Barbed Wire Kisses

The Jesus and Mary Chain Story

By Zoe Howe

Format: Multiple Formats

Written by respected music journalist Zoe Howe, this is an essential reference book for those interested in 1980s pop culture and history, as well as fans of the band. Written in the words of the band members for the first time, this book is a vibrant, no-punches-pulled account.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

Product Description


Musically, culturally and in terms of sheer attitude, the Jesus and Mary Chain stand alone. Their seminal debut album Psychocandy remains one of the true classic pop albums with its white noise, Shangri-Las sweetness and drawling lyrics. This is the group Sonic Youth would have loved to be; the group who, according to manager Alan McGee of Creation, sparked a legendary Sex Pistols-style reign of terror throughout the 1980s; the group who are firmly back in the world's consciousness after years of feedback, fighting and drinking. The story begins in the bleak new town of East Kilbride, near Glasgow, at the dawn of the 1980s with two chronically shy brothers, James and William Reid, listening to music in their shared bedroom. What follows charts their stormy live performances, signing to Creation, fraternal tensions that rival those of the Gallaghers, and, ultimately, their total self-belief and passion.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 19 May 2014
SKU 9781846972492-grouped
Number of Pages 272

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Press Reviews

'This Mary Chain book is a million times better than the Morrissey autobiography' - @drphunkneuro 'Highly recommend @zoehowe's JAMC bio. A touching story of kids in the music business, recalled by their adult selves. a cut above the usual' - Euan McColm 'The best band in the world' - Neil Taylor, NME 'Pretty Scottish boys surfing a wave of doom and gloom and enjoying every moment of it. The Jesus and Mary Chain's debut is a decadent alt rock masterpiece of bubblegum pop' - Rolling Stone (naming the band's debut album one of the 500 best albums of all time) 'Thoroughly enjoying 'Barbed Wire Kisses'. Great anecdotes & teenage memories' - Vic Galloway 'I just finished the Mary Chain book 'Barbed Wire Kisses'. It's f***ing brilliant. Get it read people' - Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai 'Barbed Wire Kisses adroitly charts the Mary Chain's career from their pre-Creation Portastudio demos through to their alcohol-fuelled implosion on 1998's ill-fated Munki tour [ - ] It's engaging throughout, but the chapters on the myth-making early years [ - ] leap especially vigorously off the page' - Record Collector 'Bunking the biographical trend, pleasingly filled more with anecdotes than footnotes' - The Quietus 'One of my favourite authors writing about one of my favourite bands, wonderful!' - Den Browne

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