Navigating sibling relationships within bands can be a challenging task, evident in numerous bands, including your own. How do you manage the delicate balance between being brothers and bandmates?
Jim Reid, who sings and plays guitar, has gained insight on how to handle his relationship with his brother. They used to have boundaries that they wouldn’t cross, but in the 1990s, they couldn’t stand each other. Jim is thankful that most of their conflicts occurred before smartphones were popular, so they were not captured on YouTube. One particular night while they were DJing, they got into a physical fight and ended up wrestling on the floor while others looked on in horror.
William Reid (lead singer and guitarist): During our performance at the House of Blues in Los Angeles in 1998, Jim was heavily intoxicated and couldn’t remember the lyrics to our songs. I had to remove him from the stage and attempt to sing myself, but I also couldn’t remember the words. This incident caused the band to disband for nine years, but we have since matured and haven’t had any conflicts. We have realized that alcohol only creates problems and we prefer to have a smooth working relationship.
Jim: The absence of the band improved our relationship. The track “Jamcod” on our new album [Glasgow Eyes] reflects that experience, but we have both learned what not to say now.
Jim once stated, “Following every tour, we felt the urge to harm one another, and even after the last tour, we attempted to do so.” Who would have been the one to harm the other? Zaropans
I would have harmed Jim as I am physically larger.
Jim: I must admit, I would have eliminated William. It was like Goldfinger’s plan to eliminate James Bond, tied to a table with lasers.
When I was 15, I returned my vinyl copy of Psychocandy to the record store because I believed there was an issue with it. How would you characterize the sound of that album? TopTramp
Jim: We created Psychocandy as an attempt to address all the flaws in the music industry. Our goal was to produce something completely different from the generic and unoriginal music that was dominating the radio during that time period.
I recall a song that you collaborated on with Shane MacGowan, titled “God Help Me.” Did you have a good working relationship? -stevelittlefingers
William used to encounter Shane in the town, and he would always be extremely intoxicated. Shane would consistently address William as “Jim” and compliment him, to which William would correct him but eventually allowed him to continue calling him Jim. They both shared a love for the band The Pogues. William had written a song about himself, but he thought it would sound better with Shane as the vocalist. It was a challenge to get Shane into the studio due to his heroin use, but they eventually did and the result was amazing.
Jim: If life were just, Shane would have stopped drinking in his 40s and lived to be 90, but he was amazing – everything you could hope for. He even sang a song with us at Madame JoJo’s in Soho. We were incredibly nervous and ended up getting drunk, but he arrived completely sober and gave us a disapproving look. The performance was fantastic; he sang as if he was back in the Nipple Erectors. It was pure punk rock.
In the 1980s, Alan McGee, the head of Creation Records, stated that you were the greatest thing since the Sex Pistols. Do you concur with this statement? Galdove19
William: It’s kinda easy to believe when someone’s telling you you’re the greatest thing that’s ever happened, but then you’d hear him say the same thing to [early Creation act] the Legend. Alan called everything “genius”. A chocolate bar could be genius. The hyperbole got us positive attention and then a lot of negative. Jim was beaten up twice and people came to gigs just to throw bottles at us. So we told McGee to tone it down.
Jim believed that either NME or Sounds initiated it, but McGee was going through a phase similar to Malcolm McLaren’s. Upon reading that, Jim realized the potential danger. He was attacked at a Nick Cave concert. The word “hype” used to bother him, so he wasn’t convinced that any kind of publicity is beneficial. Eventually, the band took a break for six months, hoping that the riots and violence at their shows would subside. Thankfully, by the time they returned, it had.
The lyrics to the Shins’Mildenhall by the Shins recount James Mercer’s introduction to alternative music: “A kid in class passed me a tape, a band called the Jesus and the Mary Chain.” How were you turned on to music and which band or artist was your first love? VerulamiumParkRanger
Jim: On his birthday, William received a Dansette and several Beatles and Bob Dylan records. The Beatles were my introduction to music and from there, I explored different genres from glam rock to punk. It allowed us to escape the reality of living in East Kilbride and enter a fantasy world. When I listened to bands like Roxy Music, I never thought we could create something like that, but after spending all night trying to play the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop, I realized I was a musician.
I used to work at a sheet-metal factory in Glasgow, which was both dirty and hazardous. After reading an interview with Johnny Rotten in the Daily Record where he discussed the importance of not staying in a dead-end job, I was deeply affected. As a result, I quit my job within a year. Prior to discovering the Ramones, I was playing “Coming Round the Mountain” from guitar tutorial books by Bert Weedon.
The sound of Just Like Honey during the end scene of 2003’s Lost in Translation is one of the greatest uses of music in film. How much involvement did you have in its inclusion and were you pleased with the end result? VerulamiumParkRanger
William: Our only contribution was agreeing to participate. Initially, we were inclined to decline due to the low offer. However, a friend who was involved with the production informed me that [writer/director] Sofia Coppola was financially struggling but deeply committed to the project and would be extremely disappointed if we refused.
Jim: Our songs have been featured in multiple films, often for only a brief moment from a radio. So being able to have a key scene in a fantastic film was amazing. This also helped us gain many new followers.
What’s the best heckle you’ve ever had? Area3AAM
William: Heckles are not known for being clever. They usually consist of: “Fuck you.”
Jim: I once encountered a man in New York wearing combat fatigues and resembling Travis Bickle. He was staring directly at me and making threatening gestures. I immediately feared for my safety, thinking “If he stands up, I’m in trouble.” Eventually, he attempted to climb onto the stage, but it took four security guards to restrain him and remove him from the premises.
Was Centre Point in East Kilbride a competitor to Manchester’s Haçienda in terms of slum-pop music?
William: During our time there, the nightclub was known as the Olympia. However, I can attest that the Haçienda was much less aggressive. I still have a lingering ache in my jaw from when a man kicked me at the Olympia in 1975.
Did you really shout “Guilty!” on the Erasure song Drama? YorksJambo
William: We were all together at the same studio, and their producer requested a group of people to shout “Guilty!” It was amusing because the lead singer, Andy Bell, had harshly criticized our latest album in a music publication. When we arrived, he turned pale with fear. However, he had no reason to be afraid of us. Despite our reputation, we are kind and mild-mannered individuals who enjoy tea and toast.
I attended my first concert during the Psychocandy tour at the Royal Court in Liverpool. The performance lasted 29 minutes. Do you now have longer sets and can I request a refund? – butchoaks
Unfortunately, I am unable to provide refunds. Currently, our typical playtime is approximately an hour and a half, which seems appropriate. We have also added a considerable amount of new songs.
Jim stated that he becomes uninterested after watching bands for over 30 minutes, even if it was the Beatles performing. During the time when they had creative freedom, they would even play 20-minute shows. While he acknowledges that audiences want to hear the songs they paid for, he would still prefer to only play for 29 minutes if possible.
What would the JAMC, known for their nihilistic and riot-inducing music, think of you continuing to do it now? Do you have more sheep tendencies than human ones?
William believes that they would feel a sense of accomplishment. In the beginning, interviewers would inquire about their plans for the next five years. Many doubted their longevity. However, after four decades, it is clear that they will continue until they choose to stop.
Jim: We are still the same people we were before. It is amazing to see that we are still pursuing our passions. If we continue to do what we love and create music that we are proud of, why stop?