You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

A surviving member of cult band writes stirring memoir


I remember the first time I heard the band Joy Division. I was clerking in a record store. We stocked imports, records shipped over from England. We received an album called “Unknown Pleasures” by this group called Joy Division.

We popped the record onto the turntable (remember those?). We had never heard anything like it. This music was atmospheric and dirge-like. It was hard to make out the lyrics. The band’s singer was Ian Curtis. He had a haunting, hypnotizing voice. The instrumentation was dark and churning and brooding.

In 1980, with just that one album released, Joy Division was about to come to the United States on concert tour. Then we heard shocking news; their singer had taken his own life. Just like that, Joy Division was no more. (The band’s second proper album, “Closer,” was released later that year.) Over the past 30-plus years their brief tragic history has rendered them almost iconic cult status.

We wondered what really happened? Why did Ian Curtis do it? The band’s bassist Peter Hook has published a memoir; “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division.” Hook, or “Hooky,” as he was known to his bandmates looks back and illuminates the figurative darkness that foreshadows this band from Manchester, England.

Hook will be in Ohio to sign books Monday in Cincinnati. (See the “how to go” box for details.)

Joy Division fans will anticipate that tragedy that haunts this influential band’s brief existence, knowing how this story will end. It is still an enthralling read. The author’s own personal memoir serves as a prelude to the timeline that delineates the band’s formation, performances and recording sessions.

Hook met Bernard Sumner, their future guitarist, in grammar school. After Joy Division ended they formed another influential band, called New Order. Hook describes how they returned to their old school for a photo session for a music magazine. Their musical fame didn’t impress the headmaster, their former geography teacher. He ran them off campus.

This book is a smorgasbord of anecdotes and revelations. The band recorded in sessions supervised by a music promoter named Martin Hannett. He had his own singular vision of the sound he wanted to capture for posterity. Hannett usually excluded the band from the mixing and editing process.

Sumner and Hook were used to being shunted aside. They were also deterred from doing many interviews. This actually enhanced the mystique of the band. At the time they were not pleased with Hannett’s production of their songs. They wanted a heavier, punkier sound. Now Hook admits that the late Hannett was a visionary and his musical intuitions were inspired.

Joy Division was constantly touring. Hook usually drove the band to gigs in his van. He got stuck loading the equipment. His resentments over this still feel raw. He was also a relentless prankster. Some of the practical jokes that they pulled on other bands were utterly juvenile but hilarious nevertheless.

A tour of Europe exacerbated the problems that their singer was experiencing. Curtis was suffering from epilepsy. During some performances he had epileptic fits on stage. Strobe lights were a particular hazard. But the band soldiered on. In retrospect Hook realizes that the constant grind ultimately drove Ian Curtis to end it all.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

Celebrities show solidarity with Women's March
Celebrities show solidarity with Women's March

Scores of celebrities attended marches in Washington and other cities Saturday joining millions of people across the country in a show of solidarity with the movement bringing attention to women’s rights the day following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
'House of Cards' will 'Bring the Terror' in Season 5
'House of Cards' will 'Bring the Terror' in Season 5

As the nation watched Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th president, Frank Underwood already was planning ahead. Netflix released a teaser Friday for the fifth season of its presidential drama, "House of Cards." Underwood, the crafty politician played by Kevin Spacey, will return to action on May 30, Netflix announced.   The teaser...
Wright State illuminates Modern Art
Wright State illuminates Modern Art

One of the terrific ongoing arts collaborations in the Miami Valley is known as CELIA. The innovative Wright State University program — the acronym stands for Collaborative Education, Leadership and Innovation in the Arts — benefits both our community and the school’s students by bringing top-notch artists to town to interact with...
Wright State expects fewer foreign students because of ‘Trump effect’
Wright State expects fewer foreign students because of ‘Trump effect’

Wright State expects to enroll fewer international students in the short term because of what provost Tom Sudkamp referred to in a trustees meeting on Friday as “the Trump effect.” Sudkamp made the comment, which he said is “commonly used” in higher education, just hours after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the nation&rsquo...
'NCIS: Los Angeles,' 'Crossing Jordan' actor Miguel Ferrer dead at 61
'NCIS: Los Angeles,' 'Crossing Jordan' actor Miguel Ferrer dead at 61

Actor Miguel Ferrer, who starred in the TV shows "NCIS: Los Angeles” and "Crossing Jordan," in addition to the film "RoboCop" and doing voiceover work in "Mulan," has died at age 61 Thursday, Variety reported. Ferrer had been battling cancer. "Today, 'NCIS: Los Angeles' lost a beloved family member...
More Stories