I’m going to go off-topic on this a bit. But since I run EffectsBay, I can do that right? Joy Division has been an interesting band in my life. And recently, Joy Division has been coming up more and more.
Recently, I saw a post or tweet – can’t remember about Ian Curtis’ house being up for sale, and the possibility of it being purchase and turned into a museum. There was a surprising amount of talk bashing the band.. and frankly I was stunned.
For those of you not familiar with the band Joy Division – they were a post-punk band from Manchester, England. Inspired by the punk movement of the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, etc the band formed, but quickly changed into something else.. something quite new. The time of the early 80s was the post-punk period with many bands finding their identities. Ian Curtis was the front man of that band with a distinctive baritone vocal style, with very emotional and smart lyrics. He suffered from epilepsy and was struggling with his marriage, and ended up committing suicide in his home (the home that is currently up for sale) on the eve of their first United States tour.
Joy Division was on the cusp of great things, and with the tragic loss, were hurled into legend. The surviving members later formed New Order and were quite successful.
The band Joy Division has been very important to me over the years. I discovered them while in high school, right at the beginning days of playing guitar. Right in the beginning days of understanding and appreciating music.. and having music move you on an emotional level. There is that point where you transition from tapping your feet and saying stupid things like -“It’s got a great beat.. and is catchy” to breaking down the emotion in the lyrics. Relating to those emotions or experiences. Letting the song take you somewhere inside.. like reading a book. Some people never understand this. At the time of me listening to Joy Division, I never heard lyrics talk about struggle like Ian’s. It was frightening to be moved so deeply.. from a song or an album.
The album Closer, which was my favorite and was released right after Ian’s suicide is the heaviest stuff. The struggle is so clearly defined there, the writing was on the wall. For years, I would come back to Joy Division and be reminded of how important this music was to me. I often called it root-rock. The stuff that makes up your musical foundation. Joy Division was a major cornerstone in that foundation for me.
Now the haters, refer to this as a ‘hipster band’ and talk about the poor musicianship. What people are missing is that at the time, no one was laying it out like this. Musically, it was raw, atmospheric and was ‘complete’ with Ian’s lyrics. Sure, they weren’t virtuosos, but who cares. It was what they started, and who they influenced. It’s also.. about what could have been.
Just recently, I picked up Peter Hook’s book (Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division) and read it while on tour, and it was a fantastic read. Peter Hook who was the bass player in Joy Division and I wanted to read about the ‘actual’ accounts from the proper and real perspective. Again, it took me back to those early days of discovering music, but now I could relate to being in the struggle of being in a band, but got me to appreciate how hard it was to be in that band with that loss.
I think it would be great if the house could be purchased and turned into a museum for Ian and Joy Division. When you think of that house, the stress, the love, the hate, the hopelessness, the excitement, the birth.. the death all related to those walls. It would only be appropriate. When I watched the bio-pic for Joy Division – Control directed by Anton Corbijn, I thought it was amazing that they were able to shoot the ‘home’ scenes in the actual home. So I with them luck – Here is the link to the IndieGoGo Campaign.
I would like to hear your thoughts about Joy Division.. or let me know if you have a band that moved you like JD does for me. Comment below!