Never Understood

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Coming Soon


By William Reid

By Jim Reid

Read by William Reid

Read by Jim Reid

Formats and Prices





  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged) $27.99
  2. ebook $15.99 $20.99 CAD
  3. Hardcover $30.00 $39.00 CAD

William and Jim Reid, brothers and founding members of The Jesus and Mary Chain—a band that bridged the gap between the punk explosion and the emergence of grunge and Britpop—chronicle the chaos, confusion, and stories behind their music.

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. 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 realized that these two perfect bands were actually the same band. The name of that band was The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The rest was not silence, and picking up those conversations again more than forty years later, William and Jim tell the full story of one of Britain’s greatest guitar bands for the very first time – a wildly funny and improbably moving chronicle of brotherly strife, feedback, riots, drug and alcohol addiction, eternal outsiders and extreme shyness, that also somehow manages to be a love letter to the Scottish working-class family.

  • “A wonderful book, most enlightening. Jim and William were outsiders among outsiders and being in a band was life or death for them. Somehow against all the odds they created one of the most iconic bands of all time and easily some of the most sublime music of the ‘80s.”
    Roisin Murphy
  • “Art ignites in the mind and, in the case of the Mary Chain, churns relentlessly on to the center stage. Perhaps the definitive outcasts-saved-by-rock 'n roll story.”
    Irvine Welsh
  • “Forget Phil Spector's wall of sound—the Jesus and Mary Chain didn't know where to stop, and it led to the most exciting sounds to come out of the UK in a generation. Here is the story of the Reid brothers’ rollercoaster life.  Scream if you want to go faster—they’ll almost certainly oblige.”
    Ian Rankin
  • “An epic story about the Reid brothers’ war against the world and themselves. An odyssey of rock and roll, class, addiction, self-crucifixion, and resurrection. As diseased and beautiful as their music. I couldn’t put it down.”
    Bobby Gillespie

On Sale
Sep 17, 2024
Hachette Audio

William Reid

About the Author

Brothers William and Jim Reid are founding members of The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Ben Thompson is a critic, ghostwriter, and radio host.

Learn more about this author