WHILE making the latest The Jesus and Mary Chain album, Glasgow Eyes, frontman Jim Reid spent a lot of time thinking about the what-ifs? or what-could-have-beens? as he reflected on the significant moments that shaped the band and his life.

One moment in particular that stuck with Reid was the infamous performance at The House of Blues in Los Angeles in 1998, which is the focus of a new song, Jamcod. The gig ended after just 15 minutes when Jim and his brother William brawled on stage as they “wanted to kill each other.”

Following the fight, the future of the band looked doomed as the pair went their separate ways, not reuniting until 2007. Reid says that in hindsight The Jesus and Mary Chain probably didn’t need to break up for as long as they did. “Why it happened was complicated but for one reason or another, William and I had veered off in different directions,” he says. “Creatively, not so much, but in every other aspect of our lives and we just argued about everything.

“If we had taken a year away from the band and not seen each other for that time, we would have realised that it was worth saving. But we were in this mad situation where it was obviously going to explode at any second.”

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Reid believes that management – or someone close to the band – should have stepped in and advised them to take a little break. Instead, they booked the brothers for a three-month tour across the US.

“Just at a time when we wanted to kill each other, we found ourselves on a tour bus, which is one of the most claustrophobic environments you can imagine,” Reid said. “It was about 12 other guys and two brothers who at that time couldn’t stand the sight of each other. That was never going to end well.”

The band achieved their breakthrough success with the critically acclaimed 1985 album Psychocandy, which was recorded in London. However, the foundations of the band were very much formed in East Kilbride. Despite having lived in England for so long, Reid still feels an incredible sense of homecoming when he comes back to perform in Scotland.

He said: “It’s always good going back to Scotland. It sometimes takes moving away from a place to realise what was great about it.”

One thing he believes makes Scotland special is the people and their “sensible outlook” on life. “They are less hysterical than the English,” he says. “For instance, Scottish people did not vote for Brexit and English people did.

The National:

“Politically speaking, there’s a lot of knee-jerk reactions in English politics that you don’t get so much in Scotland.”

The band are set to play an intimate warm-up gig at St Luke’s in Glasgow tomorrow ahead of their UK/EU 40 Years Tour, before returning for a show at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on March 27.

Reid said the 1998 break-up helped increase their popularity and anticipation for tours and performances when they eventually reunited.

“When we broke up in 1998, we were an annoyance to people. It was like, ‘fuck, are they still here?’,” Reid says. “We broke up for nine years and we seemed to become legendary during that time. There was a much more reverential treatment of the Mary Chain when we came back.”

Live shows aren’t always something that Reid looked forward to. In fact, when the band was first formed, neither brother wanted to be the frontman so they decided to flip a coin on who would take on that role.

“I am incredibly shy and William is not much better. We wanted to be in a band but the idea of standing in the middle singing was utterly fucking terrifying,” Reid says.

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“I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t want to do it, so we tossed a coin and I lost. I struggled with it for a long time. I feel quite comfortable with it now but for years and years I couldn’t do a gig sober.

“From the first period of the band up until the break-up in 1998, I never did a gig sober, not one! I was either on drugs or drunk out of my mind.”

At the time of the 2007 reunion, Reid had been sober for about three years and would be performing without drink or drugs for the first time, which was a daunting prospect.

“It was terrifying. I’m back in the band and all of a sudden I’m playing Coachella in front of God knows how many people and I’m doing a duet with Scarlett Johansson.

I’m like, ‘Get me a fucking funnel and a bottle of whisky, now!’.”

Reid came to the realisation that people have much harder jobs than performing, so he took a leap of faith. It was a transformative moment as he realised he didn’t have to depend on drink and drugs to become relaxed on stage. “I don’t always feel like I need to be drunk now. I do fall off the wagon from time to time – I did at the end of last year,”

Reid says. “I was on the bottle again when I was working on this record but I’m sober now. It’s just the way it works. I tend to get sober for about five years and then something happens.”

Glasgow Eyes is out on Friday. It can be pre-ordered at themarychain.com where tour details are also listed