My Favorite Album: Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain on Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, June 22nd, 2024  

My Favorite Album: Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain on Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life”

“There’s only a few albums that stick with you for several decades, and Iggy has made a few of them.”

Mar 17, 2020 The Jesus and Mary Chain Photography by Steve Gullick Bookmark and Share

“Oh god, it was about a million years ago,” Jim Reid, lead singer of The Jesus and Mary Chain, says of the first time he heard Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life. “I think I was probably in my bedroom in East Kilbride, in Scotland, and it was William [brother and co-founding member of The Jesus and Mary Chain] who bought it. It was during the whole height of the punk rock thing and everyone was getting into Iggy because all the music papers were calling him ‘the godfather of punk’…. I just remember William bringing it back and just being astounded at the quality of the music.”

Remarking on the qualities of the album that first stood out to him, Reid says, “I think it’s just that I find it very difficult, for me, to listen to an album from start to finish, and I felt that every single track on the album could have been a single.” The only gold-certified album Iggy Pop ever released in the UK, Lust for Life is his most commercially successful album. Despite, or perhaps, because of the manic pace of writing the album—which was written, recorded, and mixed in a mere eight days—Lust For Life used far more conventional song structures than that year’s other release by Pop, debut album The Idiot. While the finished product was less exploratory soundscape, more rock and roll, and with a lighter touch from producer David Bowie’s commanding influence, the album found Pop able to explore a rawer more intuitive side. “You get songs like ‘Turn Blue’ and it just sounds like Iggy’s making it up at the microphone and it’s just incredible,” says Reid of the improvisational lyrics that make up the entire album. This would in turn inspire Bowie to incorporate this approach in his next album “Heroes” with tracks such as “Blackout.”

“There’s only a few albums that stick with you for several decades, and Iggy has made a few of them,” says Reid. “Punk was happening and everyone was saying Iggy was the messiah, and then Iggy comes out with The Idiot and Lust for Life and neither were particularly ‘punk’ records, so it was just so totally different than everything that was going on around it…. These days, I don’t drink anymore, but if I was sitting around feeling miserable I’d put on Lust for Life, have a bottle of whiskey, and I’d start feeling better.”

(The Jesus and Mary Chain formed in 1983 and released a string of beloved albums over the next 15 years, kicking off with their classic 1985 debut album Psychocandy. In 2017 the band returned with Damage and Joy, their first album in 17 years.)

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

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