William, along with his brother Jim, the lead singer, formed the (at times unstable) core of the band. The early sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain was defined by Reid's extremely distorted and feedback laden hollowbodyguitar work, often using the Shin-ei Companion WF-8 fuzz-wah box to get his unique sound, which verged on white noise. Reid effectively ended the band in late 1998, when he walked off stage fifteen minutes into a show at the House of Blues.
The Jesus and Mary Chain reformed in early 2007 to play concert dates in the US and throughout Europe.
After The Jesus and Mary Chain split up in 1999, Reid began performing solo under the name Lazycame. Reid has also been involved in the production of the Sister Vanilla album, Little Pop Rock, featuring the Reid brothers' younger sister, Linda Reid.