jakub | March 1, 2024

The Jesus & Mary Chain announce memoir, ‘Never Understood’

The Jesus & Mary Chain have shared details of a memoir, set for release later this year.

Titled Never Understood, The Story Of The Jesus & Mary Chain, the book was written by the band’s founding members, William and Jim Reid, with the help of critic and ghostwriter Ben Thompson.

Set for release via White Rabbit, the book will arrive on August 15 in the UK, and September 3 in the US (via Hachette Books).

In the memoir, both William and Jim will delve into the origins of the band, their rise to fame and the personal battles they faced along the way.

“For five years after they’d swapped sought-after apprenticeships for life on the dole, brothers William and Jim Reid sat up till the early hours in the front room of their parents’ East Kilbride council house, plotting their path to world domination over endless cups of tea, with the music turned down low so as not to wake their sleeping sister,” reads a description.

“They knew they couldn’t play in the same band because they’d argue too much, so they’d describe their dream ensembles to each other until finally they realised that these two perfect bands were actually the same band, and the name of that band was The Jesus & Mary Chain.”

Over 40 years since they first emerged, the book will see the musicians tell the story of the band for one of the very first times, and open up about their first-hand perspective of being in the group. This includes their brotherly strife, struggles with drug and alcohol addiction and extreme shyness, but is said to come together as somewhat of “a love letter to the Scottish working-class family.”

“It’s got plenty of warts, we can assure you of that,” Jim Reid said of the book. “In fact, it might be all warts.”

Similarly, publisher Lee Brackstone discussed the inspiration behind the title. “The working title for this book was Never Understand – a great Mary Chain song everyone knows from 1984,” he began. “But as the writing process drew towards its conclusion, William suggested changing the title to Never Understood – a great lesser known Mary Chain track from 1998; that switch is a perfect representation of the way this book blurs the line between the present and the distant and recent past, while illuminating hidden vistas of this legendary band’s psychic hinterland.”

“It’s a dream to be publishing this book at White Rabbit. When I commissioned it, I was hopeful with the guiding hand of Ben Thompson we might end up with a classic,” he added. “What we have ended up with exceeds even my wildest hopes and expectations: not merely a classic, but one of the greatest music memoirs I have ever published.”

The Jesus & Mary Chain memoir cover.
The Jesus & Mary Chain memoir cover. CREDIT: Press

Never Understood will be published by White Rabbit on 15th August 2024 in hardback, trade paperback, ebook and audio digital download formats. A White Rabbit special edition and vinyl audiobook will also be available.

The standard edition is priced at £25, while the White Rabbit Deluxe edition is priced at £99 and limited to 500 signed copies. A Record Store Edition is also offered for £65, limited to 1,500 signed copies and featuring alternate cover artwork. Find out more here.

In other news about The Jesus & Mary Chain, back in November the band spoke to NME about their new album ‘Glasgow Eyes’ and the single ‘jamcod’.

The track, Jim Reid said, came from “remembering painful past issues”.

“It was about the break-up of the band,” he said. “It was actually about the night in the House of Blues when the band broke up [in 1999]. There’s another song, ‘Chemical Animal’, which is similar but different in as much as I was thinking back to the drug days and what it was like.

“When you get that deep into that whole shit, it’s like everything’s acting on instinct and you become like an animal and it’s all about drugs. It’s your driving force, the thing that gets you from A to B is whether you can score. It was a horrible way to live and I’m glad I don’t do that anymore.”

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