the band members and their associates for the first time. The story begins in the faceless new town of East Kilbride, near Glasgow, at the dawn of the 1980s with two intense, chronically shy brothers, Jim and William Reid, listening to music in their shared bedroom. What follows charts their incendiary live performances, their relationship with Alan McGee’s Creation Records and those famous fraternal tensions that prepared McGee for the onslaught of the Gallaghers, with plenty of feedback, fighting and, most importantly, perfectly crafted pop music along the way. It is time this vastly influential group and sometime ‘public enemy’ had their say.

The book is available for pre-order now at






  1. I love Jesús and Mary Chain, I discover them at the end of the 80s with thanks to HEAD ON.

  2. This is great news! One of my all time fav’s. Saw them back in the day, as well as last year in Buffalo, Ny. The show was obviously not as chaotic as back in the mid 80-s, but they still have it. Jim & William are one of the great songwriting duo’s of our time.

  3. I had the good fortune of being in college radio right when “Psychocandy” came out, so got to live the moment. It’s one of those “first records” that a band could never hope to equal, still so mind-bendingly good.

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