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What happened when BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test booked The Jesus and Mary Chain

For the Psychocandy 33 ⅓ book, Trevor Dann, a broadcaster and writer, was newly minted as a program producer for the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test and told 33 ⅓’s author Paula Mejia about his experience booking acts for the show, and what happened when he booked the Mary Chain and they thrashed through one of their noisiest cuts, “In a Hole.” Here’s what he had to say.

“I thought my job as the producer was to try and make it a bit more modern. The previous producer had a rule that you couldn’t on Whistle Test if you hadn’t made an album. And of course, punk music wasn’t really about making an album. And The Jesus and Mary Chain were at a point where nobody, no more than a hundred or so people had heard them play. And they were capable of being the latest horror story in the tabloid press. So it just seemed to me, ‘Well, we should have them on!’ Not because we’re saying they’re good, or no good. But we’re a music program and people would think, at the very least, it would be interesting to see what they’re like.”

“So that’s what we did. By the time we booked them, we did know what they sounded like and we did think, ‘Hmm, this isn’t mainstream, isn’t it?’ The rest is history.”

 

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