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Ian Curtis Interviews, 1979, 1980

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Author Topic: Ian Curtis Interviews, 1979, 1980  (Read 370 times)
Mandy Esser
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Posts: 4560

« on: December 03, 2012, 12:00:38 am »

James: Who was singing during rehearsal and writing?

Stephen/Bern: We all had a go

Bernard: In the studio with Martin we all tried singing Ceremony. So then we were due to go on this small tour of the Eastern sea board, near New York on the last night of recording studio we’d just finished recording, we drove back to Manhattan and the roadies Terry and Twinny had fallen out with each other so they weren’t speaking to each other so they didn’t disable the van to stop people from getting in it and driving off.

Stephen: They each forgot to do it and Tony [Wilson] got us up in the morning and said “Good news, Bad news” “Bad news, the vans gone and all your gear’s been stolen. The good news is there is no good news” he was laughing his head off!

Bernard: And me Peter Hook and Rob were all sharing a room like 3 single beds, that would be the room where Rob used to drink our Sock Water.

James: Used to drink what?

Bernard: It was for a bet, we used to wash our socks in the sink and Rob would drink a glass of sock water for $20.

James: Traditionally a pint of your own **** is a pound.

Bernard: **** sandwich is a tenner

Bernard: So Tony Wilson here laughing his head off and his attitude was “It’s a wonderful end to the story darlings” We were like ‘No it’s **** not!’

James: You thought that was the end of the band?

Bernard: No it was a full stop on the end of Joy Division’s story because it was Joy Division’s equipment, and in fact that was a pivotal moment we were like “How much worse can this get, what else is going to happen?” but it didn’t get any worse in fact, it got better from there on because I took over as singer, took the bull by the horns.

James: What did you say “I’m gonna be the singer”?

Bernard: No Rob Gretton picked me as singer after a particularly large glass of sock water.


In fact, we did get some things back…

Stephen: We did yeah, what happened is before we went, we didn’t know much about America, but one thing we read from a book was that their electricity was different to ours we needed a transformer so Terry the roadie got in charge of sorting out the transformers, he got Pink Floyds transformer which was enough to do like a Pink Floyd show. You couldn’t actually carry it, it was massive, as bit as a car! They found the [stolen] van and in the back of it was Pink Floyd’s transformer!

Bernard: And some skis.

Stephen: Yeah and they found some skis in the back too which are now Bernards, as he saw it as a silver lining.

Bernard: We eventually found out who’d knicked the gear…

Stephen: Yeah we did, it was about 18 years later and Rick Derringer of all people the American guitarist, had a gig and what happened is the thieves would go to gigs in the New York area, they’d follow the band back to the hotel wait till the band went to bed, 9 out of 10 times the Roadies would have had an argument and forgot to disable the van and then they get in it to hotwire it and drive it off. Eagle eye Rick Derringer caught them in the act and then they went to a Youth Club and it was piled high to the rafters of bands gear and I think the gang was called ‘The Lost Tribe Of Israel’ they were keeping it but, we got it back, they’d done loads of bands by that time. Still got my Drum Kit that I got back from there, they had everybody’s gear; John Lennon’s boots were there.

Bernard: That was a very pivotal moment, it almost destroyed us we didn’t have loads of money and it was hard.

Stephen: Rob Gretton was in the insurance business so he was like we’ve lost all the gear but at least we’re insured. Then Rob got on the phone and tried to sort it out and guess what, bloody hell we weren’t insured.

Bernard: Rob buggered that up, Rob used to work in the insurance business so you’d think he’d know better so the guy at the insurance company asked him “was the van alarmed” Rob went “No.” that negated the insurance as soon as he said that and we’d lost like $45,000 worth of equipment. We went into the police station to report it being knicked and there was a big black New York cop there and he had a blaster in the police station dancing to Chic on this blaster. We tried to tell him that the gear had been knicked and he was like “You wait while the record finishes man.”


James: Were you [Ste] and Peter happy when Bernard was announced as the singer.

Stephen: Yeah, I never wanted to be the singer. Never.

Bernard: I think Hooky probably secretly did.

Stephen: I mean he’d done some singing in Joy Division so yeah, but I never wanted to be a singer, singing drummers don’t look right, they never have done.

    The bouncers were nice to everyone else apart from me; my face didn’t fit. I was from Macclesfield!

Change: Opening a nightclub.

Stephen: It wasn’t long after that we came up with the bright idea of opening a nightclub and I thought it would be like The Factory club

Bernard: We became successful and as soon as the money started coming in obviously someone, one of the boys in the back room decided that we needed a suitable way of spending it, so it was up to us to put it into opening a nightclub.

