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Ian Curtis Interviews, 1979, 1980

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Mandy Esser
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« on: December 03, 2012, 12:02:27 am »

James: Do you remember writing the lyrics?

Bernard: No I don’t

James: Like retrospectively, you don’t even remember what they were about?

Bernard: I think I do. They weren’t literally about this but we were getting a lot of **** in the press at the time. The press has turned on us after Joy Division who could do no wrong. They were all against us and I felt a bit beleaguered and it was a kind of **** you to the press really. That’s kind of what was in my head when I wrote it, it was a kind of a **** you we can do it without you and we did, with that song.

James: When I was on the NME Len Brown wrote a great piece that is presumably wrong. He read it to be about the Falklands, he wrote a great piece about his brother committing suicide or was it about Blue Monday.

Bernard: Well we also have an attitude that we never explain what a song is about because people have their own interpretations, that’s equally valid. So I wouldn’t say that’s not wrong, it’s how you interpret a song and what it means to you and that’s why we never. Whenever I write lyrics it’s never a literal thing it’s just what’s on my mind at the time.

James: well all of this is good because I’ve never read in interviews like what your expectations were.

Bernard: Well obviously from Blue Monday we started to gain considerable commercial success, it was the biggest selling 12” single ever and with other songs like Bizarre Love Triangle, True Faith we had big hit records, which started bringing a lot of money into the record company. However, and there is always a however in life, I think what ended up happening was we got found out on tour and most the money that we earned on tour which was a considerable about of dosh we were allowed to keep and that kept our minds off this money that was coming in from commercial success and record sales. I guess that money; we never saw any accounts for the whole time did we?

Ste: No I didn’t see any accounts.

Bernard: So I guess that was the money that was keeping The Hacienda afloat. The problem with The Hacienda was for some bloody bizarre reason when Factory started getting into some financial trouble they decided the best thing to do would be to buy the actual building that The Hacienda was in, that previously we’d rented. We bought the building but we bought it on a bridging loan with very high interest and then got in trouble so their finances were looking shaky. I don’t know how or why, I can’t remember at the time why they were looking shaky but they couldn’t get a proper mortgage on The Hacienda building. So we were paying enormous amounts of interest on a bridging loan plus enormous amounts of interest on the money that The Hacienda had lost earlier, so it was impossible. Even though these were kind of the days of acid house and The Hacienda was actually full of people having a great time, off their nuts or whatever, we couldn’t get it to pay because a) because of this bridging loan and b) because of debts incurred earlier. Even though we were filling it up on like a Thursday, Friday and a Saturday, absolutely full to the rafters you couldn’t fill it on a Monday a Tuesday a Wednesday and for the sums to work we had to fill it every single night. Just impossible, so that in effect put an enormous burden on both Factory and us.

James: When did you find out about that?

Bernard: Well we would have continuous meetings where they’d say “well we’d just had a VAT bill that we need to pay” and we’d be like “How much is it” and the response is “£100,000” and then we’d say “have you got the money” to be met with a “no.”

Ste: Always on a Friday you’d get a phone call “We need forty-grand by tea time or The Hacienda’s going to close” and then you’re like “O.K.” and then you have to find the money.

Bernard: To understand this you have to understand Rob Gretton’s mentality you know, wonderful guy  but like everyone else he had his faults. We were crossing a ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, an overnight one, and it was really rough and Rob, he was a gambler you know. All the passengers went to bed with seasickness and I saw Rob stand there with his legs splayed out so he wouldn’t fall over gambling on roulette. He gambled to the point where he had to pull his pockets inside out to see if he had any change, only when the coffers were completely empty did he go to bed. And that’s kind of what I thought we did with the Hacienda.

Ste: We’d just continually buy to keep it going, it would have had to be open for like a billion million years before it would ever make any money. Even if you filled it every night, it would never make any money.

Bernard: It was like backing a racehorse but there was no finish line. It was like that was the start of the fall of the Roman Empire, the reason why I mention it is because that was what started everything to crumble.

Another problem was Factory had started to have another successful group, The Happy Mondays and that became a problem because if we were making an album and the Mondays were making an album there would be a cash flow problem.

Ste: It’s important because all of those things weren’t why we joined a band, to sort money problems and then Factory went and we thought, oh well it’s over now we’ll have a proper record label and everything will be better. In some ways it was but when we got to the proper record label we suddenly realised, Factory weren’t that bad. But the bottom line was we did get paid.

James: Was that when you joined London

Bernard/Ste: Yeah

James: So are you saying that the band had peaked then?

Bernard: Well it’s kind of caused by its success really, all caused by all of us not knowing how to handle success. Like I mentioned earlier, we had commercial success and as a touring band. The Success caused the collapse of the record label because they didn’t handle it in the right way we did our bit alright, wrote the hit records and did the tours, their bit was to put records out obviously and handle finances saying that though some of it was just getting themselves into a mess and not knowing how to get out of it.

http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/ian-curtis-blue-monday-sock-water-new-order-interviewed/
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