|Ian Curtis Radio Blackburn interview
Recorded 28th February 1980 at Preston Warehouse
(Also known as the Radio Lancashire interview)
|Joy Division Central's Mark Gale spoke exclusively to Steve Barker from BBC
Radio Blackburn in Novembers 2015 and he had this to say:
"You are correct in the assumption of when the interview was broadcast - I think it was March. It was before Ian's death. As far as all the other versions you mentioned these are all bootlegs and unofficial as far as I, and the BBC, are concerned. I would be grateful if you mentioned this in some way, as here in Blackburn we receive little credit for what we have done over the years and this disrespectful, arrogant and greedy approach still goes on to this day. If we had have been asked we would have said yes anyway and we do not wish to hold any copyright or control over this or any other material we generated, but we do expect credit where its due.
The interview was done late afternoon early evening in the background of the soundcheck at the Preston Warehouse. The interview was for the Spinoff show which went out each Tuesday and Thursday evening on Radio Blackburn (now Radio Lancashire). Obviously its a long time ago and I don't recall much detail other than the fact that Ian was very cooperative and friendly, recognised that Spyda was a non-professional and treated him well. I just sat by their side and held the UHER reel-to-reel portable tape machine. The interview was edited by my producer Ian Cook for later broadcast. I may have the tapes somewhere but cannot locate them easily (I did an interview with Jimi Hendrix in 1967 and lost that cassette!) Ian did not show any signs of disturbance or depression, obviously he was not one of those loud, gregarious people - and seemed very quiet spoken and sensitive, serious about his work".
|Parts of this interview, including some previously unheard snippets, were also aired on BBC Manchester in 1988. Unofficial recordings of both broadcasts exist. Mark Gale has pieced together the logical sequence of questions from a number of sources ..|
|March 1980 broadcast
1. Unknown - missing from the only recording currently available (something along the lines of "Can you tell us a little about Joy Division got together" or, "How has the band evolved?"
(First part of Ian's answer also missing)
... improved as musicians, obviously, from when we first started, we couldn't play at all really. Bernard, the guitarist had been playing for a few months, Peter the bass player had just started from scratch, I'd never been in a group before. I think in the beginning it was just something we wanted to do, y'know, just to get up there and play. But after about six months or so we started looking at the music and what we wanted to say more seriously.
2. You've been compared to The Banshees and more often than that The Doors. what do you think of comparisons like that?
I don't agree with them really. I mean it's pointless making comparisons really because you tend to get tied down to one particular type of sound. I think it's a lot easier for the music papers to do something like that because they like to get you boxed in, so they can say Ok, this group belongs to this category and this group belongs to this category. But I'd like to think that we don't belong to any category, y'know the music cuts across different things. I think, y'know, we never had any intention of saying we want to sound like this, or we want to sound like that. It's just what comes out at the time.
3. What sort of influences would you admit then?
ooh, (pause), things that influence me I think are mostly people. I can remember some sort of very good friends when I was 16 or so, sort of growing up at that time, their outlook at that time, sort of our outlooks together sort of shaped my outlook for the next couple of years. If I'm listening to music it tends to be the persons attitude towards the music they're making that influences me more than the actual music that's played. I can remember certain odd singles I remember hearing a few years ago that remind me of a certain point in time when something happened, y'know, and I tend to look on things like that a lot more than say a certain artist let's say, oh I'll buy all his LP's, this is a person or this is a music I like. So odd little things, or odd LP's that er, remind me of certain things that sort of made me think, y'know, that's right.
4. Your lyrics seem to concentrate on industrial or urban decay do you feel the band has any answer to those? Or our you just reporting on it?
Personally I wouldn't say we deal too much in that. the way I look at it , and the way I write, it's more to do with personal relations and the way people can cope with certain things. Within that, I tend to be more interested in people and how they look at things in different ways and different people can cope with certain problems and how we can adapt and such like. I don't like grouping things together more, I prefer to think of everyone as an individual really. I can see different things cropping up in different people's lives, or whatever, that's totally different from other people. I wouldn't like to sort of make a statement on sort of a vast vast subject.