Stephen: When we thought about it in our minds, forgetting what the Hacienda is now if we rewind when they said club we thought, it’ll be like The Factory, they used to do the night in Hulme and we thought what could be the harm in a club.

We asked them where and they told us about International Marine, we thought “there?” I always used to drive past it and be fascinated by how you could sell yachts in the middle of Manchester.

James: Did it have windows?

Ste: Not really, they were kind of blued out you couldn’t tell what was going on inside, it was a mysterious building to me. I didn’t realise the canal was at the back of it, the idea of selling yachts… and I would think “how the hell do you get a yacht out of there?”

Bernard: The yachts would sail on the canal…

Ste: Well I didn’t know that then.

Bernard: Steve, I’m joking, you don’t sail yachts on canals.

Ste: I don’t know I’m not a sea fairing man. So they took us inside the International Marine and it was massive. Factory was small and dark and this was obviously the complete opposite, it was huge.

Bernard: It wasn’t small it was like medium

James: When I went to the Factory it had the feel of quite a big workingmen’s club the PSV it was called then.

Ste: Yeah the PSV, it wasn’t quite intimate but it wasn’t what this building was. This building was big and light and I couldn’t see how you could make a club here.

Bernard: The truth is we weren’t that enthusiastic about doing it and it was really Rob Gretton and Mike Pickering who really wanted to do it.

Ste: They wanted to do it. Then there was the thing with the fire brigade where they built the balcony inside the building then the fire brigade came and said “no, you’ve not done it right” So we had to do it again, cause it wasn’t done according to the fire regulation so within in a very short space of time had lost a few thousand pounds. Immediately it lost money.

Bernard: It wasn’t very well project managed and I guess we didn’t know how much money was involved because we weren’t into money. We were just having a great time and that’s all we cared about. We never knew how much money was coming into the organization so we weren’t bothered. We were busy getting off our faces in America doing things that young men do.

Ste: So when the bloody thing opened it’s called the Hacienda and it’s got blue stripes on it, and they wouldn’t let me in on the opening night. I was on my way home before I thought I would give it another go, eventually I got in, I blagged my way in “Connie, can you ask Mike if I can come in?” it were something like that.

James: Was Connie a woman or a man?

Ste: Connie, she was out of Quando Quango

James: and she did the door?

Ste: In the early days yeah she did. It wasn’t her who wasn’t letting me in; she got me in eventually. It was the bouncers.

Bernard: We were supposed to have nice bouncers.

Ste: The bouncers were nice to everyone else apart from me; my face didn’t fit. I was from Macclesfield! What do you expect! But yeah, it wasn’t easy to pass it off as a club.

Bernard: It was dead bright and the sound system was terrible and dead echoey. The DJ was hidden underneath the stage virtually for a long time till I **** kicked up a fuss about that. And it was just kind of wrong.

James: O.K. so that’s the Hacienda, was there any songs that changed things like Low-life, I remember hearing that and thinking, I really like this band now.

Ste: Low-life, my face- put me on the front cover

James: That’s just for me but like Blue Monday

    They were all against us and I felt a bit beleaguered and it was a kind of **** you to the press really.

Change: Blue Monday

Bernard: Blue Monday was a seismic change in the kind of material that we were writing and was a big commercial hit really. It was a big hit!  I remember when it first came out people were like “What’s this, this doesn’t sound like New Order” everything about it, the way it looked was different.

James: there is that other song that sounds like it that you were influenced by – it’s on YouTube it’s a Disco song.

Bernard: There were a few songs that influenced it really, like Italian disco track ‘Dirty Talk – Klein & MBO’s’ it’s the European Connection version.

We got this drum machine, the Oberheim DMX, and we had a synth – a little moog – and we had a sequencer and we decided with this equipment. The reason we wrote the song was because we were getting grief about not doing encores, we’d write a song where you could just go on and press the button for all the machines.

James: and did Kraftwork already do that.

Bernard/Ste: No.

Bernard: So we had this new gear, we had this plan to write a song and all these machines would play the encore. The sort of music we were listening to then had changed really over the years through travelling, spending a lot of time in New York and Europe listening to different influences. We’d picked up these records that were interesting, we decided to use the arrangement of Klein & MBO. We didn’t rip the music off; we just thought it was a nicely arranged track. It was a European re-edit of a Canadian record; so we just copied the arrangement and then the rest came from our record collection, a bit like a DJ. We were just influenced by stuff like the bass line; I thought I was doing something like Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real.
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