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Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus and Mary Chain Story Paperback – May 19, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'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

About the Author

Zoe Howe is a freelance journalist and author whose writing has featured in NME, the Guardian, Classic Rock, BBC Music, Channel4 Music, The Quietus website, Company and Marie Claire, amongst many others. She has interviewed artists as diverse as PolyStyrene, Biffy Clyro, Mariah Carey, Pete Townshend, Suggs and Human League. Her book, Looking Back at Me (Cadiz Music 2012), was written with Wilko Johnson, ex Dr Feelgood. Zoe lives in London, with her husband, jazz drummer Dylan Howe (son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe). Previous publications include Typical Girls (Omnibus 2009), the definitive biography of The Slits and How's Your Dad? Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent (Omnibus 2010).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (May 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846972493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846972492
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,186,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
No one reviewed this yet? Zoë Howe, allow me to thank you first. Wonderful job. Loved it. Hard to put down.

My admiration for the Mary Chain is rivaled only by Siouxsie and the Banshees (obsessed by both). Waited forever for a book like this. I knew Jim and William fought, but I never knew how bad it was! Nonetheless, they released a trove of superb records that stand many repeat airings and the test of time.

If you ever update this I'd love to see even more detail/perspectives on the actual songs from each record and also hear how projects like The Power of Negative Thinking" were developed. But those are minor quibbles. Great work. If you're a fan – like all their records – this is a must.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was especially excited when I saw this book was about to be released. That is, until I saw who the author was. I had read Howe's bio of the Slits, "Typical Girls", with equal anticipation several years ago. Sadly, despite the exciting subject, that book fell somewhat flat. Not to excessively disparage the author, but her style is akin to reading an extremely long magazine article: rather lacking in dimension and any form of analysis. I had hoped that a few years and an especially dynamic subject would make for a more nuanced and in-depth probe into the life of such a fantastic band. And, this time, it almost does. Almost. But, that being said, the fact that this is an essentially, well, "factual", book (except when the author confuses the Seeds with the Saints) is not a bad thing by any means and is likely to be a great read for any and all JAMC fans. The fact that extensive contemporary interviews with Jim Reid, Bobby Gillespie and Alan McGee are fearured solidly throughout (although not William, sadly) makes this the (current) semi-official history of the band. So, to summarize, this is a modestly well-written book saved by a great band, fascinating personalities, excellent interviews and anecdotes straight from the insiders. Oh, and approximately 80 pages of timeline, discography, band member notes and index which make this seem a longer book than it actually is.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book. I love The Jesus and Mark Chain, but I'm always a little nervous about biographies. I've read some bad ones about some good bands. I think the saddest part was when I realized that the last 25% of the books was timelines and references. I wanted the story to keep going.

Overall, well written, entertaining and a fast read. Even if you just have a passing interest in the band, this is a great read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The tense and dense history of a band that makes it own way to sucess. I am devouring it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a fantastic job on this book. The author is clearly a fan , but remains objective. A great look into a great band.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have so much respect for the JAMC. I already loved their music, but this book helped me to see them as regular lads with dreams and ambitions and the steadfast determination to carve out their own paths instead of accepting a life confined to the factories (XTC's song "Making Plans for Nigel" comes to mind). Their story is an inspirational one of persistence, never giving up, and remaining true to one's self and values despite insurmountable societal pressure and demands. They did music their way, on their own terms, and without compromise. The poignant anecdotes about their humble upbringing, schooling, and fraternal struggles remind me of my own childhood. The fact that the music and the group still endure after all these years is a testament to the power of magical songwriting and the strength of familial bonds.
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