5. What sort of relationships do you have with other Manchester bands?
We tend to be pretty isolated now really apart from the Factory groups. We have a lot to do with the other groups on Factory. So we tend to play a lot of gigs with them and ... there's other things like erm the Durutti Column LP - the sandpaper sleeve - we stuck that on. So everyone helps each other with stuff like that. But groups like the Buzzcocks we knew when we started really. You know when we sort of see them we talk to them but it's not very often. We'd like to, you know, see a lot more of other Manchester groups. Any other groups in general.
6. What do you think of the state of New Wave.
Don't know, I think it's, a lot of it tends to have lost its edge really. There's quite a few newer groups that I've heard odd records of or have seen maybe.
I like the groups on Factory; A Certain Ratio and Section 25. Erm .. I tend not to listen, when I'm listening to records, I don't listen to much new wave stuff, I tend to listen to the stuff I used to listen to a few years back, sort of odd singles, I know someone who works in a record shop where I live and I'll go in there and he'll play me, have you heard this single? There's singles by a group called "The Tights" (an obscure thing) and a group called, I think, "Bauhaus", a London group just one single. There's no one I can say I completely like, I can never say really I like such and such a group coz there's always something I don't like about them (laughs); you know, funny really, I can pick out odd, odd tracks or, eh, odd albums or singles, but it'll end at that, there's not, there's no-one I can say I've got all this persons records, and I think he's great, or this groups records, again odd things.
7. Do you have any plans of gigging outside this country?
We've played in Europe already in Holland and Germany and we are going to America. We're only going for er, I think they wanted us to go for about 3 months or so, but we're only going for about 2 weeks, 3 weeks, and rough trade will probably be organising that. i think we're going with Cabaret Voltaire. I like those, (laughs) they're a good group, I forgot about them. Yeah but, we tend to do what we want really. We play the music we want to play and we play the places we want to play. I'd hate to be on the usual record company where you get an album out and you do a tour and you do all the Odeon's and this that and the other. I couldn't just do that at all. We had a bad experience of that supporting the Buzzcocks. It was really soul destroying, you know, at the end of it. We said we'd never tour ... and we'll never do a tour I don't think - or if we do it won't be longer than about two weeks.
8. Ian, what is your relationship with Factory Records?
It's very good, sort of friends, everyone knows each other it's all 50:50. Everything's split.
Doesn't it seem a bit insular the Factory set up?
Don't know I suppose to somebody looking at it from the outside I suppose it is really. I mean you're not pressurised into having to sign ... like you know get a normal record company - they're always looking for the next group for the next big thing ... you know ... to bring the record sales in and for them to promote and everything but Factory just sign who they want to, put records by who they want to out, package it how they want to, you know, how they like doing it. It's just run like that. You might get a spurt of 3 singles out - you might not see anything for the next 6 months. You know. I like the relationship.
9. A couple of tracks on Earcom 2 - How did you get involved in that, an Edinburgh company?
Yeah, it was when we started playing we played a few dates with The Rezillo's, Bob Last was their manager at the time and he talked then about setting up his own record label, and he wanted us to do a single for 'em. But, due to Factory coming along and other and other things, he did a Gang of 4 and the Human league first and sort of tied in in a management way with the Human League , I think he manages them, it never came about. When we were doing the album we had quite a few tracks left over we recorded sixteen in all and just put ten, our manager Rob Gretton talked to him about certain things, had always kept in touch, we'd always sort of kept in touch, he mentioned his idea for Earcom, we just offered him the 2 tracks to put out on that . we like to get everything we record out, one way or another, like we've doing the Earcom and we're doing the Sordide Sentimentale which is a French limited edition magazine come record thing. There's two tracks on that will be coming out that won't be on an album or a single. It's just that we like getting as much stuff out as we can really, in some form or another
Y'know it's often hard with factory because obviously they're limited financially, y'know they can't just put out a record y'know when they've got other things planned, erm if we've no room on the LP we tend to look for other outlets for them really and see what we can do.
10. Where do you see or want Joy Division to end or go to?
I just want us to carry on the way we are really. Basically, we want to play and enjoy playing. I think when stop doing that I think, well, that will be the time to pack it in, that'll be the end.