NME's Ian Curtis tribute issue, now on UK newstands and at select
record stores in Houston.
Joy Division only recorded two studio albums during their time together as a band. Sadly, that time was cut short by singer Ian Curtis’ suicide on the eve of their first American tour in May 1980. While the tour did not include Houston, it would have brought the group to New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco and a few other large cities.
Despite their sparse output, the albums Unknown Pleasures and Closer as well as the band’s posthumous releases, showcased their minimalistic approach to music and placed them at the forefront of the post-punk movement. Joy Division were not a punk band, but it was punk that motivated and inspired them. Their influence can be heard in the music of many modern bands, the most notable being Interpol.
Last night (May 18) at Manchester’s Fac 251, Joy Division bassist Peter Hook with his current band The Light and guest vocalists Rowetta (Happy Mondays) and Simon Topping (A Certain Ratio) paid tribute to Ian Curtis by performing Unknown Pleasures in its entirety as well as other songs from the Joy Division catalog for the 450 person capacity crowd.
In an interview with NME, Peter Hook talked about what he learned while preparing for the show:
"The preparation for the gig was very interesting as it was the first time I'd analysed the music since we wrote it," he said. "The funny thing is I never realised how many words Ian [Curtis] used to sing, every song is like a wonderful essay without much repetition, which means I had to learn so much that it has made me put his role in the band into a whole new perspective."
A second show is set for tonight (May 19), but for those of us in Houston the fan videos on YouTube will have to suffice... for now. The latest issue of NME is a special tribute issue on Ian Curtis featuring interviews with band members, friends and fans.
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